History of the Palmetto College
Established in 1959, USC Lancaster was orginally housed in an old residence in downtown Lancaster. Steady growth soon made it apparent that a larger facility was needed. With excellent community support, a tract of land was acquired in North Lancaster and in 1965 the campus moved to its present site.
Campus life reflects a small college atmosphere. Small classes provide close contact between faculty and students, and individualized instruction is an important part of each day. Located just an hour from Columbia and Charlotte, USC Lancaster is easily accessible for students from several counties in South Carolina and North Carolina.
The Lancaster Campus offers at least the first two years of most of the baccalaureate degree programs. The campus also offers two-year Associate degree programs in Technical Nursing, Criminal Justice and Business.
USC Lancaster seeks to attract outstanding secondary school graduates through academic scholarships and an honors program. A substantial number of evening and Saturday courses are offered to attract and serve the educational needs of non-traditional adult students.
From its beginning in the Fall of 1965 with 76 students and eight part-time faculty, USC Salkehatchie's enrollment rose to over 1,000 undergraduate students in Fall 1992, with more than 40 full-time and part-time faculty members. Growth of the institution is evident in its curriculum and was recognized in June 1973 when USC Salkehatchie was authorized to confer Associate degrees. It is now possible for students unable to attend a 4-year institution to earn a USC Columbia Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies by accumulating 120 hours at Salkehatchie. In 1970, a continuing education program offering non-credit courses began, and in September 1976 an evening academic program was implemented. Courses offered in Walterboro enable residents of that area to complete most of the core curriculum general academic courses required by the University of South Carolina. On May 3, 1990, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education approved awarding of Associate degrees at the Walterboro site.
The Salkehatchie Consortium, comprised of USC Salkehatchie and 17 school districts in 9 counties, serves 2,400 teachers and administrative personnel with graduate courses and staff development activities. An expanded selection of distance education and ETV classes adds to the curriculum.
Since 1965, USC Salkehatchie has provided opportunities in higher education to hundreds of students who otherwise might have missed the chance for a college education. As the campus has grown, so has its educational, cultural and economic impact on the five-county area it serves. USC Salkehatchie expects to continue to play an important role in meeting the needs of a growing population.
Recognizing the need to enhance the educational welfare of their youth, the citizens of Sumter County sought to provide an opportunity for higher learning at an affordable cost. In 1965, by act of the State Legislature, the Sumter County (now Mid-Carolina) Commission on Higher Education was created, and with it the Sumter Campus of Clemson University came into being. Classes were first held during the 1966 Fall Semester. On July 23, 1973, operations of the Sumter campus were transferred from Clemson University to the University of South Carolina.
Student enrollment has increased steadily from the original class of 97 students in 1966, to over 1,000 students today. In the fall of 1978, USC Sumter developed an evening program of courses designed to meet the need of nontraditional students who are able to attend classes only at night. A similar program of courses is also offered for military personnel at nearby Shaw Air Force Base. USC Sumter confers Associate in Arts and Associate in Science degrees. Baccalaureate degree programs in Busniess Administration, Elementary Education, Nursing, and Interdisciplinary Studies have been added through cooperative agreements with the Aiken and Columbia campuses of USC, and Coastal Carolina University.
USC Union was established as a result of local initiative after the Union County Commission for Higher Education was created by an act of the State Legislature in the Spring of 1965. A contract was immediately signed by the Commission with the University of South Carolina, an arrangement which guaranteed University-quality education at a low cost for area students within commuting distance of the campus. Scheduled classes began in September 1965 for the original freshman class of 51 students. Enrollment increased by 31.8 percent the following year, and has continued to climb. Undergraduate enrollment exceeded 300 in the Fall of 1984, and reached 459 in the Fall of 1993.
USC Union offers the first two years of most University curricula, and students completing the campus requirements may change to USC Columbia or any other USC four-year campus, or transfer to any college of their choice. Off-campus courses are offered at Union High School and in nearby Laurens. Extra-curricular activities at the campus include: service organizations; clubs for students interested in art, music, history, biology, hiking, computers, and video; intramural athletic and varsity athletic programs; the Black Student Union; and the Encore Club, a support group for returning adult learners.