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Student Affairs and Academic Support

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Student Health and Well-Being appoints key leadership positions

Student Health and Well-Being (SHWB) has welcomed three key leaders to its core management team as part of an ongoing commitment to provide comprehensive health and well-being services at the University of South Carolina (USC).

Lauren Brown named professional development director

In this role - a new one for the division - Brown will contribute to the professional growth and career development of Student Affairs and Academic Support staff members.

Division Awards 2024 winners

Congratulations to the winners of Student Affairs and Academic Support's annual awards, which were given at the Awards Celebration April 23.

USC recognized for excellence in prevention programming

The University of South Carolina has been named a recipient of the 2023 Campus Prevention Network Seal of Prevention. Presented by Vector Solutions, the Seal of Prevention is awarded to colleges and universities that have demonstrated leadership in digital prevention programming focused on student safety, well-being and inclusion.

Student Affairs and Academic Support welcomes new campus recreation director

Jim Walczyk leads the planning, development and implementation of a range of recreational programs, activities and facilities to promote the overall health and well-being of the Gamecock community.

USC joins the White House Challenge to end hunger

The university joins 140 organizations - including nonprofit and philanthropic groups, health systems and local governments - in taking action to end hunger and reduce diet-related diseases across the nation by 2030.

Fallucca to serve as inaugural director of the Carolina Experience

Amber Fallucca brings a wealth of experience in student engagement and experiential learning to the new role working across USC to ensure students have greater access to the resources and support they need to embark on their professional journeys before and after graduation.

USC's Commitment to Free Speech

Vice President J. Rex Tolliver shares a message with students.

USC among most promising places to work in student affairs

The recognition comes from ACPA-College Student Educators International and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine.

First-generation student program wins NASPA Grand Gold Excellence Award

The University of South Carolina's FIrst Things First retreat for incoming first-generation students won the top program honor from NASPA, the national association for student affairs professionals in higher education.

Kirsten Kennedy honored as student affairs scholar-practitioner

Kennedy, associate vice president for the residential experience, won the NASPA Faculty Council Award for Outstanding Contributions by a Scholar-Practitioner.

Will Sheppard selected as director of multicultural student affairs

In his role, he will lead the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs team, focusing on the strategic vision for the division.

New directors in Housing, Student Affairs and Academic Support construction and renovation

The Division of Student Affairs and Academic Support has added to its leadership team with recent hires in University Housing and division-wide construction and renovation.

Ben Galloway named associate vice president for financial services

Beginning Sept. 18, Galloway will develop and execute the vision for financial services and lead the team responsible for the operations and administrative systems supporting a team of over 500 with budgets greater than $100 million.

Advocacy through helping students navigate college life

For the past 15 years, Kim McMahon has helped set up first-year students for success as director of the Russell House University Union. This year, McMahon was awarded the Dennis A. Pruitt Outstanding Advocate for First-Year Students Award.

New name, location, expanded services for student support office

The Office of Student Advocacy – formerly the Office of Undergraduate Ombuds Services – has moved to Russell House West Wing Suite 115. The change, along with a planned expansion of services, will give students greater access to support.

Ross-Alexander named associate vice president for Student Health and Well-Being

Beginning July 17, Mari Ross-Alexander will provide visionary, strategic and operational leadership for developing a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to student health and well-being.

Health and well-being AVP candidate visits begin April 10

Between April 10 and 13, Student Affairs and Academic Support will host three candidates for the position of associate vice president for student health and well-being.

USC staff, program recognized by national student conduct group

A University of South Carolina staff member and program were recognized for excellence at the Association for Student Conduct Administration annual conference in Portland, Oregon.

Q&A with J. Rex Tolliver

New Vice President for Student Affairs and Academic Support J. Rex Tolliver describes the path that led him to working in student affairs and where he sees the road leading as he takes the helm at UofSC.

New vice president for student affairs to focus on student experience

Over the course of his 20-year career in higher education, J. Rex Tolliver has learned to ask questions — and seek solutions — in student affairs. And one question in particular drives his efforts: What can we do to improve the student experience?

J. Rex Tolliver selected as new vice president for Student Affairs and Academic Support

Tolliver, who will begin Aug. 22, will lead all student affairs and academic support units that serve the university’s 36,000-plus student population, including Student Health Services, Housing, Student Success and Student Life.

Carli Mercer named director of Fraternity and Sorority Life

Beginning July 18, Mercer will lead Fraternity and Sorority Life operations and oversee 7,300 students, 20 facilities, 23 staff members and two graduate assistants.

