Keith Faulkner (’01 JD/MBA) inaugurated as Charleston Southern’s fourth president

Photo of Campbell Law alumnus Keith Faulkner '01

RALEIGH — A Campbell Law School alumnus and former interim dean has been inaugurated as Charleston Southern University (CSU)’s fourth president. 

Keith Faulkner ‘01 was formally inducted as CSU’s president on Monday, March 25. Faulkner, who was appointed in July 2023 and took office in October 2023, is the first Campbell Law graduate to be appointed president of a university. He has come full circle, graduating with honors from CSU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance in 1998, when he also won the Outstanding Business Administration Student Award. He is also the first CSU alumnus to become president of the university.

Prior to becoming CSU president, Faulkner served as president, dean and professor of law at Appalachian School of Law and as dean of Liberty University School of Law. He is also a NCDRC Certified Superior Court Mediator.

Faulkner worked in a number of positions at Campbell University from 2004 to 2013, including serving the law school as associate dean for external relations, executive associate dean for administration and academic affairs, vice dean for administration and external relations and interim dean. He also served as dean of the Lundy-Fetterman School of Business for a year.

Campbell Law Professor and Dean Emerita Melissa Essary gave the keynote address at Faulkner’s inauguration ceremony. 

Sometimes you meet someone and you’re optimistic about who they appear to be,” she told the crowd. “Sometimes, they are everything you hoped they would be and more. Meet Keith Faulkner.”  

U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), another CSU alumnus, delivered the “charge to the president” encouraging Faulkner to lead the university with a hunger for knowledge and thirst for Christ. Watch the ceremony at this link.

Photo of Keith Faulkner '01 and U.S. Sen. Tim Scott

In addition to his JD, Faulkner earned a Master of Business Administration from Campbell University and a LL.M. in litigation management from Baylor University School of Law. 

Over his academic career, Faulkner and his teams have launched online programs, developed innovative partnerships with industry, enjoyed success in fundraising, and many other notable accomplishments, his bio states on the CSU website.

According to a release on the CSU website, when Faulkner arrived on CSU’s campus, he said he was focused on four things: Listening, Caring, Casting Vision and Leading. During Monday’s ceremony, he thanked the CSU faculty and staff, adding, “This is a team dedicated to service above self.” He also pledged to invest in people – in employees and the student body.

 “Casting a vision is not enough,” he said. “Faith requires us to act. Walking in faith requires vision and action. Vision with action can change the world.”

Faulkner concluded with a challenge to the CSU family: “One who has hope lives differently. We are people of hope. We are respectful of our past with a laser focus on the future.”

Before pursuing a career in academia, Faulkner practiced law in the areas of insurance defense, criminal defense, estate planning, family law and real estate litigation and transactions. He also served in the U.S. Navy, where he attended Naval Nuclear Power School and he worked as a nuclear power plant operator and technician. For four of those years, his responsibilities were aboard a fast-attack nuclear powered submarine — the USS Billfish. Already built to be a CSU Buccaneer living on the high seas, his longest stay under water was almost two months, his bio states.

A native of Montgomery County, North Carolina, Faulkner is married to his high school sweetheart, Patty, and they are the proud parents of three children.


Since its founding in 1986, Campbell Law has developed lawyers who possess moral conviction, social compassion, and professional competence, and who view the law as a calling to serve others. Among its accolades, the school has been recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) as having the nation’s top Professionalism Program and by the American Academy of Trial Lawyers for having the nation’s best Trial Advocacy Program. Campbell Law boasts more than 4,800 alumni, who make their home in nearly all 50 states and beyond. In 2024, Campbell Law is celebrating 45 years of graduating legal leaders and 15 years of being located in a state-of-the-art facility in the heart of North Carolina’s Capital City.