Much to crow about

Posted on: 9/18/2013; Updated on: 2/7/2014
By Liz McCarthy, 803-777-2848

It is time for South Carolina to make higher education a stronger priority. That was university President Harris Pastides’ main message for the USC community and lawmakers during his annual State of the University address Wednesday (Sept. 18). 

 “Let me say emphatically that it is time to make a new compact with the state of South Carolina,” Pastides said on the historic Horseshoe. “Let’s find a formula for fairly funding a public baccalaureate education. Let’s not consider a college degree from Carolina a luxury but rather a necessity for our state, and let’s invest in higher education at levels that make common sense.” 

Pastides wants higher education to be more accessible and affordable for South Carolinians. He plans to ask state lawmakers to work with the higher education community to find a fair funding strategy by looking at public appropriation models in states like Tennessee, Indiana and Colorado. A fair model will require fresh funds, he said. 

To meet these needs, the president said he would agree to a three-year moratorium on tuition increases and new earmarks for specific projects in return for increased state funding. 

“Achieving our goal won’t be easy but it is the most worthy cause that I can bring to you for your consideration,” he said. “Let’s not stand idle while the sons and daughters of our state debate with their families whether they can afford a college education.  Surely itwill cost much more for them, and for us, if they turn away.”   

The university is a vital part of the state economy and overall wellbeing, Pastides said. USC annually contributes $4.1 billion to the state’s economy, 30 times more than what the university receives in direct appropriations. 

This summer the president consolidated all the university’s economic outreach efforts into the Office of Economic Engagement, and moving forward USC will continue to have an even greater statewide impact, he said. 

USC’s vital role in the economic and overall wellbeing of the state is just one aspect of the university’s identity, Pastides said. Carolina is also a globally recognized research university, an institution that has been recognized for a superior student experience and a university that is committed to developing flexible new models for college access and affordability

The president highlighted some of the university’s top achievements over the past five years that he has been at the helm of Carolina. 

“I think that a five-year milestone provides an opportunity to assess where we’ve been and what we’ve accomplished,” Pastides said. “Of course these have been very turbulent times for our society. And we have had our struggles, but as with an individual or a family, overcoming struggle makes one stronger and leads to progress.” 

Following the previous year’s announcement of USC’s first integrated marketing campaign, Pastides announced the unveiling of the newly designed sc.edu and new content management system for the university’s website that will give all visitors “a true feeling of what it’s like to be right here at USC.”

Just a few of Carolina’s bragging points this year:

Research

  • For the 17th year, the Darla Moore School of Business remains the premier undergraduate school for international business.

  • U.S. News and World Report gives the College of Education a No. 5 ranking for selected graduate education programs and names seven other graduate programs business, library science, public health, criminology and psychology—among the nation’s best.

  • USC now has 23 American Association for the Advancement of Science fellows.

Student experience

  • A generous gift from the Stamps Family Charitable Foundation added five Stamps Carolina Scholars to USC’s most prestigious in-state scholarship program.

  • For the first time, undergraduates have the opportunity to leave Carolina with a new distinction — “Graduation with Leadership.”

  • The Faculty Replenishment Initiative continues to move forward adding 127 new professors this year.

Access and affordability 

  • Palmetto College, which offers online degree programs for place-bound and rural students to complete their degrees, enrolled more than 500 students this year

  • On Your Time Graduation, which provides flexibility by opening up a full third semester during the summer, filled approximately 11,000 seats this year.

  • The president appointed John Dozier as the university’s first chief diversity officer to build on diversity efforts, which garnered USC recognition for diversity and inclusivity.

Others

  • Carolina’s Promise, USC’s historic $1 billion capital campaign, reached $756.5 million after another record-setting year with $149.1 million in 2012-13.

  • Family Fund, the Carolina family’s annual campaign, raised more than $5 million last year with USC Aiken reaching 94 percent participation and USC Beaufort and USC Sumter topping 50 percent in participation.

  • In 2012-13, the Carolina community had more than 23,000 volunteers and completed a half-million hours of service.

  • My Carolina Alumni Association will break ground on its new home, slated to be complete in early 2015. 


 On YouTube: President Harris Pastides' fair-funding proposal


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