Dr. Claude C. Lilly assumed the role of President of Presbyterian College on July 15, 2012, after serving as Dean of Clemson University’s College of Business and Behavioral Science since 2007. A Georgia native, Dr. Lilly earned his bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and his doctorate in risk management from Georgia State University. He brings to the PC community extensive administrative and teaching experience, including posts at Texas Tech University, the University of Southern California, Florida State University, and as Dean of the Belk College of Business Administration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Though most of his experience before coming to PC was at large institutions such as Florida State and Clemson, Dr. Lilly has always had a passion for small, private liberal arts colleges. After just a few months at PC, this passion has translated into a clear understanding of the “PC spirit” and a clear direction for the College’s future.
Foremost in that vision is his emphasis on PC’s pre-professional programs, with a focus on Biology, Business Administration, Chemistry, Education, English, History, and the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy. “There are those who say what we really need in today’s world are people who can go out and get jobs, and I agree with that. But I think we must be the foundation for people who want to become lawyers, doctors, engineers, or MBAs. Many freshmen do not know what they want to do in life. Many students who have graduated take jobs in areas they did not even study in college. However, if students obtain a liberal arts education and learn to think and appreciate people, and to get along with others, they can be very successful in whatever career they decide to pursue. It is estimated that students who graduate in the future will have an average of eleven jobs. We want to prepare students for their first job, and for all the other jobs they will have.”
“We want to prepare students for their first job, and for all the other jobs they will have.” Dr. Lilly, president of Presbyterian College
In addition to serving on a number of corporate boards, Claude Lilly is an active community servant. He has worked with Habitat for Humanity, the Urban League, Men for Change (supporting the Charlotte Shelter for Battered Women), the Metrolina Health Initiative, and the Ruth and Billy Graham Children’s Health Center. In the Upstate of South Carolina, he has also served as a board member for both Greenville’s Urban League and for Artisphere. In 2012, Dr. Lilly was chair of the American Heart Association Ball, and he recently also completed a four-year appointment on the Board of Pensions for the Presbyterian Church USA.
As demonstrated by his involvement in community service, Dr. Lilly’s own commitment to a value structure pairs well with PC’s historic emphasis on service and honor.
“I think it is critical that we give our students a framework for honor and service. They should learn a core set of values to which they can adhere—values that are not easily eroded. I would hope they do not get distracted by the things that affect all of us: ego, success, or a passion that only focuses on winning. I want students to know that I believe in a core set of values. It does not mean that I do not make mistakes, but those values serve as my compass. That, to me, is of vital importance.”