Vice president for research Jay Walsh named a finalist to be next president of University of South Carolina


Northwestern Institute for Sustainability and Energy

Jay Walsh. Walsh, who has been with Northwestern since 1988, is a finalist to be the next president of the University of South Carolina.

Gabby Birenbaum, Campus Editor

Jay Walsh, the University’s vice president for research is one of four finalists to be the next president of the University of South Carolina.

Walsh began at Northwestern as a biomedical engineering professor at the McCormick School of Engineering. He served as McCormick’s associate dean for graduate studies and senior associate dean before becoming the University’s vice president for research in 2007, a position he’s held ever since.

In his current role, Walsh oversees Northwestern’s research apparatus and manages its budget, which exceeds $500 million per year. He is also in charge of all University-wide research strategic plans and the network of Northwestern’s research facilities, from the Buffet Institute for Global Studies to the International Institute for Nanotechnology.

Under Walsh’s leadership, the University has made strides in its research capacity, moving up research funding rankings to the point that University president Morton Schapiro said he expects the school to crack the National Institute of Health’s top ten list soon at a speaking event earlier in April.

Schapiro said he was very proud of his colleague. Though Schapiro will miss Walsh’s commitment to the University if he were to get the job, he said, he hopes Walsh is chosen.

“I adore the guy,” Schapiro said in a Friday interview with The Daily. “He’s just a class act. All five of his kids went here, all five of his kids, to my knowledge, married classmates … There’s nobody more purple than this guy.”

Walsh will visit USC on Monday, making him the first of the four candidates to do so. The other candidates are John Applegate, the executive vice president for University academic affairs at Indiana University; Robert Caslen Jr., the senior counsel to the president at the University of Central Florida; and William Tate IV, the dean of the graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis.

The finalists are competing to the succeed current president Harris Pastides, who served for 11 years and announced his intention to retire in October. A decision is expected at the end of the week, Schapiro said.

If Walsh were to be chosen, he would be the 10th employee to report to Schapiro to go on to a university presidency. Based on their practice interview, which ran almost an hour, Schapiro said he believes Walsh would be a great choice.

“If he ends up at University of South Carolina, they will have gotten a real jewel,” Schapiro said. “I really hope he gets the job, and based on my practice with him, man, he is ready.”

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