CSU installs third president Dondi Costin

Charleston Southern University President Dondi Costin was joined by his wife, Vickey Costin, during his inauguration Monday.

Charleston Southern University has formerly installed President Dondi Costin as its third president.

In a full schedule of inauguration events that included a worship service celebrated with faculty, staff, donors, alumni and members of the community, Costin was sworn into office inside Lightsey Chapel Auditorium.

Among Monday’s speakers, South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott charged the college’s newest president to remember the mission of Charleston Southern University, “to promote academic excellence in a Christian environment.”

In his statements, Costin described Charleston Southern University as a comprehensive university grounded in the liberal arts.

“We call them the liberal arts because they are the liberating arts…they have liberated us from the shackles of our ignorance and the handcuffs of our sinfulness so that we can understand who God is and who we can be if we know him better,” he said. “Every single faculty member, every staff member, every coach, when they wake up in the morning…(they) say, ‘God, help me today, connect a student’s life to you much better than they were yesterday.’ That’s what this university is all about.”

Costin began as the university’s third president on July 1 and recently retired from the Air Force with the rank of Major General. He most recently served at The Pentagon as Air Force Chief of Chaplains, where he was the senior pastor for more than 664,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the United States and overseas, and led 2,000 chaplains and chaplain assistants from the Air Force Chaplain Corps., according to a press release from Charleston Southern University.

A decorated combat veteran, Costin deployed in support of numerous contingency and humanitarian relief operations across the globe, and previously served as senior chaplain for Air Force operations both in the Pacific and the Middle East. His military decorations include the Legion of Merit and the Bronze Star Medal, the press release read.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in operations research, Costin holds five master’s degrees, a doctor of ministry degree, and a PhD in organizational leadership. In a previous assignment, he taught courses in leadership, management, political science and military history as assistant professor of aerospace studies at Texas Christian University, according to the press release.

Costin was joined on stage in the inauguration by his wife, Vickey Costin.