Campus wide, Office of the President

CSU names interim president; presidential search continues

By Jenna Johnson | July 1, 2023

The Board of Trustees at Charleston Southern University has named Dr. Michael Bryant as interim president as the university continues the presidential search process. Beginning July 1, Bryant will reprise this role in which he previously served during CSU’s 2018 presidential transition. 

A 1995 graduate of Charleston Southern, Bryant has served the university for more than 15 years as a professor, academic dean, and vice president. He currently serves as vice president for strategic planning, faith integration, and Christian leadership, and he still frequents the classroom as a professor of Christian studies.  

Judy Hetz, chair of the Board of Trustees, noted Bryant’s wealth of experience in higher education management and leadership at Charleston Southern. “His experience has highly prepared him to serve as interim president after the departure of Dr. Costin,” she said. “Dr. Bryant has proven skills to capably lead the university during this time of transition.” 

Dr. Michael Bryant

Bryant said his primary goal will be to position the new president and the institution for success in the future. To accomplish this, he will work on several initiatives, one being launching a prayer initiative with the Office of Spiritual Life over the new president. 

“All successful Christian leaders and the institutions they serve must be supported by prayer,” Bryant explained. “At CSU, we recognize that God alone is the source of success (Psalm 127:1). Thus, we will ask that those who are passionate about the high-quality Christian education provided by CSU’s faculty and staff include the new president and its faithful employees in prayer, asking that the Lord bless the next period in the institution’s history. We are dependent on Him for all of our blessings.” 

A second initiative Bryant noted is the preparation of a plan with the senior officers that invites the CSU family to engage with the president’s vision early on. The plan will encourage all internal and external stakeholders to meet and join with the new president in pursuing the Lord’s vision for the next period of the university’s history. 

Bryant will also work with others to assist with the onboarding of the new president, including gathering standard university materials essential to the presidential role, working with senior officers to prepare an assessment of their respective areas, and creating a 90-day calendar for the new president to consider upon arrival. 

Working with CarterBaldwin Executive Search—the same search firm that helped land Dr. Dondi Costin on the shores of CSU’s campus, the CSU Presidential Search Committee continues to make progress in identifying CSU’s next president. The committee has moved into the interview stage of the process. 

“We are on track with our timeline, and the search committee is impressed by the caliber of applicants and the substantial progress made thus far,” Hetz said, noting the nationwide search for CSU’s next president has attracted a wealth of highly qualified applicants and candidates. Currently, there is no estimated time of arrival of a new president.  

Hetz quoted 1 Samuel 16:7 and 12 as a guiding reference for the Presidential Search Committee as they seek CSU’s next leader: “The Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look at his appearance, height, or stature…for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.’” She added, “I pray that God will speak to each committee member’s spirit with a sense of favor toward His chosen person for CSU.” 

Bryant shared a message directed to CSU students, “While we do not know when the new president will begin serving, you should understand that CSU’s trustees, administrators, faculty, staff, and many others are deeply committed to the Lord’s purposes for your life. Helping students to be successful (as the Bible defines success) will be our greatest priority. We want you to flourish spiritually, academically, and personally. Please know that we are praying for you and look forward to seeing you in August!” 

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