A week after she was removed from the University of South Carolina’s board of trustees, Darla Moore showed no ill will in a town-hall meeting with students.
She stayed away from the controversy over her removal–never mentioning the governor and only vaguely referring to her ouster last week. However, she did thank students for supporting her and urged them to continue to direct that energy into improving higher education in South Carolina.
All I would ask you is to continue to use your voice for excellence, not for me, but for this great university in our beloved state.
She also said she still planned to be involved with the school. To illustrate that point, she pledged a $5 million donation towards a new Center for Aerospace Research. The proposed project is an attempt by USC to be the first college in the state to offer aerospace engineering. However, the school says it has no money to actually create the center. A $5 million request was cut out of the budget by the House last week.
USC President Harris Pastides said he had not known about the donation, but hoped it would get the ball rolling on the center.
Would we have done it anyway? We would have tried to do it, but this will certainly accelerate our progress. I think it’s a moment in history with aerospace in this state. I think we could become a major home, to not only national aerospace…but gobal aerospace companies.
He said the university wants to create a knowledge base for companies that have begun moving into South Carolina. While Boeing has been the highest-profile employer, there are also numerous aviation manufacturers in the Upstate.
We believe if we invest now, and invest not only in the great land we have and the great incentives we have, but also in the high end of technology and workforce development, it’ll help South Carolina a great deal.
School officials said they do not yet have the details of Moore’s donation. Moore said she expected it to be matched with an additional $5 million from the school. However, Governor Nikki Haley’s staffers and state legislators say that may not be possible in such a tight budget year. It’s not clear if Moore’s donation will happen with no matching funds.
The donation came on at least one condition: Moore wants the new center to be named after the late Ronald McNair. The South Carolinian astronaut was the second African-American to go into space. McNair, who was also from Moore’s hometown of Lake City, died in the Challenger space shuttle disaster 25 years ago.