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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.

Campus Chancellors

President Bob Caslen

Bob Caslen  — 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.

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 J. Derham Cole, Jr.

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.

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.