Dondi E. Costin, Ph.D., serves as the third President of Charleston Southern University, Charleston, South Carolina. A retired major general, he most recently served as the eighteenth Air Force Chief of Chaplains, the Pentagon, Washington, D.C.
Doctor Costin is a native of Wilmington, North Carolina, and was commissioned a second lieutenant upon graduation from The United States Air Force Academy in 1986. He then served successively as an industrial engineer evaluating air-to-ground precision guided munitions, chief of scientific analysis on a major command headquarters staff, and assistant professor of aerospace studies at Texas Christian University. After ten years as a line officer, he became an Air Force chaplain in 1996.
An ordained Southern Baptist minister, his chaplain assignments included service as Air Force Basic Military Training chaplain, senior flightline chaplain for both special operations and conventional forces in England, readiness instructor/evaluator preparing Chaplain Corps personnel for worldwide deployment, Air Staff branch chief, wing chaplain in Germany, senior chaplain for the air component mission in Southwest Asia, and senior chaplain for Pacific Air Forces.
As Chief of Chaplains, he established guidance and provided advice on all matters pertaining to the religious and moral welfare of Air Force personnel and their families. He led an Air Force Chaplain Corps of 2,000 chaplains and Religious Affairs Airmen and was the senior pastor for more than 664,000 personnel. As chairman of the Armed Forces Chaplain Board, he advised the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff on religious, ethical and quality-of-life concerns for the entire U.S. military.
His military awards and decorations include the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star Medal, Gallant Unit Citation, Kosovo Campaign Medal,three Afghanistan Campaign Medals, Korean Defense Service Medal, and NATO Medal.
He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in operations research from The United States Air Force Academy and graduate degrees from Liberty University (M.A. in counseling), Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary (M.A. in religion), Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (M.Div.), Air Command and Staff College (Master of Military Operational Art and Science), Air War College (Master of Strategic Studies), and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (D.Min.; Ph.D. in leadership).
Doctor Costin retired from active duty in the summer of 2018 and began serving as Charleston Southern’s third President on 1 July 2018. He has been married to the former Vickey Northey of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, for more than 30 years. Vickey earned a Bachelor of Music Education degree from The University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Education degree from Texas Christian University. Her career as a public school music educator spanned more than 23 years with teaching assignments in 6 states.