Education

President of Clinton College in Rock Hill to retire

In this May file photo, Clinton College President Elaine Copeland greets those in attendance for the Rock Hill school’s commencement ceremony at the Kenneth Monroe Transformation Center.
In this May file photo, Clinton College President Elaine Copeland greets those in attendance for the Rock Hill school’s commencement ceremony at the Kenneth Monroe Transformation Center. Jeff Sochko

Clinton College's longtime president, Elaine Copeland, is retiring.

Copeland was placed on paid administrative leave last summer, when the college's board of trustees received a complaint against her and several administrators, according to a statement from the school. The complaint related to the management of student grades and transcripts.

Lester McCorn is serving as acting president. Copeland has served as president since 2002, the school’s website states. The historically black college opened in 1894.

Copeland’s lawyer, Beverly Carroll of Rock Hill, said three administrators, including Copeland, were told by board members in June that they were suspended with pay, then later advised they were on administrative leave with pay. Carroll described the action as without cause.

The college launched an internal review.

"The Board completed its investigation and found no evidence to substantiate any misconduct by Dr. Copeland," reads a statement from Clinton College.

Copeland had previously told the board she planned to retire at the end of the spring semester, the statement says.

"During the course of this investigation, Dr. Copeland and the Board began discussions about her possible transition to retirement and the College recognizing her many years of service and contributions to the College," reads the statement. "Through this process, Dr. Copeland and the College reached a mutual agreement that she would retire as President of Clinton College effective as of June 30, 2018."

Board chair Benjamin Dixon said they have discussed retirement with Copeland for a few months.

"We are appreciative of the work and dedication that Dr. Copeland has given the college over the years,” Dixon said. “We want to make sure she has a good retirement. We're looking forward to her being able to be relaxed for a few minutes. It's a tough job being a college president.”

Copeland has seen Clinton College grow from 35 students to more than 200 during her tenure. She also saw the college expand its associate and bachelor programs, according to Clinton.

Clinton College, on Crawford Road in Rock Hill, changed from a junior college to include four-year programs in 2013, according to Cappex, a college decision services website.

Copeland led an effort to raise $2 million for a new library, renovation of the main building and the conversion of the old library to a student affairs building, according to Clinton.

Copeland also established an endowment fund for the college, which has reached close to $1 million.

Clinton is a private school, and remains supported by the AME Zion Church. It has hosted several big names and events over the years, including a visit by the Rev. Jesse Jackson in 2015.

Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082
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