Press Release

Investiture of Al M. Panu, Ph.D.
as Second Chancellor of USCB

March 14, 2016

BEAUFORT, S.C. – Al M. Panu, Ph.D. will be officially installed as second chancellor of the University of South Carolina Beaufort at the Investiture Ceremony at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, March 18.

The Investiture Ceremony will take place on the Helen and Brantley Harvey Plaza of the Hilton Head Gateway Campus in Bluffton, SC. The ceremony will include a formal procession of the USC Board of Trustees, delegates from other universities, faculty, staff and students, with a reception following the ceremony.

An investiture is defined as the “act or ceremony of conferring the authority and symbols of high office.” This is a practice that dates back to the Middle Ages and today is an academic ceremony in which the new leader is “vested” with the official powers of the office.

“This is truly a defining moment in the history of the University of South Carolina Beaufort,” remarked Dr. Panu. “This legacy of commitment to education challenges us to grow our already strong partnership with the region. Our students remain our number one priority, and we are proud of our ability to impact their life at USCB and their future in the workforce.”

Dr. Panu began a new strategic planning process at the beginning of 2016 called Envision 2021. The strategic planning committee, comprised of local and regional leaders, faculty, staff and students, is shaping a plan for the next five years that will create new goals and set new standards of excellence at USCB.

Pre-ceremony events include a photographic display of “The Legacy of Support for Education in Beaufort County” at the USCB Center for the Arts in Beaufort. With Dr. Panu’s love of soccer, a faculty and staff versus students soccer game will take place on Finland Field on Wednesday. A “Bakeoff and Bagpipes” event on Thursday will feature a faculty versus staff bakeoff accompanied by a small bagpipe concert. The publication, Virtue, Liberty, Science: A Legacy of Education in Beaufort County, edited by assistant professor of history, Dr. Brent Morris and written on the occasion of the investiture will be distributed. P. Ellen Malphrus, Ph.D., associate professor of English, will debut her commissioned poem Investiture at the ceremony.

About the Chancellor

Dr. Al M. Panu became the second chancellor of the University of South Carolina Beaufort on August 16, 2015.

Panu’s appointment culminates a nearly 30-year career in higher education in which he has worked closely with students, faculty, administrators and alumni as well as local and state leaders. Building on an academic career as a chemistry professor at Kennesaw State University, Panu joined Gainesville State College in 2007 as chairman of the Division of Science, Engineering and Technology. He was named dean of the School of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics in 2010 and vice president for academic affairs in 2011.

In 2013 Dr. Panu assumed the role of senior vice president for university affairs at the University of North Georgia, where he served on the leadership team responsible for the consolidation of Gainesville State College and North Georgia College and State University.

Panu earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, and his master’s and doctorate in chemistry respectively at the University of Alabama in Birmingham and University of Georgia. He received Kennesaw State University’s College of Science and Mathematics Distinguished Teacher Award.

A native of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Al M. Panu, Ph.D. and his wife, Judith, have three children, Sylvain, Marc and Anna.


Located in the heart of the Carolina Sea Islands, the University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a baccalaureate member of the USC system, serving the southeast coast of South Carolina and Georgia. Since 2002, USCB has tripled its academic degree programs, doubled its FTE enrollment, opened its first on-campus housing (now serving more than 750), joined the NAIA Sun Conference, and fielded conference and national award-winning Sand Shark athletes in nine sports. The university’s two campuses serve a diverse student body of 1,980 students. The Hilton Head Gateway campus in Bluffton, SC, offers cutting-edge Computational Science and Nursing laboratories, and a broad range of academic degree programs. It is home to Sand Shark athletics. The Historic Beaufort campus, located on Beaufort’s downtown waterfront, houses an innovative baccalaureate Studio Art program in close proximity to Beaufort’s many art galleries. Students enjoy opportunities on Hilton Head Island, including the USCB Center for Event Management and a Coastal Ecology research partnership with Vagabond Cruise. USCB serves 1,500 Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) members, who participate in more than 1 million course hours annually, placing OLLI at USCB in the top 10 in the country. The University of South Carolina Beaufort offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity.

For more information about the University of South Carolina Beaufort, contact Kerry Jarvis, public information coordinator, at 843.208.8030 or