DR. HARRIS PASTIDES

Interim President, University of South Carolina

Harris Pastides is Interim President at the University of South Carolina, having previously served as its 28th president (2008-2019).  Since his and his wife Patricia’s arrival at the University in 1998, he has also held the positions of vice president for research and health sciences and dean of the Arnold School of Public Health. 

As the University of South Carolina’s 28th president, Harris Pastides led the University of South Carolina system of eight institutions in 20 geographic locations to higher achievements and unprecedented growth. Under Pastides’ tenure the university witnessed the South Carolina Honors College rise to the No. 1 public honors college in the nation; celebrated continual top national academic program rankings, including over 60 current programs in undergraduate and graduate international business, public health, engineering, nursing and others; procured record-levels of research funding and surpassed a $1 billion capital campaign goal. 

A steadfast advocate for a superior student experience, Pastides encourages engagement beyond the classroom through leadership, service learning, international experiences, internships and undergraduate research. During his tenure, innovative programs like Palmetto College, On Your Time Graduation, Gamecock Gateway, Gamecock Guarantee and the Gamecock Student Athletic Promise provided greater access, flexibility and affordability to South Carolinians seeking a higher education degree. In addition to establishing record-setting enrollment, more than 117,000 degrees were awarded system-wide during Pastides’ presidency. 

In 2016, Pastides became one of seven Fulbright alumni to receive the inaugural Global Changemaker Award — given in recognition of his ongoing commitment to transform society and humanity through his work. The son of Greek immigrants, Pastides also received the 2017 prestigious Ellis Island Medal of Honor which pays homage to the immigrant experience and the contributions made to our nation by immigrants and their children. In 2017, Pastides also received the SC Urban League Whitney M. Young Award for his trailblazing work to promote civil rights and equal opportunity.  

Pastides currently serves on many local, state, national and international boards including the U.S. Council on Competitiveness and the Fulbright Program’s Council for the International Exchange of Scholars (chairman, 2002-2021). He is on the Executive Committees of the Institute for International Education and the Universities Research Association and is a founding member of the Joint Pandemic Task Force for North and South Carolina. Pastides is the only non-physician member of the Board of the American Medical Association and is on the national Uber Safety Board. He has also held positions on the boards of University Research Associates (URA), the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities (APLU), the Southeastern Athletics Conference (SEC) and the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Division I as its president.  

Prior to joining the university’s faculty as dean of the Arnold School of Public Health, then advancing to vice president for Research and Health Sciences, Pastides was a professor of epidemiology and chairman of the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He received two masters’ degrees and a Ph.D. in Epidemiology from Yale University.