Air Force chief of chaplains to be next CSU president

Dondi E. Costin, who currently serves as U.S. Air Force chief of chaplains, has been named the third president of Charleston Southern University.

This summer, Costin will succeed Jairy C. Hunter Jr., who will transition to the position of president emeritus on June 1 after serving as CSU president for 34 years.

Costin, who was introduced by university officials April 13, has a track record in key leadership positions with the U.S. Air Force, having obtained the rank of major general in his 32 years of commissioned service. As chief of chaplains, he is the senior pastor for more than 664,000 active-duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian forces serving in the U.S. and overseas, and leads 2,000 chaplains and chaplain assistants from the Air Force Chaplain Corps.

A native of Wilmington, N.C., Costin graduated from the United States Air Force Academy in 1986 and will retire from the Air Force before assuming office this summer. A decorated combat veteran, he has 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.

In addition to a bachelor’s degree in operations research, Costin holds five master’s degrees, a doctor of ministry degree, and a Ph.D. 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.

“[My wife] Vickey and I could not be more thrilled to join the CSU family in its drive to develop leaders of character by integrating faith and learning in an environment of academic excellence,” said Costin. “I am honored to follow in the footsteps of CSU’s legendary president, Dr. Jairy Hunter, who has transformed Charleston Southern into the jewel it is today. I look forward to leading this team to build upon the firm foundation he has laid, in hopes that, with God’s help, the best is yet to come.”

The selection and announcement followed a nationwide search process led by executive search firm CarterBaldwin Executive Search of Atlanta, Ga. The 17-member search committee — comprised of trustees, alumni, students, faculty, staff, athletics, external relations and development personnel — reviewed 200 applications.

“The search committee selected Dr. Dondi Costin from over 60 qualified candidates,” said Jerry Williams, chairman of the search committee and chairman of the board of trustees. “The committee unanimously agreed to recommend Dr. Costin because of his passion to lead the university in accomplishing its vision of integrating faith in learning, leading and serving. We believe he is the right fit for our university, and everyone is confident that he will take CSU to the next level of excellence.”

Costin will assume office on July 1.

To see Costin’s full bio, announcement video, and photos, click here.