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David A. DeCenzo, Ph.D.

President, Coastal Carolina University‌  

David A. DeCenzo is the president of Coastal Carolina University, a position he has held since May 7, 2007. His inauguration as the second president of the University centered on elements that aptly characterize his life and leadership – tradition, integrity, and excellence.

As president, DeCenzo has implemented a comprehensive strategic planning process, assured fiscal accountability through policy and practice, and promoted assessment and transparency throughout the University. The University's Fall 2014 enrollment of 9,976 students reflects a more than 26 percent increase since 2007. The Board of Trustees has adopted a Campus Master Plan to guide development of the University to achieve an enrollment of 12,500 students by 2020.

During his tenure, the academic program has expanded from 39 to 67 undergraduate degree programs and seven new master's degree programs have been added. Recent additions include the B.A. in Intelligence and National Security Studies, the B.S. in Information Technology, the M.A. in Accountancy, the M.A. in Liberal Studies, and the Ed.S. in Educational Leadership. The University began offering its first doctoral program – a Ph.D. in Marine Science: Coastal and Marine Systems Science – in 2014.

Among its national accolades, the University has been recognized by Forbes as one of “America's Best Colleges” and “America's 100 Best College Buys” for five consecutive years, a “Military-Friendly School” by G.I. Jobs magazine for the past five years, and has been included on the 2012 Corporation for National and Community Service’s President’s Higher Education Community Service Roll for institution-wide commitment to service and volunteerism.

Under his leadership, the most ambitious construction program in the University's history is under way. The more than $300 million building campaign includes the new HTC Center, a student recreation and convocation center; and three major academic buildings: Bryan Information Commons, an addition to Kimbel Library; Brittain Hall, an academic and faculty office building; and Swain Hall, an annex to the Smith Science Center. Among the latest projects are an $85 million residence facility to accommodate 1,270 freshmen, and a $12 million annex to the Jackson Student Center. The campus comprises 630 acres in addition to a 1,062-acre tract that includes a portion of Waties Island, which provides a natural laboratory for extensive study in marine science and wetlands biology on an Atlantic coast barrier island.

DeCenzo began his tenure at Coastal Carolina University in 2002 when he became dean of the E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration, a position he held until 2006 when he was named provost of the University. He was instrumental in the establishment of the MBA in 2006.

Beginning in 1986, DeCenzo enjoyed a 16-year association with Towson University in Baltimore as a professor, scholar and administrator in various capacities, including director of partnership development and associate dean in the College of Business and Economics, and chairman and vice chairman of the Department of Management. Prior to Towson, he was an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore and a corporate trainer/employee development specialist with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Maryland.

DeCenzo grew up in Clinton, Md., near Washington, D.C. He attended the University of Maryland, College Park, where he earned a B.A. in economics (1978). DeCenzo also earned an M.A. with emphasis on labor economics (1979) and a Ph.D. in industrial relations (1981), both from West Virginia University. 

DeCenzo's teaching and research interests have focused on management, human resource management and organizational behavior. He is the author or co-author of nearly 30 textbooks that are used widely at colleges and universities across the United States and throughout the world. In addition, his articles have been published in scholarly journals such as the Harvard Business Review and Indiana University's Business Horizons, as well as in numerous professional publications.

As an experienced industry consultant, corporate trainer and public speaker, DeCenzo has served a wide variety of clients, including Moen, Citicorp Global Technology, and AlliedSignal Technical Services (Honeywell).

DeCenzo has served as a member of several academic associations and on many boards for local, community and corporate organizations. He is a member of the board of directors for the North Eastern Strategic Alliance, Myrtle Beach Regional Economic Development Center, Conway Chamber of Commerce, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, and AVX Corp., among others. He is also the chair of the Council of Presidents for comprehensive public universities in South Carolina.

DeCenzo and his wife Terri have four children: Mark, Meredith, Gabriella and Natalie. The DeCenzos live in Pawleys Island, S.C.


(August 2014)