The University of South Carolina Sumter is making strides toward a thirty-year goal with the help of strong community partnerships.
New gifts totaling $225,000 have been committed to the university from local businesses who truly care for its success.
USC Sumter received gifts from Becton Dickinson-Sumter (BD), FTC, SAFE Federal Credit Union and Sumter Coatings, all of which will go toward renovating the current Science Building.
"What attracted me to this position is the support for USC Sumter," says Palmetto College Campus Dean Dr. Micheal E. Sonntag. "And this affirms it, that there's a belief in USC Sumter, our mission and what we do."
In addition to gifts from private businesses, USC Sumter has been fortunate to receive support from both the county and the state for the Science Building renovations. Rooms in the renovated building such as research and teaching labs, a student study lounge, lecture rooms and faculty offices will be named after the companies based on their donation.
Science is once again at the heart of social and economic change. With its long history of transforming students into professional and community leaders, USC Sumter is at the forefront of educating the next generation of scientists. Studies have shown that STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education is critical to the growth of South Carolina's future economy. A well-educated STEM workforce will have significant impact on the financial health and well-being of the community.
The university intends to do this by providing a liberal arts background in the context of a STEM education and by renovating and modernizing the Science Building to focus on science learning. STEM offerings at USC Sumter include chemistry, biology, computer science, engineering, physics and mathematics courses.
BD Sumter and USC Sumter have a long history of partnerships. "At the BD Sumter manufacturing facility, we are driven to advance the world of healthcare and we strongly value community engagement," Plant Manager Kevin Johnson said. "We are excited about the educational significance of USC Sumter's future new Science Building, and we're honored to be able support this local improvement initiative."
The Science Building is crucial to the USC Sumter campus. Every student takes courses in the building as part of their general education requirements, even if STEM education is not their focus. This building, its labs and classrooms have not been improved in an appreciable way in nearly 50 years. To enable its students to remain competitive and adapt to STEM industry needs, it is critical that USC Sumter provide state-of-the-art science facilities and equipment that mirrors what is currently in use in modern industry.
Local businesses like FTC and SAFE Federal Credit Union hope to see a return on their investment through the strengthening of the community.
"FTC is excited in its ability to help further STEM educational opportunities at USC Sumter," said FTC CEO Brad Erwin. "I am confident the current and future students will find benefit and opportunity that will ultimately serve their chosen profession, as well as our community, as a result of this investment in our collective future."
"SAFE FCU has maintained a strong relationship with USC Sumter for many years, and, over the years, we have partnered with the Sumter campus on several other important capital funding campaigns," SAFE Federal Credit Union Board Chairman Ken Privette said. "We are again pleased to support our local USC campus by donating a total of $25,000 over a 5-year period to help renovate the USC Sumter Science Building."
USC Sumter's impact on industry spans decades, with numerous generations of local physicians, engineers, health care workers and scientists having benefited from the various science programs. Many of these have in-turn made an impact on local workforce development. The administration at USC Sumter, along with science faculty, have worked diligently for nearly 30 years to see these renovations become a reality.
As progress continues, the university continues to provide tours and information to numerous private individuals and corporations who are also considering making a gift.
"At Sumter Coatings, we are invested in the future of science and technology. We are proud donate to the Science Building Renovation Project to further USC Sumter's educational resources for a brighter and more advanced tomorrow," said CEO Barry Reynolds.
Additional office spaces and classrooms are still available in the renovation design.
To support the campaign for sciences at USC Sumter, please contact Senior Director of Development for Palmetto College Chris DeWolf at (803) 777-9303.
This article was originally published by USC Sumter on May 3, 2017.