In This Section

University President


David A. DeCenzo, Ph.D.

Image of Coastal Carolina University President David A. DeCenzoDavid 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 enrollment of more than 10,000 students reflects a more than 35 percent increase since 2007. In August 2016 the Board of Trustees adopted an updated strategic plan, entitled "High-Impact Engagement: the Coastal Carolina University 2016-2021 Strategic Plan," to guide the development of the University to achieve an enrollment of 12,500 students by 2023. The largest campaign in the institution's history – I’M IN – The Endowment Campaign for Coastal Carolina University – was launched in April 2016.

During his tenure, the academic program has expanded from 39 to 73 undergraduate degree programs. Recent additions include the B.A. in intelligence and national security studies, the B.A. in digital culture and design, the B.S. in engineering science, and the B.S. in information systems. At the graduate level, the University now offers 27 programs: 23 master's degree programs, two educational specialist programs, and two doctoral (Ph.D.) programs. Recent additions to the graduate program include the Master of Science in information systems technology, the Master of Science in sport management, the Master of Arts in Music Technology, the Ed.S. in both educational leadership and in instructional technology, the Ph.D. in marine science: coastal and marine systems science, and the Ph.D. in education.

Among its national accolades in 2018 from the U.S. News and World Report, the University has been ranked among Southern regional universities as second in the "Best Value" category, tied for 19th in the "Top Public Schools" category, 29th among "Best Colleges for Veterans," tied for 52nd in the "Best Regional Universities (South)" category, and the MBA program tops the "U.S. News Short List" for its 100 percent job placement rate. The University was also named a 2018 Top Military-Friendly Online College by the SR Education Group and was designated as a Purple Heart University in 2017. The University has also been recognized as one of America's Top Colleges (Forbes, 2015), and as America's 100 Best College Buys for nine consecutive years.

Under his leadership, the most ambitious construction program in the University's history is underway. Most recent projects in the more than $300 million building campaign include an $85 million residence facility, a $12 million annex to the Lib Jackson Student Union, and the $30 million Science Annex II. Projects completed in recent years include the HTC Student Recreation and Convocation Center; Bryan Information Commons, an addition to Kimbel Library; Brittain Hall, two academic and faculty office buildings; and Swain Hall, an annex to the Smith Science Center. A major renovation of the softball and baseball stadiums was completed in Spring 2015. The campus comprises 633 acres in addition to a 1,105-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, Maryland, 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 the chair of the Council of Presidents for comprehensive public universities in South Carolina, is a member of the NCAA Division I Presidential Forum, and has served as chair of the NCAA Committee on Institutional Performance.

DeCenzo and his wife Terri have four children: Mark (wife Jen), Meredith (husband Ryan), Gabriella and Natalie; and two grandchildren. The DeCenzos live in Pawleys Island, S.C.

September 2018