Campus News

UK’s Public Health Dean Chosen as South Carolina’s Next Provost

Donna Arnett
Donna Arnett. Pete Comparoni | UK Photo

COLUMBIA, S.C. (April 14, 2022) — The University of South Carolina (UofSC) announced Thursday that Donna K. Arnett, Ph.D., will be its next executive vice president for academic affairs and provost.

Arnett currently serves as the University of Kentucky’s Dean of the College of Public Health. Arnett will begin her new position at USC on Aug. 1, the university’s board of trustees announced Thursday.

USC also announced that health researcher Julius Fridriksson, Ph.D., will be the school’s new vice president for research.

“With these hires, we have proven leaders who will take the university to new heights in achieving excellence in student instruction and groundbreaking research,” said interim President Harris Pastides.

President-elect Michael Amiridis, who begins his tenure in July, said, “We are fortunate to have professionals of such high caliber to lead the university in its next chapter, and I look forward to working with each of them.”

As UK’s public health dean since 2016, Arnett has provided oversight for the college’s academic offerings, worked to expand extramural funding and conducted the college’s first comprehensive strategic plan. Prior to joining the University of Kentucky, Arnett was associate dean and chair of the Department of Epidemiology at the University of Alabama, Birmingham, and is a past president of the American Heart Association.

“I’m honored to be chosen for this important role at the University of South Carolina,” Arnett said. “My goals are to ignite student success, listen to the faculty and students about how innovations brought on by the pandemic’s remote instruction might shape the future of teaching and learning, build upon the university’s already strong academic offerings and foster a climate of inclusive excellence across campus.”

The provost oversees all the schools and colleges on the Columbia research campus, which collectively offer more than 300 areas of study, from bachelor’s to doctorate degrees.

“It’s always rewarding when a colleague is given the opportunity to advance in their career and to move forward in an important leadership position in higher education,” said UK’s Acting Provost Robert DiPaola. “As sad as we are to see our colleague and friend, Donna Arnett, leaving our community, we are delighted that an outstanding institution such as South Carolina has recognized what she brings to the table as a scholar and administrator and has asked her to take on an important leadership position at such a critical moment for higher education. We wish Donna only the best as she takes this next step.”

Arnett has published more than 700 peer-reviewed papers and two books, focusing her research on cardiovascular health. She earned a nursing degree from the University of South Florida, a master’s in epidemiology and biostatistics from South Florida and a doctorate in epidemiology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Arnett is a native of Kentucky who grew up in Tampa, Florida.