CHARLESTON, S.C. — College of Charleston President Glenn McConnell is retiring this summer, ending nearly five decades in public service.
McConnell said Monday he took a hard look at his health and energy at age 70 and determined it is time to slow down.
“As an alumnus of the college, I love and respect this great institution and its people too much to not give the energy needed and my full and undivided attention every single day in the years ahead,” McConnell said in a statement.
McConnell didn’t give a specific date for his retirement, saying it would be in the summer.
The college said it will swiftly begin a search for his replacement.
McConnell has been an effective and charismatic leader for the school since he was named president in 2014, Board of Trustees Chairman David Hay said.
“His love for this institution is real and infectious, and that passion will be hard to replicate,” Hay said.
McConnell graduated from the College of Charleston in 1969, serving as student body president. He has spent almost all his life in public service. He was elected to the state Senate in 1980 and served 32 years, rising to president pro tem, one of the most powerful positions in South Carolina’s legislative-dominated government.
He reluctantly became lieutenant governor in 2012 after Ken Ard resigned, even as some friends encouraged him to briefly step aside as president pro tem to avoid the automatic succession into the much-less-powerful post.
McConnell said at the time he believed in law and duty and wanted to do what was right, even if it wasn’t what he wanted to do.