Dondi Costin and Jairy Hunter at CSU

Charleston Southern University has selected Air Force Chief of Chaplains Dondi E. Costin (left) to take the place of outgoing President Jairy C. Hunter Jr. (right). Provided/Charleston Southern University

Charleston Southern University has selected Air Force Chief of Chaplains Maj. Gen. Dondi E. Costin to serve as its third president starting in June.

A decorated combat veteran, Costin has served for 32 years in the Air Force, earning the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in operations research from the Air Force Academy; five master’s degrees from Liberty University, Air University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; and a Doctor of Ministry degree and Ph.D. in organizational leadership from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, according to his resumé.

Costin will retire from the Air Force and take over on July 1 for current CSU President Jairy C. Hunter Jr.

Hunter will transition to president emeritus after 34 years leading the Southern Baptist-affiliated private liberal arts university in North Charleston. Its name changed from Baptist College at Charleston to Charleston Southern University under his watch.

Costin said he and his wife Vickey look forward to building on Hunter's progress at the university. CSU currently enrolls more than 3,500 students and recently announced the creation of a new Doctorate of Education program with an emphasis on leadership.

"I look forward to leading this team to build upon the firm foundation he has laid, in hopes that — with God’s help — the best is yet to come,” Costin said in a statement.

A 17-member search committee reviewed about 200 applications for the position in a process led by Atlanta-based CarterBaldwin Executive Search.

"The committee unanimously agreed to recommend Dr. Costin because of his passion to lead the university in accomplishing its vision of integrating faith in learning, leading and serving," said Jerry Williams, who chairs the search committee and the Board of Trustees.

"We believe he is the right fit for our university, and everyone is confident that he will take CSU to the next level of excellence,” Williams said.

CSU is the second Charleston-area institution of higher education to announce a new president with deep military experience this week.

The Citadel selected Marine Gen. Glenn M. Walters as its 20th president on Thursday. The College of Charleston is currently conducting a search to replace President Glenn McConnell, who announced his retirement in January citing his age and health concerns.

Reach Paul Bowers at 843-937-5546. Follow him on Twitter @paul_bowers.