A day after this news outlet reported on efforts by certain board members at the University of South Carolina to install a devotee of interim president Harris Pastides as the school’s next president, another name has been floated as the new “top pick” for the job.
According to reporter Andy Shain of The (Charleston, S.C.) Post and Courier, Mung Chiang – executive vice president and dean of engineering at Purdue University – is “the leading candidate” among fifty names submitted to a screening panel.
Shain’s report cited “sources with knowledge of the decision.”
Sources familiar with the hiring process confirmed to me early Saturday that Chiang was at the top of the list for now, however they cautioned that supporters of former South Carolina provost Michael Amiridis – the current chancellor at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) – were still aggressively pushing his candidacy.
Indeed, Shain noted in his report that “four other unidentified candidates are still in the mix if Chiang or the board backs out.”
However, Amiridis supporters did not appear to have the votes on the school’s scandal-scarred board of trustees to push him across the finish line.
“There was just too much blowback,” one source familiar with the process told me, citing Amiridis’s close ties to Pastides.
Chiang, 44, attended Queen’s College in Hong Kong for his undergraduate studies prior to attending Stanford University – where he received both a master’s (2000) and doctorate (2003) in electrical engineering. He taught at Princeton beginning in 2004, and was the youngest professor in school history to earn an endowed chair.
In 2017 he was named dean of Purdue’s engineering school.
A “network optimization” expert, Chiang is one of the founders of “edge computing” – a field of computing which brings the functions of physical machines closer to the source of their data, maximizing efficiency and saving bandwidth.
“Edge computing refers to computations being performed as close to data sources as possible, instead of remote locations,” a recent report noted.
Is that important? Yes … especially seeing as more than 75 billion devices will be connected to the internet by the year 2025.
The emergence of an alternative to Amiridis – and the lack of enthusiasm for a Pastides-backed candidate – should not be particularly suprising. After all, the former president’s reign was marred by soaring tuition increases, skyrocketing debt, rabid political correctness and out-of-control spending on non-core functions of government (including a spectacularly failed “economic development” scheme that set taxpayers back by tens of millions of dollars).
These policies continued under retired lieutenant general Robert Caslen, who also presided over stagnant academics, backsliding athletics, further liberal indoctrination and all manner of additional taxpayer-funded speculation during his two years on the job.
Caslen was controversially tapped for the South Carolina job in the summer of 2019 after governor Henry McMaster and his powerful allies on the university board convinced a narrow majority of trustees to appoint him.
That scandal-scarred search process – which enraged students, faculty and staff – nearly resulted in sanctions for the school.
How did Caslen’s tenure end? Not well …
The 68-year-old Connecticut native was forced to resign from his post in May after this news outlet exclusively reported on allegations of plagiarism in a commencement address.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children. And yes, he has LOTS of hats (including that “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates’ lid pictured above).
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