Finding opportunities for non-traditional students

Posted on: 10/1/2013; Updated on: 2/7/2014
By Marcie Nelson

Sally Boyd, the recently retired assistant vice provost of extended university, dedicated 43 years to USC and gained unlimited opportunities to pioneer initiatives for non-traditional students and become a leader at the university. 

After teaching English as an adjunct professor for many years, Boyd became an assistant professor at the Fort Jackson university program where she discovered her passion for functionality and administrative work. 

Eventually moving to the Columbia campus, Boyd settled into her final position as assistant vice provost, a position she held for 25 years. Over time her position grew to include working with the four regional campuses as well as helping develop Palmetto College

“From my time here as a graduate student to assistant vice provost of extended university, I have seen the university transform,” Boyd said. “There are advantages to moving around and seeing different landscapes, but there are also advantages to seeing the same landscape grow and change.”

Boyd found herself perpetually gravitating toward the aspects she feels are marginalized by the institution. In 1979, along with other women on campus, Boyd formed the Professional Women on Campus organization. This transformative group of women relished a network where they were able to support each other as well as the university by mobilizing around causes.

“Change doesn’t happen overnight and Professional Women on Campus provided opportunities for women, who in many cases, were the only female in a whole department, to bring positive change to USC.” Boyd said.

That same drive to motivate spurred her interest in programs catering to non-traditional students.

“Instead of throwing up road blocks, we need to encourage opportunity seekers — no matter their age — to pursue higher education,” she said.

Boyd worked to provide a way for students who are place-bound on the regional campuses to earn baccalaureate degrees, eventually called Palmetto College, which offers South Carolinians the flexibility to pursue higher education without leaving their work, homes and communities.

Along with assisting those on regional campuses, Boyd also helped create the Adult Student Advancement Program (ASAP) through the Adult Student Services Office to grant older students a second chance at a college education.

“This university gave me the opportunity to help other people realize their potential, their future,” she said. “I hope I’ve taken that gift and provided guidance and support for both students and colleagues for years to come.”


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