New College of Charleston president chosen for his diverse background
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) —
The search is over: The Board of Trustees at the College of Charleston elected a new president Wednesday.
After several hours in executive session, the board announced Dr. Andrew Hsu as the school’s 23rd president. The vote was unanimous with one abstention.
Hsu’s hire marks a historic moment for the school. He will be the first non-Caucasian president in the school’s 228-year history.
Board Chair David Hay and board secretary Renee Romberger called Hsu shortly after the decision and officially offered him the position.
“His story is so powerful about his background and from where he came,” said Hay. “He said ‘You know only in America could something like this happen’. It touched my heart, it was amazing.”
Hsu has a diverse personal and academic background. He was born in China, holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and is currently Provost at Ohio’s University of Toledo. Romberger said the hiring process wasn’t easy, but campus forums helped them wade through a pool of 130 candidates.
“For us, diversity and inclusion is essential. We heard that from our campus community,” Romberger said. “It was helpful to stop and take time and listen to the campus first because they were so united in the things they were looking for in our next president that it made our jobs a bit easier.”
“His record of engagement with donors, with legislators, with students and alums, just an incredible track record, that’s what pushed me over the edge,” said Hay.
Despite his engineering background, board members feel Hsu will be a champion for the liberal arts, but said specific plans and visions for the future remain to be seen.
“I think that’s one of the things that we really appreciated about him,” Romberger said. “He’s not coming in with here are the five things that I’m going to do when I get here. He’s going to wait and be thoughtful and listen to our stakeholders before we embark on a strategy.”
Contractual agreements will likely take several weeks to complete. No start date for Hsu has been set yet, but the school is hoping to have him by the middle of the spring semester.