Insider Pastides is named leader of University of S.C.

Harris Pastides, picked Friday to be the University of South Carolina's new leader, pledged to maintain the school's academic standards and advance its research efforts.

“I am so deeply honored to have been chosen,” said Pastides, the current vice president for research and health sciences. “I will uphold … the values embedded in our creed.”

Pastides, whose strengths are familiarity and fundraising, will take over on Aug. 1 for Andrew Sorensen, who is stepping down for a tenured job with the university.

Pastides joined the University of South Carolina in 1998 as dean of the public health department and rose to become a critical deputy to Sorensen. Since Pastides took over as executive director of the school's research foundation in 2003, the university's research funding has increased every year, rising $54 million last year to $185 million.

Pastides, whose annual compensation package totals $535,000, also will be expected to raise money. Sorensen has said the university's next leader should start an effort to bring in $500 million in donations over the next seven years.

Acknowledging the difficulties of fundraising during a lagging economy, Pastides said one of his top priorities will be growth of Innovista, a public-private partnership aimed at nurturing high-tech companies. The project hasn't yielded the results anticipated, and some have questioned it.

“It's a research campus for the future,” said Pastides, promising to unveil more plans for the project in the coming weeks.

By choosing Pastides, trustees decided not to hire the first woman president in school history. The other two finalists were Janie Fouke, an administrator at the University of Florida, and Geri Hockfield Malandra, a vice chancellor for the University of Texas system.