My Carolina Alumni Association breaks ground on new home

Nearly 170 years after its establishment, the University of South Carolina’s alumni association will have a new home.

Officials of the My Carolina Alumni Association and university gathered Friday (Nov. 1) to break ground on an Alumni Center, located at Lincoln and Senate streets.  

When complete in May 2015, the 65,000-square-foot building will be a hub for student and alumni interaction and events in the heart of the Vista near the Colonial Life Arena and Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center and walking distance to shops, hotel and restaurants.

University President Harris Pastides said the Alumni Center will play a vital role in connecting the university’s alumni to students and each other.

“A great university with more than 270,000 living alumni needs a great Alumni Center that encourages Carolina graduates to stay connected,” Pastides said. “The My Carolina Alumni Association has raised the bar through its involvement and support. This center is a wonderful reflection of alumni commitment to your alma mater as well as South Carolina’s future. It will serve as the pulse, the heartbeat and the epicenter for Carolina alumni worldwide.”

The $26.64 million center, created by alumni for alumni, is privately funded.

Designed by Columbia-based architect LS3P, the building will feature a variety of indoor and outdoor spaces for meetings, networking and for life events such as weddings. With strong aesthetic ties to the university’s historic Horseshoe, its design features an entrance reminiscent of the iconic Horseshoe gates and a facade of red brick that also reflects the character of the Vista.

My Carolina executive director Jack Claypoole said the Alumni Center will be a place for alumni to rekindle passions and remember why they chose Carolina and why they love the university.

“It’s important to us to reconnect alumni with our university,” said Claypoole. “Our alumni have a vast wealth of talent that can help support the world-class education offered on campus. From guest lectures to internships, our alumni can add value and support to today’s student while also instilling in them the importance of using the skills they learn at Carolina to help future generations of Gamecocks.”

The three-story Alumni Center is designed with flexibility in mind. With alumni staff offices on the top floor, the bottom floors will feature a variety of spaces, including 12 meeting and conference rooms, a large ballroom that can seat 500 for dinner, a catering kitchen, board room for the university’s board of trustees and a presidential dining room. The building will have its own dedicated parking for convenience.

 Claypoole, who took the helm of the alumni association in May 2012, said one of his favorite spaces will be the building’s outdoor patio along Lincoln Street.

“It gives us a chance to show our Gamecock pride in a highly visible Vista location,” he said. “From current students to our most senior of alumni, I’m blown away by the passion and excitement for this project. It’s truly an honor and privilege to return home to my alma mater and bring the My Carolina board’s vision to life.”

Eddie Brown, president of My Carolina, called the Alumni Center the physical embodiment of the alumni association’s commitment to alumni and to the university.

“My hope is that the world class Alumni Center we are building will assist us in reaching our ultimate goal of being the best alumni association in the country,” Brown said. “This facility will help us in meeting the goals of our five year strategic plan, which include advocacy, development, alumni relations, alumni engagement and lifelong career development. By doing so, we will play an even bigger role in the growth and success of our university.” 

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