The Rev. Ralph Canty said he considers it an honor that a local grassroots campaign has been organized for him to be considered as a candidate for the Morris College presidency.
Canty, 72, made his comments last week to The Sumter Item after it …
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Canty, 72, made his comments last week to The Sumter Item after it was made public by the leader of the campaign drive that there has been a groundswell movement for him to be added to the list of candidates for the Morris helm.
Rembert resident Carlton Washington, leader of the petition campaign, said he submitted the petition to the college board's presidential search committee in October with about 310 signatures for Canty to be considered as a candidate. After not hearing any response from the committee to date, Washington said he sent out a letter of appeal to each of Morris' 27 board of trustees members on Thursday for them to now get involved in the process.
Canty said he's flattered by the response.
"What is so remarkable, in my perspective, is this is a movement led by a generation of folk behind me," Canty said. "Some of the leaders of this movement just graduated from Morris College a year ago. That, to me, is tremendous, and I am indeed honored by it."
A Sumter native and resident, Canty is a 1967 graduate of Morris with bachelor degrees in social studies and theology.
For the record, Canty said he didn't submit an application for the president's opening and didn't seek the position in any way. But he said if the college's board of trustees wants him to serve as president, he would do the job.
Washington said his group submitted the petition to the selection committee about one week after the application deadline, but the group strongly thinks Canty is the right person for the president's post.
He cited various challenges the college currently faces: legal health issues with a mold infestation case, declining student enrollment and financial concerns. Washington said the group thinks Canty's connection to the local community and his leadership experience make him possibly the best candidate for the position.
Canty said, from what he understands, there has been tremendous anxiety in the movement.
"The movement has come about because they really feel it's time for an alumnist to head the college," Canty said. "An alumnist who has the interest of the school at the heart."
Canty said he thinks Morris "is a jewel in the rough" and that it can be a major partner in preparing the region's citizens for productive roles in society and also expanding the local economy.
If selected as the college's next president, Canty said he would resign from his two pastoral positions and spend the next few years dedicated to carrying out the mission and vision of the college and marketing the college more to the community.
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