Jonathan Haupt has been appointed the first executive director of the Pat Conroy Literary Center in Beaufort, S.C. The announcement was made during the closing ceremony of the inaugural Pat Conroy Literary Festival.
Haupt has served as director of the University of South Carolina Press since 2011. Prior to that, he was USC Press' assistant director for sales and marketing. Haupt created and co-chaired the Pat Conroy at 70 Festival in 2015. Following Conroy's death last March, Haupt remade the event into the Pat Conroy Literary Festival, which will be the Center's signature annual event in Conroy's adopted hometown of Beaufort.
"In our discussions of what the center needed, we wanted someone with experience in literary arts leadership--a person who was creative and innovative with programming, marketing, and communication," said Cassandra King, Conroy's widow. "We needed a builder who dreamed big but could translate those dreams into reality. We hoped to find someone who knew Pat personally and understood the magnitude of the opportunity of the center. It was a daunting task, but I am very happy to share with you this evening that we have found just the right person with all of those qualities and so much more in Jonathan Haupt."
In his closing remarks at the festival, Haupt said, "The center is striving to fill in that enormous Conroy-shaped hole in all of our lives and our hearts. To play my part in that effort, in honor of my friend and my mentor, is more than an opportunity--it's a calling. And we're meant to say yes to callings. A Great yes. Pat Conroy's lowcountry heart was big enough to include all of us. As a teacher, a mentor, and an advocate, he wanted everyone to find her or his true potential. It's in that spirit that the center will take up our mission to continue Pat's legacy of generosity with readers and writers alike, in and beyond our home here in Beaufort."