As she ponders her next political steps, former U.N. Ambassador and South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley has accepted a lifetime appointment to the Board of Trustees of Clemson University, her alma mater.

The appointment was announced Tuesday by the university, from which Haley graduated in 1994 with a degree in accounting.

Of the 13 Clemson board members, six positions are selected by state lawmakers. The other seven, of which Haley has one, are named in the will of founder Thomas G. Clemson as lifetime positions, with the sole power “to fill all vacancies which may occur in their number by death, resignation, refusal to act or otherwise.”

That lifetime appointment provision is the subject of a pending lawsuit, which alleges that it violates a state constitutional prohibition on such limitless positions.

The position comes as Haley, 49, remains among the Republicans often mentioned as potential candidates for their party’s presidential nomination in 2024. She has been making the rounds through early-voting states and other GOP-friendly events. Among those, she gave a speech last week at the Reagan Library, and has a planned appearance at next month’s Republican Jewish Coalition event in Las Vegas.

Last week, the Republican State Leadership Committee announced that Haley, along with others including Sens. Tim Scott and Marco Rubio, would serve as advisers for an effort to diversify and grow the GOP.


As former President Donald Trump’s tease of a possible 2024 presidential bid has left some in the potential field with uncertainty, Haley has committed to sitting it out if Trump seeks a second term.

“I would not run if President Trump ran …” she told The Associated Press earlier this year.

Haley served several terms in South Carolina’s state House and was twice elected governor, a post she resigned at the end of 2016 to join the Trump administration as U.N. ambassador.

After leaving the administration in 2019, Haley began fueling speculation about a possible future run for office, moving back to South Carolina, briefly joining the board of aeronautics manufacturing giant Boeing Corp., publishing a memoir and launching a political action committee.

At Clemson, Haley is taking over the board seat held by David Wilkins, who had been a trustee since 2007 and served as speaker of South Carolina’s state House before four years as U.S. Ambassador to Canada during former President George W. Bush’s second term.


Meg Kinnard can be reached at