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John V. Griffith, 1998-2012

John V. Griffith December 24, 1947 -
John V. Griffith
December 24, 1947 –

John Vincent Griffith is a graduate of Dickinson College, Harvard University, and Syracuse University. He came to PC in January of 1998 after serving eight years as the President of Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, a member of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities. In Griffith’s early years, PC completed a new strategic plan and undertook a major fundraising campaign.

A priority of Griffith’s administration was an outreach from “gown to town” in order to build a strong relationship between the college and the community. During the fall of 2006, Presbyterian College partnered with the Laurens County Habitat for Humanity chapter to build a Habitat house in Clinton.   Students, faculty, staff, and alumni (during Homecoming weekend) assisted the Laurens County chapter in completing the house by January 2007. In early July of 2012, the college established a student chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Several buildings were added to the campus during the Griffith years: the Patrick Center (2000), Carol International House (2000), Spradley Hall (2001), Martin Soccer Stadium (2001), New Bailey Memorial Stadium (2002), Lassiter Hall (2008), a major addition and renovation to the Thomason Library (2006) and a renovation of Springs Campus Center (2008). In addition, the Armed Forces Memorial (2004), the Piephoff Outdoor Chapel (2005), and the Alumni Green (2008) memorials now beautify outdoor campus spaces.

Griffith undertook successful outreach to establish alliances with other universities, including Claflin College in Orangeburg, SC, and Guizhou University in Hanban Province, China. As a result of the latter alliance, PC was selected to establish a regional Confucius Institute on the PC campus, an honor usually reserved for larger universities.

The College also adopted a curriculum that now includes freshmen seminars, capstone experiences in all majors, internship opportunities for all students, and a broad-based international context. Six endowed professorships have been named and eight major facilities have been built or renovated.

Other steps forward include establishing a graduate pharmacy program in 2010, the Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy, and the college move to NCAA Division I athletics.

According to Griffith, the crucial successes of the college aren’t to be measured in buildings and programs, but rather in the curriculum which is set in place, the quality of the students who graduate, and their interactions with extremely qualified faculty. “… the faculty and the students they teach are most important,” (Laurens Co. Advertiser, Nov. 9, 2011).

Dr. Griffith, the 16th President of Presbyterian College, retired in 2012 and recently moved to Davidson, North Carolina, where he lived and worked earlier in his career.