President Elected Chair of Presidents Council for South Carolina Group of Colleges and Universities
Dr. Evans P. Whitaker, president of CCCU-member Anderson University, has been elected to a two-year term as chair of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Presidents Council and vice chair of the SCICU Board of Trustees. Whitaker, who holds a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University is celebrating his tenth year as president at Anderson.
SCICU supports and promotes the values of independent higher education in South Carolina embodied by the state’s 20 regionally accredited private colleges and universities through scholarships, research, and collaborative activities among its members, and encourages public policy supportive of independent higher education.
While enrolling approximately 14 percent of all undergraduates in the state, SCICU member colleges and universities produce more than 24 percent of the state’s bachelor degrees. They collectively employ more than 7,043 faculty and staff and are economic engines and cultural centers that add almost $729 million annually to the state’s economy.
The institutions play a significant role in helping the state achieve its economic and postsecondary education goals in three areas: (1) increasing choices and opportunities for postsecondary education, (2) strengthening South Carolina’s economy and future tax base by preparing students to compete in the knowledge economy on a local and global level, and (3) creating the next generation of value-oriented leaders firmly grounded in the precept of service above self.
The Presidents Council is comprised of the presidents of the 20 member institutions. The organization is governed by a Board of Trustees composed of leading citizens representing a cross-section of the higher education, business, and civic leadership in South Carolina.
In addition, President Whitaker will represent the SCICU as a member of the Board of Trustees of the South Carolina Research Authority (SCRA). SCRA is a tax-exempt applied research corporation formed in 1983 by the South Carolina Legislature to help develop technology-based industries in the state.
Since Whitaker assumed the presidency, Anderson has experienced unprecedented diversification and growth and was listed this year on U. S. News & World Report’s list of the 49 up-and-coming institutions to watch in the nation for its recent advancements and innovation and the #1 up-and-coming school of its kind in the country. The publication also ranked Anderson University second among regional colleges in the South for “Best Undergraduate Teaching.” Under his leadership, enrollment has grown from 1,608 to 2,922 and the endowment has more than doubled. A new 53,000-square-foot library was constructed as well as four new residence halls. Two major academic buildings were completely renovated, the most recent being the brand new state-of-the-art School of Nursing. A long-range strategic plan has been adopted and numerous initiatives have already been accomplished.
Anderson has maintained a ranking the Top Tier (#21) of U. S. News & World Report’s America’s Best Colleges in the Southern region. It has also been ranked for the past six years as one of America’s 100 Best College Buys by the independent research and consulting firm Institutional Research and Evaluation, Inc.
Under Dr. Whitaker’s leadership, the national accreditation in both music and education have been re-affirmed and its programs in business, art, interior design, and graphic design have received their initial accreditation.
Also of note during Dr. Whitaker’s tenure is Anderson’s addition of nine graduate degrees and the establishment of the Dr. James A. Henderson Undergraduate Cancer Research Center. The institution offers graduate programs in business, education, ministry and music education and just last year, Anderson began its first doctoral program.
Dr. Whitaker secured property gifts that tripled the size of the campus. He also arranged the purchase of 45 acres for a new athletic campus. The gifts and purchases brought campus acreage from 68 to 271.
In 2008, Dr. Whitaker was named a Trustee of the Commission on Colleges of The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), which is the regional accrediting body for educational institutions in The South. He was recently re-elected to a second term.