Position Description

About Presbyterian College

Presbyterian College (PC) is a viable, dynamic institution emphasizing liberal arts education in its School of Undergraduate Studies and professional healthcare training and education through its School of Health Sciences. It is located in Clinton, South Carolina, a rural community in Laurens County that is approximately 40 miles from Greenville, 30 miles from Spartanburg, and 60 miles from Columbia – three urban centers in the state. The college remains in covenant relationship with the Synod of the South Atlantic, part of the Presbyterian Church USA. Its basic Carnegie classification is Baccalaureate Colleges: Arts & Sciences Focus. It is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges of Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), with its most recent reaffirmation of accreditation in December 2017.

PC is known for its excellent academics, Division I athletics, a vibrant tradition of active service to the world, and a passionate community of alumni, donors, faculty, staff, and students who have contributed to make PC one of the most dynamic and compelling small colleges in the United States. Since 2010, Presbyterian College has expanded its vision and goals in healthcare, which now includes its School of Pharmacy, Physician Assistant Program, and its developing Doctor of Occupational Therapy within the School of Health Sciences. PC’s philosophy is to offer a rigorous education with a built-in support network. Professors, students, and administrators all work together to help one another succeed and produce students who are adventurous and successful; competitive and compassionate; and inspired for life and a lifetime of service. In keeping with its traditions, Presbyterian College develops leaders for the community, business and non-profits, education, and communities of faith, more recently supporting and developing highly prepared professionals in critical areas of healthcare delivery.


Rev. William Plumer Jacobs arrived in Clinton, South Carolina, in 1864, following the devastation of the Civil War, and he dreamed of building an orphanage in the area. In October of 1875, Thornwell Orphanage opened its doors to 10 orphaned children. Five years after establishing the orphanage, Dr. Jacobs was faced with another challenge; sending those children to a proper college to continue their education. The institution—first called Clinton College—was organized in 1880 under the ownership and management of local Presbyterians. Clinton College was coeducational from the beginning, with three women in its first graduating class in 1883. A new charter in 1890 changed the name to Presbyterian College of South Carolina. Under provisions of this charter, the management of PC grew from the local church to trustees from the South Carolina synod of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Over the years, Presbyterians from Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina continued their support through the Synod of the South Atlantic. As a result, these states remain traditional sources for our students and the principal residence for the majority of our alumni.


The compelling purpose of Presbyterian College, as a church-related college, is to develop within the framework of Christian faith the mental, physical, moral, and spiritual capacities of each student in preparation for a lifetime of personal and vocational fulfillment and responsible contribution to a democratic society and the world community.

These goals guide the College as it fulfills its mission for its undergraduate and graduate programs:

• To help students gain a basic knowledge of humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences; a special competence in one or more particular areas of study; and an ability to see these studies as part of the larger search for truth
• To develop in students the ability to think clearly and independently, to make critical judgments, and to communicate effectively in both speech and writing
• To foster in students an aesthetic appreciation of the arts and literature
• To acquaint students with the teachings and values of the Christian faith • To help students develop moral and ethical commitments, including service to others

• To help students attain a sense of dignity, self-worth, and appreciation of other persons of diverse backgrounds
• To encourage in students an appreciation for teamwork and for physical fitness and athletic skills that will contribute to lifelong health
• To foster in students an appreciation of, and concern for, the environment and natural resources


PC’s 240-acre campus is unified around a central mall designed in 1912 by renowned New York City landscape architect Charles Leavitt, Jr. Its four grassy plazas are surrounded by stately red-brick buildings of Georgian and Neoclassical design, which provide academic space, dining facilities, student housing, recreational areas, and athletic venues. Six campus buildings are part of the Thornwell-Presbyterian College Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The campus is well-maintained and is in the final phases of renovation and new construction that began in 2014. This effort includes the completed renovation of student housing and the August 2019 opening of a new 144-bed dorm for upperclassmen; the complete renovation of the Springs Student Center on track for fall 2020 completion; the 2017 renovation of the campus dining hall; new undergraduate academic space in several buildings; the renovation of Bailey Hall, previously a residential facility, into dedicated classrooms, offices, and study space for graduate students in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program scheduled to open in 2021; and the recently announced gift to renovate the 1100-seat Belk Auditorium with construction slated to begin by year end.


Presbyterian College Academics combines the best small-college teaching of undergraduate liberal arts, health sciences, and more. Over 95% of the faculty have terminal degrees and six South Carolina Professors of the Year have come from PC, twice as many as any other school in the state. With over 42 majors, nine pre-professional programs, and three graduate programs, PC offers students academics that enable them to customize their degree to meet their interests and passions. The College also provides research opportunities for students to explore their fields of study or expand their knowledge of something new.

