University of South Carolina

Belser gift largest ever to S.C. Honors College

The South Carolina Honors College and the College of Engineering and Computing at the University of South Carolina have received a $1.4 million gift to establish several scholarships.

The gift, from the family of Elizabeth Albright Belser and Duncan Clinch Heyward Belser, is the largest ever made to the South Carolina Honors College. It will provide six full-tuition scholarships annually to honors students majoring in engineering or computing and who are residents of South Carolina. The first scholarships will be awarded to freshmen entering USC in fall 2011.

“This generous donation will establish the most significant need-based scholarship fund in the South Carolina Honors College,” said Dr. C. Tayloe Harding Jr., interim dean of the college. “Gifts such as this one help us to more completely fulfill our mission and pursue our goal of continually improving the support and opportunities we are able to offer our high-achieving, high-aspiring students.”

“This outstanding gift will certainly help support the College of Engineering and Computing in its mission of educating students,” said Dr. Harry J. Ploehn, interim dean of the College of Engineering and Computing. “This generosity will not only benefit the students who receive the resulting scholarships, but our whole community of faculty, staff and students who will welcome these scholars to the CEC.”

Elizabeth “Betty” Belser, a longtime Columbia resident, was active in civic affairs, having served as president of the South Carolina League of Women Voters. She was an accomplished horsewoman and ran a riding school in the Midlands for many years, teaching hundreds of Columbia-area young people not only the essentials of horsemanship but also important lessons about life and values. A 1941 graduate of Pennsylvania State University, she was trained as a pilot in the days before World War II.

Heyward Belser, a Columbia native, earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from USC in 1940, graduating Phi Beta Kappa. During World War II, he won the Distinguished Service Cross as a member of the Army Air Corps. After graduating from Yale Law School, Belser returned to Columbia, where he was in private practice for more than 30 years. He served for 12 years in the S.C. House of Representatives, six years as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

“We are pleased to endow this scholarship fund as a tribute to our parents in recognition of their commitment to education and their devotion to South Carolina,” said a spokesperson for the Belser family.

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 12/15/10 @ 10:05 AM | Updated: 12/21/10 @ 4:18 PM | Permalink