Eric McDonald has been named Interim President of Spartanburg Methodist College by the SMC Board of Trustees. McDonald will take over duties effective Wednesday, July 1, 2015. The decision is in response to former President Dr. Colleen Perry Keith’s appointment as President of Pfeiffer University in North Carolina.
McDonald, who has served as Vice President of Business Affairs for SMC since April of 2008 overseeing all financial, facilities and information technology aspects of the College’s operations, will also continue in his normal duties until a new president can be found for the college.
“As we bid Dr. Keith farewell, we know that Spartanburg Methodist College is in excellent hands with Eric McDonald in charge. We are confident that Mr. McDonald will provide excellent administrative leadership and guidance as Interim President. Eric McDonald has been an outstanding member of the President’s Cabinet for over seven years,” said Dr. Phinnize Fisher, Chair of the Board of SMC, and co-chair of the SMC Presidential Search Committee.
Beginning on July 1st, McDonald’s career will have gone full circle. Initially he went to Mercer College to study accounting, but became active in a Baptist Student Union group and decided to go into the ministry. After earning a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and then a Master’s of Divinity from Southeastern Seminary, a friend at church led McDonald back to the accounting industry, where he spent 10 years working for CPA firms in North Carolina.
McDonald then joined the CPA firm of McAbee, Talbert, Halliday & Co. in Spartanburg. Eight years later Art Hartzog, who was then SMC’s Dean of Students, approached McDonald at a Spartanburg County Lions Club meeting and informed him SMC was looking for a new Vice President of Business Affairs. The news changed McDonald’s life. In 2008 McDonald says he “stepped into a situation that was not in crisis. SMC had been very well taken care of and over the past seven years I have drawn heavily on my experience as a CPA to keep SMC healthy financially and thriving overall as an educational institution.”
SMC’s mission is to transform lives in a values-oriented, student-centered atmosphere in the Christian tradition that encourages academic excellence, intellectual exploration, social awareness, and character development within the liberal arts tradition. As Interim President, McDonald’s primary focus will be attracting and educating talented students by having a dedicated staff and faculty with diverse backgrounds and experiences to delivery on that 104-year tradition and mission commitment.
McDonald and his wife, Melinda, who was recently ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) are members of First Christian Church in Greenville, SC and enjoy spending time outdoors in the Upstate.
The SMC Board of Trustees have formed a presidential search committee and have partnered with Coleman Lew + Associates, Inc. to begin the national search for the eighth president of Spartanburg Methodist College.