Matthew Hinds selected Student Life administration director

Beginning July 5, Hinds will be responsible for coordinating staff development and training; leading the department's emergency management planning; and overseeing marketing, communications and assessment offices.

UofSC wins silver Bicycle Friendly University Award

The award, given by the League of American Bicyclists, recognizes successful efforts to create a bikeable campus using strategies that include design, education and planning.

Ed Gatzke named Green Quad faculty principal

Ed Gatzke, associate professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering, has been selected as the new faculty principal for the Green Quad living and learning community.

New Student Orientation hosts regional conference

The Office of New Student Orientation hosted the 2022 Southern Regional Orientation Workshop -- more commonly known as "SROW" - March 4-6 at the University of South Carolina.

New initiative to enhance student employment

The UofSC Career Center is committed to advancing the professional development of all students, regardless of their status and background. Amy Gardner, manager of student employment, shares her insight about a new initiative to help staff recruit student employees and to make the on-campus job experience more meaningful for students.

Vice president for student affairs stepping down after 40 years

After nearly four decades leading the University of South Carolina’s student affairs division, Dennis Pruitt will retire from his role as vice president and vice provost when his contract expires in January 2023.

Alison Hughes selected as orientation director

Alison Hughes has been named the new director of the Office of New Student Orientation at the University of South Carolina, a role she'll begin March 21.

Armen Shaomian named new Preston faculty principal

Shaomian, associate professor in sport and entertainment management, has been selected as the new faculty principal for Preston Residential College at the University of South Carolina.

Allyn Powell named director of finance

Powell will be responsible for $100 million in budgets for more than 30 departments and five responsibility units in the Division of Student Affairs and Academic Support.

Zach Schiff named Housing director of construction and renovation

Schiff is responsible for directing the planning, development, design and construction of University Housing projects.

Marc Shook wins national award for senior-level student affairs professionals

Marc Shook, dean of students, deputy Title IX coordinator and interim university assistant vice president for civil rights and Title IX, won the AVP/Senior-Level Student Affairs Professional Award, which will be presented March 22 at the NASPA awards ceremony in Baltimore.

Ken Parks named IT director

Beginning Nov. 16, Parks will direct the planning, strategic development, design and operations of information technology systems within the division.

Patrick Flynn named Student Life communications and events director

Flynn is responsible for promoting the Department of Student Life through communications and marketing, planning and implementing major events, managing the department's emergency communication planning and overseeing the student ticketing office.

First gen lifeline

First-generation students from low-income families who arrive at the University of South Carolina find a home and support through the Opportunity Scholars Program, where a combination of smaller classes, mentoring, advising and workshops improves students’ academic performance and graduation rates.

Sonia Badesha named director of Student Disability Resource Center

Badesha, who began her role June 15, oversees disability-related compliance at South Carolina and facilitates accommodations for students with disabilities on the Columbia and Palmetto College campuses.

UofSC awarded grant to support recovery and substance misuse services

The Substance Abuse Prevention and Education office was awarded a $528,000 grant from the South Carolina Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services to support collegiate recovery and substance misuse services.

Kara Law named director of finance

Beginning April 16, Law will provide guidance, monitoring and analysis in budgeting and finance for the departments comprising Student Affairs and Academic Support.

UofSC wins Institutional Excellence Award from national student conduct group

The award from the Association of Student Conduct Administration recognizes excellence and innovation in the field of student conduct.

U101 has most successful semester despite COVID-19 adjustments

University 101 had its most successful semester ever in fall 2020, according to results from course evaluations and the First-Year Seminar Assessment. Students agreed that they recommend future UofSC students take University 101, the course improved their transition to the university and taking the course was a valuable experience.

Reactivated Council on Sustainability advances efforts toward national leadership

South Carolina has re-established the President's Council on Sustainability, whose members are charged with providing "input and expertise to the Office of Sustainability regarding goals, programming and evaluation of sustainability at the university."

COVID-19: Overcoming addiction during a pandemic

One year after COVID-19's arrival in the United States, it's clear that its effects go beyond the disease itself. Conclusive, long-term data on how the pandemic has impacted substance abuse is not yet available — but the short-term data suggest an overall increase.

Leena Holt named director of Parent and Family Programs

Holt will serve as the primary contact for parents and families of undergraduate students at South Carolina and will be responsible for managing events and communications that help parents and families support their students' success.

UofSC receives grant to support alcohol-free programs, prevention education

A grant from the International Town Gown Association through the Molson Coors Great Plays Program will be used to promote risk reduction strategies, substance abuse education and alcohol-free programming to promote safety and health for students.

