Heartfelt “Thank you’s” from USC students after President Pastides announces retirement


COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO)– After a decade of serving the University of South Carolina, President Pastides is stepping down.  He made the announcement at the State of the University address Wednesday morning.

During President Pastides address he said the students are what gave him life and kept both him and his wife going.  Now, many students are saying thank you and are wishing him the best on his new adventures.

“Thank you so much for being an awesome president for these years. Thank you so much for doing so much for the community and so much for USC and making an impact in my life,” Ashish Nicodemus said, a junior at USC. 

Immediately after University President Harris and First Lady Patricia announced they are moving on to a new chapter of their life, the hashtag “ThankYouPastides” was trending on Twitter. Both of them agreed it was not an easy decision and even a change in wind direction was almost enough to change President Pastides’ mind.  

“When hurricane Florence canceled the State of the University on September, 12, I more than once wondered whether that was a sign that this announcement was not meant to be,” Harris said while at the podium. Harris said he believes the timing is right given the university’s positive momentum and he hopes a diverse group of candidates will be lining up to fill his shoes. Harris and Patricia hinted that after a short sabbatical, they might be back involved with the university, just in a different way.

“When you feel good about what has been accomplished, take a deep breath, hit the pause button, let someone with fresher ideas come in. So, 11 years is a good long time for any college president, especially in tumultuous times,” Harris said.

First Lady Patricia said the tough decision was a personal and professional one. The couple wants more time with their grandkids and make the most of the time they have.  

“This summer I had a bit of a wakeup call with my mother who is elderly and became acutely ill, and she’s in Connecticut, so I need to be able to be free to go up there at least once a month and check on her,” Patricia said. 

In Harris’ tenure as President, he has increased the student body by 25%, launched Palmetto College– the most affordable bachelor’s degree in the state, and forged research partnerships with companies like Boeing, IBM, Samsung. Among all the success he’s had, he feels lucky to have had such an opportunity.

“It’s also true that you get more than you give, and we’re living proof of that. Patricia and I saw that each and every day of the presidency. Each and every day the sacrifices we made were replenished with joy and satisfaction,” Harris said as his wife wiped tears from her eyes.  

“I think he did a great job, I’m very sad he’s leaving. I’m very sad he won’t be the one to hand me my diploma. But I’m sure that whoever is proceeding him will do just as great of a job as he did,” Harry Donnelly said, USC class of 2021.

“I will miss him yeah,” Madison Manley said, a sophomore at USC. 

Now president Pastides said he wants to make sure one thing is clear, he says these past ten years have been great for USC, but he hopes the next ten are even better. He will officially be done in July after the school year is over.

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