Dwaun J. Warmack is leaving Harris-Stowe State University, where he has served as president since 2015, to lead Claflin University in Orangeburg, South Carolina, which was founded in 1869 as the first South Carolina university open to all regardless of race. He will assume his new duties as president on August 1.

Dwyane Smith, Harris-Stowe State University’s provost, will assume the role of interim president until a full presidential search is completed. Ronald A. Norwood, chairman of the Harris-Stowe State University Board of Regents, said the board would immediately begin consulting with university leaders as well as campus and community stakeholders for the selection of a new president.

“The members of the Board of Regents greatly appreciate the transformative work of President Warmack and his team that has radically changed Harris-Stowe State University in countless positive ways,” Norwood said in a statement.

At Harris-Stowe, Warmack shepherded more than $24 million in external funding to the institution, including a $5 million STEM grant, the largest in the school’s history, and increased the Harris-Stowe Foundation fund balance by 681 percent.

He cultivated more than 16 partnerships and collaborations with Fortune 500 companies, regional organizations and other higher education institutions. Partnerships with other local universities led to new programs in Engineering, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, and Pharmacy.

As part of the institution’s strategic plan that he spearheaded, the university expanded its academic offerings, with degrees, minors, and certificate programs increasing from 14 to more than 50 offered. These include new majors in Communications, Psychology, and History, and a minor in Africana Studies.

Under his leadership, Harris-Stowe witnessed a 34 percent increase in headcount, applications to attend the school soared to more than 7,000 in 2019 compared to 667 in 2013, and the student profile diversified, as the student body now represents 37 states and 17 countries. 

“This was a difficult decision for me. Within the last five years, we have done some transformational work at HSSU, which has been recognized nationally. There is something special about the spirit found at this university. It is intense, real, sincere, authentic – and I have been proud to be a part of HSSU’s rich history,” Warmack said in a statement.

“The dedicated faculty and staff who work here, and the students are second to none. I can confidently leave knowing that HSSU is in great shape with a tremendous leadership team in place to continue our momentum, growth, and success.”

At Claflin University, he succeeds Henry N. Tisdale, who is retiring after 25 years of leadership. “I am humbled by the opportunity afforded me to carry the torch and to continue the growth and development of Claflin University as a dynamic and powerful center of scholarship, research and education,” Warmack said in a statement.