Longtime Charleston Mayor Joe Riley plans to take a job at his old alma mater The Citadel military college when he retires from office in two years.
The college revealed Friday that it is creating a new endowed chair position in the field of government and public policy for the mayor. The school said it has started to raise $2.5 million to endow the position.
“Fifty years after leaving the Citadel as a student, I will be able to come back and serve my alma mater,” Riley said during a Friday news conference. “And I promise I will seek to do my duty.”
The 71-year-old mayor graduated from the Citadel in 1964 with a degree in political science. After a six year stint in the South Carolina Statehouse, he was elected mayor of Charleston in 1974 — a title he has held ever since.
Riley said he would use the position to teach government, write his memoirs, and arrange guest lecturers. The school has not yet determined how much he will be paid.
Citadel president Lt. Gen. John Rosa said it was hard to explain how “excited and pleased” he was to have the mayor coming onto the faculty. “When you have a man that’s done what he’s done for four decades, we found it fitting that he come back and tell his story,” Rosa said after the ceremony. “He’s been bipartisan. He’s been full of integrity in all of the things that you’d hope for in our country.”
Riley said he was approached by the school after previously announcing that his current term in office will be his last once it ends in January 2016. “I didn’t know what I would do when I was no longer serving the citizens of Charleston, but I wanted to be busy,” he said. “So this was nothing that I’d ever thought of doing and I’m very honored to have this very special opportunity.”
Jay Harper contributed to this report