Statement from President McConnell on Mayor Joe Riley

The following statement is my thoughts on outgoing Charleston Mayor Joe Riley.

During my more than 30 years serving the state of South Carolina, I had the pleasure to work with Mayor Riley on numerous initiatives, from the flooding of the Crosstown to the building of the Mark Clark Expressway. Throughout our working relationship, I have always appreciated Mayor Riley’s civility. You can disagree with him on an issue and still be able to work together on another initiative. He was, and is, a true leader who has worked with people to affect positive change. I have thoroughly enjoyed a productive, collaborative relationship with Mayor Riley that, I believe, has strengthened Charleston and the Lowcountry.

In regards to the College of Charleston, Mayor Riley helped the College in its growth era during the Ted Stern presidency. Mayor Riley was instrumental in helping the College make its transition into the national liberal arts and sciences university it is today. He provided a city that was friendly to the College and willing to work with us to serve generations of students. The College of Charleston community is so fortunate to be the home of the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities, which is dedicated to researching urban issues and enhancing community life in the Charleston area. In addition, we are honored to have awarded Mayor Riley with an honorary degree in 2009. We are forever indebted to him for his years of support and friendship.

I characterize Mayor Riley as a mayor extraordinaire. Over the past 40 years, he has ushered in tremendous growth in Charleston’s size, population and economy – all while delicately balancing the preservation of the city’s historic charm and culture. He took a sleepy port city and brought it to health and prosperity; thus, raising the quality of life of our city and our people. Mayor Riley’s legacy is one of achievement.