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Columbia Business Monthly

#ColumbiaAgenda: Who Will Be UofSC's New Prez, International African-American Museum Update, Offshore Drilling Update, The Price of Boeing's Fix, Robot Love

Apr 26, 2019 08:39AM ● By Chris Haire

The University of South Carolina has been abuzz this week as the four finalists to become the school’s next president have been on campus for finalist forums. The candidates each gave a  30-minute presentation followed by a Q&A for faculty and administration, and then another for students. A third presentation and Q&A -- streamed live and available at  -- was offered for alumni, friends of the university, and any other interested parties. 

The top candidate will become the school’s 29th president. President Harris Pastides is stepping down in July after a decade in the post.

The four finalists are:

  • John Strait Applegate, a professor and executive vice president for university academic affairs, Indiana University System

  • Robert L. Caslen Jr., senior counsel to the president and interim chief financial officer, University of Central Florida

  • William F. Tate IV, dean of the graduate school and vice provost for graduate education, Washington University in St. Louis

  • Joseph T. Walsh Jr., vice president for research, Northwestern University --Leigh Savage


International African-American Museum update: Mellon grant, Architectural Digest shout-out: The International African American Museum, slated to open in 2021, received a $1.5 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with $1 million earmarked for construction and another $500,000 to support the chief curator position.

The museum was first awarded a $150,000 grant from the foundation in 2017, which allowed the hire of Chief Curator Joy Bivens a year ahead of schedule, said museum board member and former Charleston Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. in a release. Bivens joined IAAM in 2018 after 16 years at the Chicago History Museum.

“We’re honored the Mellon Foundation has chosen to extend its commitment to the IAAM in a meaningful and significant way, by supporting our curatorial efforts and playing a major role in funding the museum’s creation,” said Michael Boulware, IAAM president and CEO.

Also in April, Architectural Digest magazine covered the IAAM, along with major museums under construction in Berlin and Los Angeles.

The article highlights the “immersive” design of the museum, including its location at Gadsden’s Wharf, where nearly half of all enslaved Africans entered the country during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. An above-ground pavilion will face the Atlantic, and a water feature will mark the site of the original wharf. 

“A critique of other museums dealing with slavery is that they divorce themselves from place,” said landscape architect Walter Hood in the article. “This is the place - ground zero for the African American experience.” --Leigh Savage

Moody's: Nonprofit hospitals' revenue growth outpacing expense growth (Becker's Hospital Review)

Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Cases Determining Extent of Title VII Protection for LGBT Workers (National Law Review)

Amazon will spend $800M to bring free one-day shipping to Prime (Fast Company)

Be wary of robot emotions; ‘simulated love is never love’ (AP)

The Wire
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50 Most Influential
Robert R. Hill, Jr.
South State Corp. 

Robert R. Hill, Jr. serves as chief executive officer of South State Corporation. Having worked 23 years with South State, Robert has served in various positions since joining the bank in 1995, including chief executive officer and president of South State Bank. South State Corporation is a bank holding company founded in 1933 with more than $14 billion in assets, operating in the Carolinas, Georgia, and Virginia. 

Additionally, Hill has held leadership positions as a board member and/or officer in numerous local and regional organizations. Currently, he serves on the Board of Directors of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond and the University of South Carolina Development Foundation. 

A graduate of The Citadel, Robert also earned an MBA from USC’s Moore School of Business. Robert has been honored with several awards including the Citadel School of Business Alvah H. Chapman, Jr. Distinguished Leadership Award and Distinguished Citadel Alumnus. He was also honored as a Distinguished Young Alumnus by the University of South Carolina’s Moore School of Business.