The fall 2019 semester saw continued growing enrollment with 1026 degree-seeking undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences and the campus population 51% female and 49% male. With the establishment of the School of Pharmacy and the launch of a Pharm.D. program in 2010, Presbyterian recognized the potential for graduate programs to complement existing undergraduate offerings and to expand the college’s focus on professions that connect to populations with underserved health needs. With the ongoing success of the Pharm.D. program, in 2019 the College launched a Master’s program in Physician Assistant Studies and established a School of Health Professions, to include this program as well as the Doctor of Occupational Therapy program that will launch in 2021. There are 219 students in the School of Pharmacy (located in the heart of downtown Clinton) and 32 students composed the 2019 inaugural class of the Physician Assistant Studies program.

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Student Life

Presbyterian College offers over 60 student clubs and organizations – from Greek Life to Student Government to Student Volunteer Services. No one sits on the sidelines at PC. Everyone on campus works hard during the week but takes the time to play on the weekends. It’s about relationships: a big family on a small campus where everyone makes time to say hello.


Presbyterian College competes in NCAA Division I (FCS) and offers 19 varsity athletic teams, predicated on the value of team and individual sports being an integral part of the educational process. Profoundly based on the ideal of being students first and athletes second, varsity participants are granted no special privileges and must meet the academic, admission, and other requirements of the college. The school’s famous “Blue Hose” nickname began in the early 1900s, when sportswriters referred to the PC athletic teams as the “Blue Stockings” because of the blue socks they wore. They often shortened “stocking” to “hose” in newspaper headlines. The student body adopted the term as the official school nickname in the 1950s. Today the name signifies fierce Scottish warriors and reflects the College’s Scottish heritage.

The Opportunity

Following the successful tenure of PC’s retiring president at the end of 2020, PC seeks a leader to serve as its 19th president, continue its rich 140-year legacy, and expand its reputation as one of the best small colleges in America. The current higher education climate presents a prime opportunity for true leadership and requires a leader who loves the mission of shaping lives and possesses the experience and skills to lead a complex higher education organization that supports excellence in academics, transparency in governance, and innovation in strategic planning.


The President of Presbyterian College is expected to:

Be the primary champion and voice for the College and embody the unique culture that makes the College special – learning from and building upon the past, fully engaging the present, and, in collaboration with the Board of Trustees, casting a compelling vision for the future.

Lead the College within a challenging environment for higher education that has major demographic and technological shifts occurring at a rapid pace. The President will need to align an inspiring and achievable vision with this future and be a change agent, an innovative thinker, and a nimble leader to enable the College to continue to flourish.

Champion racial, cultural, and ethnic diversity and bring understanding, sensitivity, and a demonstrated commitment to engaging a diverse faculty, staff, student body, and broader constituency.

Promote the College’s undergraduate liberal arts education, the growth of its graduate programs, and cultivate the continued development of programs that are relevant, desired, and fiscally sound.

Proactively engage in fundraising and resource development for the College by personally prioritizing the development and cultivation of key donor relationships and partnerships, and by overseeing strategic fundraising campaigns.

Strive for the highest levels of achievement, in cooperation with the faculty, staff, and students, in all academic and co-curricular activities in which the College participates, maintaining an appropriate balance among academic, athletic, creative, and social interests in keeping with the College’s mission and priorities.

Maintain a high level of visibility as an ambassador for the College in various settings outside of the campus as well as involvement with student life through attendance at student cultural, athletic, and social events.

Balance and lead the vital role of athletics at the College. As one of the smallest members of NCAA Division I (FCS) and with nearly 40% of the student body participating as athletes, athletics is an important part of the College’s role in character formation, its vibrant campus life, and robust alumni engagement.

Recruit, develop, hold accountable, and retain excellent administrators, delegate requisite authority to them and provide a climate in which they can function effectively. Exhibit an executive leadership style that models and promotes integrity, transparency, collegiality, accomplishment and support; build and maintain an executive team that effectively executes the strategic plans of the College.

Communicate openly, directly, and respectfully with all the College’s constituencies – students, faculty, alumni, administration, staff, the surrounding communities, and the Board of Trustees.

Be responsible for the financial health and well-being of the College and provide competent leadership in all aspects of financial decision-making.

Keep a pace consistent with a high-impact, professional environment, successfully addressing the complex and dynamic issues within higher education.

Understand that the College is part of a rural community within a broader metropolitan area, and as such, the town, its citizens, and the College benefit from informed and collegial town/gown relationships.

Appreciate the College’s historical founding as a church-related school and actively support that commitment in the education of the whole student. The President shall prepare and submit annually to the Presbyterian Synod of the South Atlantic a report in writing which shall include a statement of matters as in his/her judgment may be desirable and proper.


Hold a terminal degree or equivalent (Ph.D. preferred) or have substantial professional experience in lieu of this requirement.

Bring significant leadership and administrative experience in complex organizations.

Possess high emotional intelligence, resolute and courageous leadership, and an ability to withstand and wisely lead through the internal and external criticisms and challenges common to executive responsibility.

Possess well-developed speaking and presentation skills, the public face of the College.

Wholeheartedly support the academic enterprise and uphold high standards of academic excellence and scholarship.

Lead with humility, kindness, and hospitality.

Demonstrate a love for people, evidenced by being approachable and expressing a sincere interest in all of the stakeholders of the College, including faculty, staff, students, and alumni.


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