University of South Carolina

Top Scholars

Financial Aid and Scholarships

History of the Programs

The University of South Carolina developed the Carolina Scholars Program in 1969 to celebrate the virtues of a world-class education. Since its inception, 727 scholars have participated in the program, which has been an integral factor in keeping many of the state’s most academically talented students in South Carolina.

Established in 1998, the McNair Scholars Program is an exciting scholarship fund for out-of-state students -- the counterpart of Carolina’s prestigious Carolina Scholars Program for gifted in-state students. The university welcomed the 15th class of McNair Scholars this year. This year’s McNair Scholars represent 21 states and are among the nation’s brightest students.



  • 1969

    Carolina Scholars Program created by University of South Carolina

  • 1978

    South Carolina Honors College established

  • Spring 1988

    McNair Scholars Program established as part of the University’s Bicentennial Campaign

  • Fall 2013

    USC welcomes its first class of Stamps Leadership Scholars

Janice and Robert C. McNair

McNair Scholar benefactors and friends of the university

Janice and Robert C. McNair have been champions of philanthropy for more than 50 years, giving generously to many deserving causes while making education and medical research the cornerstones of their philanthropic giving. They are founders of the Robert and Janice McNair Foundation, the Houston Texans Foundation and the Robert and Janice McNair Education Foundation in Forest City, N.C.

Robert McNair, the founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Houston Texans, is best known in the business community as the founder of Cogen Technologies, which was the largest privately owned cogeneration company in the world when it was sold in 1999. He serves as chairman of The McNair Group and owns Palmetto Partners Ltd. and RCM Financial Services L.P., private investment entities. He is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, where he served as student body president. McNair was named Entrepreneur of the Decade by the Houston Technology Center and was awarded the James A. Baker III Prize for Excellence in Leadership by the Baker Institute at Rice University.

Janice McNair, a graduate of Columbia College, shares her husband’s vision and passion for helping the underserved. She was honored by Child Advocates at their 2009 Angels of Hope luncheon and by the Girl Scouts at their 2005 Urban Campout Gala. Together, the McNairs have established major McNair Scholars Programs at the University of South Carolina, Columbia College, Baylor College of Medicine, M.D. Anderson, Menninger Clinic, Texas Children’s Hospital and Texas Heart Institute.


Roe and Penny Stamps

Stamps Leadership Scholar benefactors and friends of the university

Roe and Penny Stamps have been supporting gifted students since 2006, when they created merit-based scholarship programs for their alma maters. "Inspired by the impact our university experiences have had on our own lives, we have chosen to support exceptional students in their pursuit of higher education."

E. Roe Stamps IV received two degrees in Industrial Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology. He is a co-founder and managing partner of Summit Partners in Boston, and he is a trustee of the Georgia Tech Foundation, the University of Miami, and the Intrepid Heroes Fund. He is a former Director of the National Venture Capital Association, and received an Outstanding Service Award from them in 2004.

Penny Stamps is president of the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation, which supports the Stamps Leadership Scholars Program at universities across the country. She holds a B.A. in design and a teaching certificate in elementary education, both from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. She has served on numerous school boards and community organizations in South Florida.


Carolina Scholar Award Donors

Carolina Scholar Awards are made possible by the contributions of individuals, corporations and foundations. The University Development Office cultivates and maintains relationships with donors of Carolina Scholar Awards. Private support of this and other programs enables the University of South Carolina to attract academically talented students and to provide the margin of excellence in all academic programs.

  • Bank of America
  • Friends of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin*
  • Friends and Family of Solomon Blatt
  • Michael Bond
  • J. Willis Cantey*
  • Carolina Alumni Association
  • Carolina Class of 1936
  • Carolina Class of 1937
  • Carolina Class of 1938
  • Carolina Class of 1939
  • Carolina Class of 1942
  • Carolina Class of 1953
  • Carolina Class of 1964
  • Carolina Class of 1965
  • Carolina Class of 1966
  • Carolina Class of 1967
  • Carolina Department of Athletics
  • Carolina Educational Foundation
  • Carolina Interfraternity/ Panhellenic Council
  • Caroline McKissick Belser Dial*
  • A.T. Chalk*
  • William B. Douglas*
  • G.G. Dowling*
  • William B. Dukes and Blue Marlin
  • William H. Duncan
  • Frances King Fawcett
  • First Citizens Bank
  • Edward R. Ginn III
  • Jack S. Graybill
  • Anne Johnston Gregg
  • William M. Gregg II and Family/S.C. Tees Inc.
  • Caroline and Susan R. Guignard*
  • Martha M. and Hubbard H. Harris*
  • Friends of James B. Holderman and Carolyn Meadors Holderman*
  • Drs. Anita and Charles Hood
  • Kappy M. and William C. Hubbard
  • J. Randolph Johnson*
  • Mary Burnet M. Pearce Johnston
  • Olin D. Johnston*
  • The Knox Family/Terminix Service Inc.
  • L. Joseph Land
  • John T. Langston III
  • Sodexo
  • Arnold R. Merchant*
  • Charles Edwin Moore*
  • Dr. Nicholas K. Moore
  • Michael J. Mungo*
  • Ralph David Neuman*
  • James T. Pearce Jr.
  • Kit and James T. Pearce Sr.
  • Mr.* and Mrs. R. Roy Pearce
  • Robert E. Penland*
  • Pepsi Cola Soft Drink Company
  • Progress Energy
  • Clyde C. Rice*
  • David W. Robinson*
  • South Carolina State Fair Association
  • The Spadoni Foundation
  • Dr.* and Mrs. Charles R. Standridge
  • Calhoun Thomas*
  • Mr.* and Mrs. John L.M. Tobias
  • Patrick L. Tomlin
  • University Associates
  • Chris Vlahoplus and Friends
  • Wells Fargo
  • Annually Funded Award Donors
  • Carolina Scholars Alumni
  • R.C. McEntire and Company Inc.
  • Jennifer M. and Mack I. Whittle
  • Mr. and Mrs. Marshall Winn III