University of South Carolina

Freshman Thomasin Holly will be a resident mentor in the new International House planned for Maxcy College.

Discover the world Ö at USCís Maxcy

By Megan Sexton,, 803-777-1421

During trips to Central America to conduct research, USC political science professor Lee Walker was struck by the warm welcome he received as an American visitor in a foreign land. Now he’s ready to pay it forward – to international students who come to South Carolina to study.

Lee Walker
Lee Walker

Walker has been named the faculty principal for the new Carolina International House, a living-learning community that will start this fall in the University of South Carolina’s Maxcy College residence hall. The house will bring together about 180 American and international students who will share ideas, cultures and cuisines.

“The value to both sets is immeasurable. For Americans, it’s a chance to feel at home and learn from students from different cultures. It’s an immersion experience without leaving the country,” Walker said. “For the international students, it’s a chance to learn American culture from American students who have an interest in internationals. It’s a chance to help international students feel at home here and become comfortable in South Carolina.”

For USC, it’s a chance to pull together students and faculty members interested in international issues, offering a natural bridge with areas such as the Walker Institute, International Student Programs and Study Abroad.

“Maxcy offers Carolina students a place to celebrate many cultures, to explore global opportunities for learning, and to make friends with a multiplicity of interests and experiences,” said Helen Doerpinghaus, vice provost and dean of undergraduate students. “Dr. Walker’s background makes him an ideal choice for principal. He has the research and teaching experience as well as the zest for new ideas that make him a wonderful mentor and friend to students.”

Walker’s enthusiasm for his new role is obvious, as he ticks off ideas, plans and dreams for the Carolina International House. Those include: a corps of resident scholars who will serve on the house’s board and help organize events; monthly dinners offering the chance for conversations with international speakers; a film series to highlight cultures and nationalities; a Study Abroad experience; and organized activities to join faculty and students interested in international issues and research.

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About Lee Walker

  • Faculty principal, Carolina International House
  • Associate professor of political science, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Joined the USC faculty in fall 2006
  • Earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida
  • Previous positions: assistant professor, University of Kentucky; visiting scholar, Harvard University’s Institute for Qualitative Social Science
  • Research and teaching focus: comparative democratization, comparative judicial politics, Latin American politics
  • Current research includes National Science Foundation-funded work examining judicial decision-making and the expansion of the protection of civil and political rights in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Costa Rica

About Maxcy College

  • Part of an extensive building program launched on campus in the 1930s as part of the New Deal
  • Originally planned as a student union building
  • Named for the Rev. Jonathan Maxcy, first president of South Carolina College

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