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Campus Chancellors and Executive Deans

Each system campus is led by its own chancellor or executive dean who is committed to the academic success of every student, and is dedicated to the local communities in which they serve.

Campus Chancellors

Chancellor Susan Elkins

Susan Elkins — Palmetto College

Named chancellor of and chief administrative officer of Palmetto College in February 2013, Chancellor Susan Elkins coordinates the entire university system's degree completion programs. Elkins is also responsible for the overall planning, resource allocation and program evaluation of the USC Lancaster, USC Salkehatchie, USC Sumter and USC Union campuses as well as the online bachelor’s degree completion programs offered by the four senior campuses — USC Aiken, USC Beaufort, USC Columbia and USC Upstate.

Chancellor Sandra Jordan

Sandra Jordan — USC Aiken

Chancellor Sandra Jordan has been leading the University of South Carolina Aiken since August 2012. Since her arrival at USC Aiken, the university has increased international partnerships, added a Veteran and Military Support Center that has garnered national recognition, increased student enrollment more than 6%, added a new engineering program and an MBA, increased regional corporate and business partnerships, created a collegiate structure within the university and increased fundraising to the highest levels in the history of the institution.

Chancellor Brendan Kelly

Brendan Kelly — USC Upstate

Chancellor Brendan Kelly was appointed in March 2017, becoming the sixth chencellor of USC Upstate. He was previously vice president for advancement at the University of West Florida, where he led the units of University Marketing and Communications, Alumni Relations, Development, Community Engagment and more. Chancellor Kelly is grateful to be part of the next chapter of growth and development at USC Upstate, and believes that the university is poised to enhance its contribution to the higher education landscape of the USC system and the state of South Carolina.

Chancellor Al Panu

Al Panu — USC Beaufort

With a career in higher education that spans nearly 30 years, Chancellor Al Panu was appointed to his current role at USC Beaufort in June 2015. It was the vision for USC Beaufort that attracted him to the chancellor position including of a distinctive academic, student-centered and community-engaged education. Passionate about bridging higher education and community, Panu is eager to expand USC Beaufort's efforts to provide first-rate, world-class higher education to the Lowcountry region of our state.



Campus Executive Deans

Chris Nesmith

Chris Nesmith — USC Salkehatchie

Professor Chris Nesmith became Regional Campus Dean in spring 2019. Nesmith came to the University of South Carolina in 2003 as coordinator of the Ronald E. McNair Scholars Program and instructor of English with Trio Programs. In 2013, he was named assistant vice provost for Extended University, quickly followed by his appointment as associate provost of Palmetto College in January 2015.

Dean Walter Collins

Walt Collins — USC Lancaster

Professor Walt Collins began his career at USC Lancaster in August 2002 as an Instructor of French and English. Rising quickly through the ranks to assistant professor and assistant dean of student affairs, Collins began serving as Regional Campus Dean on April 15, 2013. He was also promoted to the rank of professor in August of 2015.

Dean John Catalano

John Catalano — USC Union

Professor John Catalano is the first Ph.D. graduate of the doctoral program in Philosophy at USC and currently serving as the acting dean for the University of South Carolina-Union. Before this appointment, Catalano served as the Dean of USC Lancaster for a number of years until he returned to the faculty, where he is an award winning teacher of philosophy.

Dean Michael Sonntag

Michael Sonntag — USC Sumter

Professor Michael Sonntag became Regional Campus Dean of USC Sumter in 2014. A first-generation college student, he earned his Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology in 1997 from the University of Arkansas. He has served on a variety of community development boards and committees, and is a member of Rotary International.