After tragedy, student finds new beginning at UofSC Honors College

After losing both of her parents, Antonia Adams has made a new start at the South Carolina Honors College. Her journey shows the importance of perseverance and the belief that education can restore confidence and hope.

UofSC earns top ranking for first-year experience

The University of South Carolina is once again recognized for offering the best first-year experience of any public college in the nation by U.S. News and World Report’s annual undergraduate rankings released Monday (Sept. 14).

ESSAY FEATURE: Citizenship in Action

A conversation with the Leadership and Service Center's Ambra Hiott, director, and Carly Zerr, leadership coach

ESSAY FEATURE: A Legacy of Service

Established by the late Robert "Bobby" Dobson III ('60, '62 J.D.), the Dobson Volunteer Service Program has touched lives on campus and around the world for more than 20 years. Since funding its first student trip in 1999, the program has supported more than 1,300 student trips to 60 countries on five continents.

ESSAY FEATURE: Real Opportunities

The University of South Carolina strives to be an environment where all students can flourish and succeed, regardless of their backgrounds. Essay sat down over coffee to discuss the programs and support that South Carolina offers first-generation and low-income students with three champions of these inclusive efforts: Althea Counts, director of TRIO programs; Joey Derrick, director of student financial aid and scholarships; and Dana Talbert, director of the Student Success Center.


Junior Andee Poulos's battle with a life-threatening injury sparked an organization dedicated to helping families facing the same hardships.


Haleema Adly, a freshman nursing major from Columbia, has used her life experiences to become an educator and advocate for multicultural people.


Anna Book, a senior public health major from Charleston, has found community at South Carolina by leading the Homecoming Commission as its president.

STUDENT PROFILE: James "Davis" Hayman

James "Davis" Hayman, an international business and finance major from Johnson City, Tennessee, has created a platform to advocate for the disabled community.

STUDENT PROFILE: Ryleigh Waiters

Ryleigh Waiters, a senior University Ambassador and exercise science major from Lancaster, South Carolina, has turned giving back to the university into her passion


Uriah Chapman uses his Magellan Guarantee Research Grant to study the disparities between police interactions with people of different races

Rios Husain named assistant vice president for student success

Beginning Jan. 13, 2020, Silvia Patricia Rios Husain will partner with university and external stakeholders to advance the retention, timely graduation, career readiness and life-long employability of our students and inform and enhance best practices in higher education student success.

UofSC is No. 1 nationwide for first-year student experience

The University of South Carolina has the top first-year student experience among the nation’s public universities, according to U.S. News and World Report’s annual undergraduate rankings.

Center for Health and Well-Being certified LEED Gold

The five-story center next to the Russell House opened in fall 2017 with open spaces, indoor plants and built-in efficiencies. It is one of 16 buildings on the UofSC Columbia campus with LEED certification.

A decade of opportunity

Year after year, the number of lives transformed by the University of South Carolina’s Gamecock Guarantee program keeps growing. But numbers alone don’t tell the full story.

ESSAY FEATURE: Financial Aid Upgrade

Financing college isn't always a simple process for students and their families. The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships at the University of South Carolina, led by director Joey Derrick, has set out to improve it.


Junior Andee Poulos’s battle with a life-threatening injury sparked an organization dedicated to helping families facing the same hardships.

Kennedy named associate vice president for housing and well-being

Kirsten Kennedy has been named associate vice president for housing and well-being, a position she's held in an interim capacity since January.

UofSC selects Shook as dean of students, deputy Title IX coordinator

Marc Shook has been named dean of students and deputy Title IX coordinator, a new position in the UofSC Division of Student Affairs and Academic Support.

UofSC programs, staff win national student affairs awards

NASPA, the national organization for student affairs professionals, recognized three UofSC programs and a former associate vice president for excellence in the field.

Edwards named associate vice president for student life

Anna Edwards has been named associate vice president for student life, a position she's held in an interim capacity since July 2017.

Opportunity guaranteed

David Tran, a first-generation college student from Greenwood, South Carolina, dreamed of becoming a doctor. Thanks to the Gamecock Guarantee financial and academic support program, Tran will graduate this December and head to medical school.

Get ready for a Cocky weekend

On Sept. 15, a 6-foot-5, 773-pound bronze statue of the beloved mascot will be dedicated in front of Davis College, just off Greene Street next to the Melton Observatory. Cocky is seated on a bench, with one hand raised high with a spurs-up sign. His other hand rests on a stack of books, a nod to Cocky’s role as a literacy leader around the state.

Wellness revealed

With its soothing interior colors, lush plants, comfy seating and walls of windows, the new student health center might become the next cool place for students to hang out. And if that happens, executive director of student health services Debbie Beck will be more than a little pleased.

