Important Donations in South Carolina

What does someone have to do to keep a seat as a university trustee, anyway?

South Carolina’s governor, Republican Nikki Haley, recently replaced a University of South Carolina trustee who’d been very generous to the university. Why?

According to an article by Tim Smith in the Greenville News:

Gov. Nikki Haley is welcoming Darla Moore’s $5 million gift to the University of South Carolina but is offering no support to match it with state money for a proposed aerospace research center at the school.

Moore, the school’s biggest donor, was replaced as a USC trustee by Haley last week in favor of a Lexington attorney. Moore announced her gift Thursday to students who gave her repeated standing ovations in the packed USC ballroom.

Moore, who graduated from South Carolina, says she remains committed to the university. Despite losing her position, she’s still giving her $5 million to the school, and apparently plans to continue donating. She has given the school some $70 million since 1998. She was appointed a trustee in 1999.

Haley replaced Moore with Tommy Cofield, a South Carolina lawyer who apparently gave $4,500 to Haley’s campaign.

Students protested, demanding that the governor put Moore back on the board. According to an article about the matter in the Huffington Post, “Haley made clear she would not, responding that no one is entitled to public office, regardless of their record of service or philanthropy.”

Well no one said Moore is entitled to sit on the board. Someone who gives $70 million, however, might be a rather good person to keep around.

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer