Founded in 1801, then-South Carolina College flourished pre-Civil War, overcame
post-war struggles, was rechartered in 1906 as a university, and transformed itself as a national institution in the 20th and 21st centuries.
In the 1950s, the University began recruiting national-caliber faculty and extended its presence beyond Columbia with the establishment of campuses in communities across South Carolina. On Sept. 11, 1963, Henrie D. Monteith, Robert Anderson, and James Solomon became the first of an increasing number of African-American students to enroll at the University in the 20th century; in 1965, Monteith became the first African-American graduate, earning a BS in biochemistry.
In the ensuing years, Carolina underwent explosive growth as the “baby boom” generation entered college. Enrollment stood at 5,660 in 1960, but by 1979 had reached nearly 26,000 students on the Columbia campus alone. To meet the needs of these students and South Carolina's changing economy, the University put new emphasis on research and introduced innovative degree programs as well as a number of new schools and colleges. Carolina had become a true research university.
Carolina also honored its past. A renovation program that began in 1972 restored the Horseshoe buildings (photograph, top) to their 1850s condition, a renaissance that served the South Carolina Honors College, which was established in 1977 and whose administrative offices and housing for juniors and seniors are largely on the Horseshoe.
In the 1980s and 1990s, the University continued to develop its resources to better serve the Palmetto State. A concerted drive to achieve national recognition brought Carolina into the 21st century. In 2001, the University of South Carolina celebrated a legacy of 200 years of educating leaders for the future of South Carolina, the nation, and the world.
Today the University of South Carolina is not only the state's flagship university but also is a rising national star. It is consistently ranked as the country's best program for international business by U.S. News & World Report and other publications; earned the Carnegie Foundation's highest research designation, one of only 62 public universities to do so; was ranked No. 35 in the nation for in-state students by Kiplinger's “Best Values in Public Colleges” in 2008; and was mentioned by The Wall Street Journal among a handful of schools as an academic “up and comer” in 2006.
The University is considered a national leader in public health and health disparities research, earning a No. 1 ranking in in kinesiology and exercise science, according to the 2005 Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index by Academic Analytics. The new Arnold School of Public Health Research Center, a $22 million facility, opened in October 2006.
The research center's 104,860 square feet represent the first footprint of Innovista, a new research and innovation district that is expanding the campus westward toward the Congaree River. Two additional buildings, Horizon I and Discovery I, for University researchers are expected to open by the end of 2008. Additional buildings will house private researchers.
Innovista represents a lifestyle philosophy as much as a research mission, and the district will include residences, restaurants, retail space, and recreational areas. By emphasizing walking and biking, the University will continue its trend of going “green. ” The public health research center will seek Silver LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) from the U.S. Green Building Council, a distinction already conferred on the Green Quad, a 500-bed residence hall that opened in 2004.
With 39,000 students on eight campuses, rising SAT scores, nationally respected faculty, and more than 240,000 living alumni, the University of South Carolina has a bright future to match its rich history.
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