Inauguration Ceremony Held For Limestone's 22nd President Dr. Darrell Parker
In front of students, faculty, staff, alumni, community leaders, delegates from multiple higher education institutions, family, and friends, Dr. Darrell Parker was officially installed as the 22nd President of Limestone College during an Inauguration ceremony held inside Fullerton Auditorium on Friday, Sept. 28.
Parker became Limestone’s latest president on January 3, 2018, when he replaced Dr. Walt Griffin, who retired at the end of 2017 after directing the College for 25 years. The event was attended by delegates from well over 20 colleges and universities across the country. Parker, a Buncombe County, NC native, came to Limestone from Western Carolina University where he was the Dean of the College of Business and an Economics professor. He was named the Limestone President following a seven-month national search. Board of Trustees Chairman Randy Hines presented Parker with the Medallion of Office, which is reserved for wear as part of the President’s academic regalia.
Each Limestone President has worn the medallion since it was created. “During our Presidential search last year, the goal of the Board of Trustees was to find a motivated, enthusiastic leader to build upon Limestone’s legacy,” Hines said. “Nine months into his Presidential tenure, we firmly believe – more than ever – that we have found that person in Dr. Parker. To say we are excited about the future of Limestone College and the leadership that he has brought would be an understatement. He hit the ground running and he has not slowed down in his pursuit for Limestone to be an asset to our students and our community. “Another asset to the Limestone Community is our new First Lady, Kathy Parker,” he added. “Mrs. Parker, we are tremendously honored to have you, Dr. Parker, and your family as a part of the Saints family.”
Limestone Board of Trustee member Tommy Windsor brought greetings on behalf of Governor Henry McMaster and the state of South Carolina. “Dr. Parker, it is my great honor to congratulate you on your inauguration as the 22nd President of Limestone College,” Windsor read from a letter written by the Governor. Windsor is a member of the Governor’s staff. “I regret that I am not there to personally congratulate you as you embark on this new journey. However, I am confident that you will be an excellent steward of this institution, and a leader and mentor for its students. As President, one of your duties is to preserve and improve upon Limestone College’s great legacy. Limestone is one of our state’s oldest colleges, and serves as a pillar of South Carolina’s educational community. Limestone was the first women’s college in South Carolina, and one of the first in the United States. Its students enjoy the inheritance of a rich and storied history.”
Gaffney Mayor Henry Jolly also brought greetings from the City and Cherokee County. “Limestone College is an integral part of this area, and our relationship dates back for generations,” Jolly said. “The College brings a youthful energy to Gaffney and to Cherokee County. With open arms, we welcome students from this state, our nation, and across the world. Limestone – with its diverse student population, concerts, theater, art, and lectures – creates a more vibrant, international culture in our community. The College also has a tremendously positive impact on our local economy.”
The past President of the Alumni Association Board of Directors, Jason Kaup spoke on behalf of the Alumni. “I am sure all of our alumni share in my excitement to have your leadership now guiding our Alma Mater,” he said. “You have only been here a few short months, but we have certainly seen the energy you bring to Limestone. We, as the College’s alumni, stand ready to work with you to continue to advance this special place we all call home.”
Others offering congratulatory comments included Dr. Paul LeFrancois on behalf of the faculty, Stephanie Beltran on behalf of the students, and Dr. Karen Gainey on behalf of the College community.
During his Inauguration speech, Parker noted that his highest priorities would be to increase the amount of scholarships available for students, making Limestone as affordable as possible, and enhancing the academic offerings. “I can think of no greater privilege than to lead this community of outstanding faculty, students and staff,” Parker noted. “The history of Limestone demonstrates values like access, student success, engagement, and community development. One of my priorities as President is to strengthen the academic programs at Limestone College and put the infrastructure in place to support what we’re doing.”