Of the three remaining finalists for the job of president at the College of Charleston, only University of West Florida provost Martha Saunders was among the five candidates recommended by a 15-member search committee, say sources with close ties to the search.

Dennis "Jody" Encarnation and Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell also are finalists.

Sources said Wednesday that Encarnation was not among the search committee's top five recommended candidates. Sources previously said that McConnell also was not among the committee's recommended candidates.

Both Encarnation and McConnell were among the search committee's top 10 candidates, sources said, but not among the five names the committee forwarded to the Board of Trustees.

The board ultimately will decide on the school's next leader. It is not required to follow the search committee's recommendations. It has the authority to drop candidates from the search committee's list, or to consider candidates not among the committee's recommendations.

The board officially released the names of four finalists Monday, after months of speculation on who might be the school's next leader.

Andrew Card, former White House chief of staff, was one of the finalists, but Card withdrew his name from consideration Tuesday.

Encarnation currently owns the Boston-based consulting business, Dennis J. Encarnation & Associates.

The Charleston native is a 1974 graduate of the College of Charleston and currently serves on the school's Foundation Board.

Encarnation earned two master's degrees and a Ph.D. from Duke University. He then taught at Stanford University. He also taught at the Harvard Business School and Harvard's Center for Business and Government for about three decades before retiring.

Saunders also is the former president of the University of Southern Mississippi and former chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She has held various academic posts at Columbus State University and the University of West Florida.

Saunders received her bachelor's degree from Southern Miss, her master's degree from the University of Georgia and her doctoral degree from Florida State.

McConnell, 67, was elected to the state Senate in 1980 and served for 32 years, the last 11 years as president pro tem. He was one of the most powerful men in South Carolina, but state law required him in 2011 to move into the lieutenant governor's office when Ken Ard resigned after being indicted for ethics violations.

McConnell is a Charleston native who graduated from the College of Charleston in 1969 and the University of South Carolina School of Law in 1972. A dorm on the College of Charleston campus is named for him.

The college's board now is developing a schedule for on-campus interviews with the finalists. Those visits will include time for students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to meet and talk to the candidates.

A schedule for those visits and background information on each of the finalists will be posted on the presidential search page of the college's website.

College spokesman Mike Roberston said school officials hope to schedule campus visits by late March or early April.

The new president will take the reins from George Benson, who will step down in June to become a member of the College of Business faculty.

The search for the school's next president has been going on since October. The college's board formed a 15-member search committee made up of trustees, foundation board members, faculty, staff, alumni and the president of the undergraduate student government association to help screen candidates for the school's top post.

The committee reviewed applications from more than 100 people who applied for the job.

Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.