The story about the new president of the College of Charleston leaves what I consider a misleading impression of former President Glenn McConnell.
Unlike his two predecessors who stayed only a few years, McConnell was an alumnus of the college. More importantly, no one in state government was more closely connected to Sen. Hugh Leatherman, the powerful chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. McConnell would be able to get far more money for several new buildings and repairs to old ones. He did, quietly and effectively.
They were the two most powerful members of the Legislature and met for roughly an hour almost every afternoon during the legislative session. Together, they played a central role in providing incentives of more than 100 acres and temporary tax breaks that Boeing wanted for its plant in North Charleston.
Although widely known for his Confederate gift shop and placing a Confederate monument in front of the state Capitol, McConnell also was directly responsible for the Capitol monument that pays homage to South Carolina’s African-American history.
I strongly supported his candidacy, met with him, set up a coffee meeting with one of the most prominent and outspoken African-American civil rights leaders, and wrote a strong letter of support to the board of trustees. As president, he acted quietly and never sought attention for his accomplishments.
The new president for the college appears to be an accomplished academic leader who can move the school forward.
Dr. Jack Bass
College of Charleston