FLORENCE, S.C. – Columbia College's new leader was officially introduced to South Carolina United Methodists this week.
President-elect Beth Dinndorf spoke during a morning session of the S.C. United Methodist Church's Annual Conference at the Florence Civic Center on Tuesday. Dinndorf, who will take the office of Columbia College's 18th president in July, was introduced to the thousands in attendance by S.C. UMC Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor.
Dinndorf praised the role of the church in Columbia College's foundation, reputation and growth.
“I am proud to lead a college founded 158 years ago by the Methodist Church that has educated more than 20,000 alumnae who make meaningful contributions in the world and in their communities,” she said. “As its president, I am committed to upholding the principles, values and beliefs of the United Methodist Church and to strengthening the bond between the Church and the college.”
As one of only 48 women's colleges in the country, Dinndorf said Columbia College will continue to “grow and prosper” with the support of the church. Developing relationships with congregations will remain a priority.
“Under the leadership of the college’s Chaplain, the Rev. Roy Mitchell, we will continue our outreach, visiting and holding services at up to 20 South Carolina United Methodist Churches each year,” Dinndorf said. “I will personally attend a number of those services.”
Dinndorf thanked the S.C. Conference for its continued financial support, not only to Columbia College, but all the state's Methodist-supported schools: Claflin University, Wofford College, and Spartanburg Methodist College.
“Your support is very important to each of our institutions, helping us to fulfill our missions and transform the lives of the students we serve,” she said.
The president-elect later attended a lunchtime meet-and-greet event with more than 30 alumnae and friends of Columbia College hosted by Agape Senior at Mellow Mushroom in Florence. She finished the day back at the conference with one-on-one meetings for anyone who stopped by the Columbia College information table.
Dinndorf will begin her tenure as the 18th president of Columbia College on July 1. She and husband Ted O'Connell moved from Minnesota into the Maxwell House on campus last week.
Dinndorf previously served in a variety of roles with the Board of Trustees of the College of Saint Benedict, a nationally ranked liberal arts college for women with more than 2,000 students in St. Joseph, MN. She has chaired the board since 2010, and serves on board committees dealing with finance, investment, academic affairs, audit, trusteeship and resource development.
She is the former senior vice president and manager of student banking services at U.S. Bank in St. Paul, MN. Before that, she was senior vice president and national sales manager of education financial services at Wells Fargo Bank in Sioux Falls, SD.