Clinton College has a new leader, and he’s focused on the school’s growth.
Clinton’s board of trustees has named Lester McCorn as the school’s 13th president. McCorn has led the college as acting president for the past year. Former president Elaine Copeland retired earlier this year after being placed on paid administrative leave. Copeland led the school for 16 years.
“I want to thank the board for their confidence in me,” McCorn said. “For nearly 125 years, Clinton College has been fulfilling a necessary mission of educating deserving, yet underserved, students who might not fit a traditional profile of potential college educated graduates.”
Clinton, a historically black college, has been open in Rock Hill, South Carolina, since 1894.
McCorn said the school’s leadership, instructors and curriculum have helped students achieve.
“The mission of the college has always been to provide a quality, affordable education for the neediest students,” he said.
Clinton College, on Crawford Road in Rock Hill, changed from a junior college to include four-year programs in 2013, according to the school.
McCorn said the year ahead will bring facility upgrades, new facilities, an expansion of the college’s athletics program, additional on-campus housing and other changes. He said this year Clinton has the largest incoming freshman class in its history -- 150 new students.
McCorn said the school will launch a capital campaign this year to pay for upgrades, improve programs and create scholarships. The oldest building on the campus was built in the 1940s.
McCorn said the plan is to build facilities that can be used for both on-campus housing and classroom space, add sports such as volleyball and softball and expand the music program. A dance team and cheerleading also is in the school’s future, he said.
“Clinton College is prepared to educate, equip and empower the next generation of extraordinary golden bears,” McCorn said. “We are truly aiming higher.”
McCorn said he graduated from Morehouse College, an all-male historically black college in Atlanta, and was from a “poor, single family household.”
A native of Worcester, Mass., McCorn holds a Doctorate of Ministry from United Theological Society and is a candidate for the Doctor of Philosophy in Ethical and Creative Leadership at Union Institute and University in Cincinnati, Ohio, according to Clinton. He once taught doctoral students and is the author of “Standing on Holy Common Ground: An Africentric Ministry Approach to Prophetic Community Engagement.”
McCorn also was a senior pastor at Pennsylvania Avenue A.M.E. Zion Church in Baltimore, Md., according to a release from Clinton College.
“It is easy for me to focus on the mission of Clinton College because it is consistent with my own sense of purpose,” McCorn said. “I am well aware of the significant role that Historically Black Colleges and Universities play in the lives of disadvantaged, first-generation college students.”
Clinton College Board Chair the Rev. Mildred Hines welcomed McCorn as the school’s new leader.
“We’ve come over some hard hurtles and we’ve been faced with some major challenges but the Lord has brought us through and here we are today celebrating the appointing of the 13th president of Clinton College,” she said.
Clinton is a private school, and remains supported by the AME Zion Church.
“As a product of an historically Black college and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, this appointment allows me the opportunity to expand the very important mission of a faith-based institution of higher learning at a critical period in our nation’s history,” McCorn said in a prepared statement. “I am committed to leading the College and serving the community with ‘Excellence Without Excuse.’”