Dr. John Griffith, president of Presbyterian College in Clinton, S. C., will preside at the First Presbyterian Church in Covington on Sunday, March 21, at 11 a.m.
John Vincent Griffith is a native of Hamilton, N.Y., where he grew up on the campus of Colgate University as the son of that institution's longtime dean of students.
He earned his undergraduate degree in religion with honors from Dickinson College; his master of divinity degree, magna cum laude, from Harvard University; and his Ph.D. from Syracuse University. He has been a chaplain, a minister, and a college lecturer and faculty member before entering higher education administration. He has conducted research and published in the area of intellectual development. He is a member of Trinity Presbytery, Synod of South Atlantic.
His teaching assignments were at the Dana Hall School, Syracuse University, and the University of Michigan. He was at Davidson College for 10 years as a member of the faculty while serving as dean of Admission and Financial Aid and, then, as vice president for Institutional Advancement. In 1989, he was selected as president of Arkansas College, a Presbyterian Church (USA) institution in Batesville, Ark., that later changed its name to Lyon College. In June of 1997, he was the unanimous choice of the Presbyterian College Board of Trustees to be the 16th president of this institution. He began his work at Presbyterian College on January 1, 1998, and was formally inaugurated on October 10 of that same year.
Griffith led the PC community in a year-long strategic planning initiative that resulted in a bold and innovative plan that guides the college through the first decade of the 21st century as it seeks to strengthen its position as one of the leading liberal arts colleges in the Southeast. The priorities of this plan have been translated into the $160 million Promise and Challenge Campaign.
He has served as chair of the President's Council of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities, chair of the Aspen Institute's Wye Governing Council, chair of the Association of Presbyterian Colleges and Universities, and member of the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He also served as a director of the Laurens County Chamber of Commerce and is leading several economic development projects in the city of Clinton.
He is married to Nancy Snell Griffith, an author and archivist. They are the parents of two sons: Matt, a graduate of Davidson College and North Carolina State University School of Design, and Chris, a graduate of Dickinson College and a doctoral candidate in psychology at George Washington University. He and Nancy enjoy their grandchildren Liam, Owen and Sarah.
Presbyterian College is a top-ranked Carnegie One Liberal Arts College. The Washington Monthly recently ranked it No. 26 among all colleges and universities in the U.S. There are about 1200 students from 29 states and seven countries. The student-faculty ratio is 13:1. Students have acceptance rates of 90 percent and higher into schools of medicine, law, religion, business and other graduate programs. A School of Pharmacy is opening on the campus in 2010.