Gardening and Literacy Education through the Arts

To provide local students with a first-hand look at the benefits of gardening, sustainability and wellness, the Office of Sustainability collaborates with the City of Columbia Parks and Recreation Department to host a two-week, interactive summer program.

Bargains are plenty at UofSC annual yard sale

Each year, as students move out of their residence halls, they leave behind thousands of pounds of unwanted items — from futons to lamps to clothing. These donated items will be up for grabs Friday and Saturday (May 19-20) at the Give It Up For Good yard sale sponsored by University Housing.


Record rainfall in October 2015 caused widespread flooding and devastation in Columbia. UofSC staff members worked around the clock to ensure student safety and to provide essential services.

Out to lunch

Out to Lunch, a longstanding program run by the Student Success Center in partnership with Carolina Dining Services, was started as a way to improve interaction outside the classroom by encouraging students to invite their instructors to a meal and then talk about — well, that’s up to them.


As spirit chair of UofSC's Relay For Life team, Stephanie Pacheco encourages others to work hard in the fight against cancer. Pacheco needs no extra encouragement. Her motivation is her family.

Student documentary gives viewers something to chew on

Real food, as in fair, local, humane and ecologically sound, was something that Ryan Gaucher says his group had “moderate interest” in before filming its documentary, “Something to Chew On.” But Gaucher and classmates Cole Haltom, Coleman Krietemeyer and Colin Rex were able to use a class assignment to better understand and improve their community.

There's a M.A.P.P. for that

UofSC's Multicultural Assistance Peer Program helps students of color find everything they need to fit in, have fun and get the most from their college experience.

ESSAY FEATURE: Expert Advice

Hilary Lichterman, associate director of residence life, University Housing, describes the residential curriculum and its implementation at UofSC.

Preston's neighborhood

French professor Lara Lomicka Anderson loves being part of and building communities. As the newly named principal of Preston Residential College, she and her family will move into the residence hall, where they will experience the college journey with undergraduates for the next three years.

Sail away

Five years ago, there was no Gamecock Sailing Club. Today, there’s an active club with up to 80-plus members during any given semester. Meanwhile, the club’s president, a senior finance major who graduates this week, hopes to turn her passion into a career in the sailing industry.

After the flood

When a 1,000-year deluge inundated the city of Columbia, University of South Carolina students rolled up their sleeves.

UofSC honors top students at Awards Day

The University of South Carolina presented its top honors, the Algernon Sydney Sullivan and Steven N. Swanger awards, to four graduating seniors during the university’s annual Awards Day ceremony Thursday on the historic Horseshoe.

Helping women teach each other to LEAD

Helping her peers, especially other young women, find their leadership voice is Caroline Westberg’s passion. She has spent the past year – her senior year at the University of South Carolina – creating Women LEAD. On Wednesday, Westberg was named the 2016 Outstanding Woman of the Year.

Supplemental Instruction program earns national honors

UofSC's Supplemental Instruction program has been named the 2016 Outstanding SI Program by the International Center for Supplemental Instruction.


If you're looking for a path to success, find someone who has done what you want to do and follow in his or her footsteps. If you've already been down that path, show someone else the way. It's called mentoring, and at UofSC it leads to great things — we've got the programs to prove it.


Even with two majors and a minor, Jory Fleming still finds time to volunteer in the community. And so does his service dog, Daisy.

On the hunt for conservation

Teamwork, leadership, passion and hard work. These are just some of the words, Austin Royal and Patrick Pope would use to describe the success of their student organization, Ducks Unlimited at the University of South Carolina.

Heart Walk team dedicated to awareness

The university's team for the Midlands Heart Walk this year is being led by the girlfriend and friend of a UofSC police officer who lost his battle with heart disease at the age of 29.

Interns get real-world experience on national stage

Jill Goodtree, Olivia Currey and Richard Lipkin are interns for the university’s Office of Communications and Public Affairs. The three public relations majors in the School of Journalism and Mass Communications had the opportunity to work for CNN during the television network’s two “town hall” events at the UofSC law school, leading up to the Republican and Democratic presidential primaries held in South Carolina in February.

Fostering leadership and diversity

For 30 years, the University of South Carolina has brought together students around the region to talk about leadership and diversity. This year, students and faculty from across the SEC also will be part of that conversation.

Gateway to opportunity

Vernon Pryor came to Carolina through the Gamecock Gateway program, and the sophomore electrical engineering major has since earned a scholarship that covers all of his educational costs until graduation. The Science, Mathematics and Research for Transformation (SMART) scholarship also guarantees him a job as a civilian employee in the Department of Defense for three years after graduation.


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