In the spring of 1976, the Board of Trustees elected John Murdoch as president of Connie Maxwell, replacing Dr. Sam Smith who retired that same year. Dr. Murdoch served in various roles for 36 years at Connie Maxwell. In March 1977, Dr. Murdoch became ill with a form of influenza and died in his sleep while he was attending the Southeastern Child Care Conference. He was 61 years of age.
In September 1977, following the sudden death of Dr. Murdoch, Dr. J. Heyward Prince assumed duties as president of Connie Maxwell. During the administration of Dr. Prince, who served until his death in 1993, Connie Maxwell added crisis homes in Florence and Greenwood to provide safety and compassionate care for children in need of immediate help.
The first African American child was admitted to campus in January 1977. During this time period, no cottage contained more than 8 children.
Mrs. Vera Smith, a cottage mother for 47 years, died on July 28, 1977. At the time of her death, her tenure was thought to be the longest of any cottage staff member in the country.
A new swimming pool was built with funds provided by the Self Family Foundation and the Connie Maxwell Alumni Association.