System Institution Leaders
As the system's research institution, USC Columbia joins three additional comprehensive
institutions across the state to provide traditional four-year degree programs, awarding
bachelor's and advanced degrees. Together with Palmetto College, these institutions
and their leaders are dedicated to their students, and to their local communities.
— USC Columbia
President Bob Caslen serves as the top officer for the entire USC system and the Columbia
campus. Assuming his role as the University of South Carolina’s 29th president in
August 2019, President Caslen is a retired Army lieutenant general and former superintendent
and president of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. During his time at West
Point, the academy was recognized as the nation’s No. 1 public college by U.S. News
and World Report and Forbes magazine. After retiring from the Army in 2018, Caslen
became the senior counsel to the president at the University of Central Florida and
served as interim chief financial officer.
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.
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.
J. Derham Cole, Jr. — USC Upstate
Currently serving as interim chancellor, J. Derham Cole, Jr. is a former Spartanburg
County state representative who joined USC Upstate in 2018 as associate vice chancellor
for finance and administration. Cole brings more than 15 years of experience in business
and law to the role. As interim chancellor, he is central to bringing the university's
optimism, coalition building and partnerships to key community and legislative leaders
whose support and vision are critical to USC Upstate’s success.
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.