A Historical Note on USC Lancaster
“Formed in Partnership, Forged in Service”
The idea to open a University “extension campus” in Lancaster began in the late 1950s with a group of enthusiastic and energetic Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce members. The Chamber members realized that there were many bright young people from this area whose only barrier to a successful college experience was a lack of financial resources. They were determined to find a way for these students to obtain a higher education.
The Committee for Higher Education, formed by the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce, conducted much of the preliminary work, including a needs and feasibility study. State Sen. Bruce Williams took steps to charter the Lancaster County Commission for Higher Education. The commission was composed of a cross-section of community members, whose first task was to determine which South Carolina university could best meet the needs of Lancaster area students. The commission selected the University of South Carolina.
A partnership was formed between the Lancaster County Commission for Higher Education and the University of South Carolina. The University agreed to take responsibility for academic programs, curriculum, faculty, administration, and student records. Lancaster County agreed to furnish the buildings, physical supplies, library books, and other maintenance needs. In 1959, the doors of the Lancaster Extension Center officially opened. The new extension offered six courses, which were taught by four commuting professors. Fifty students enrolled for the first semester.
Soon the Commission members were hard at work raising funds for a new USC Lancaster campus. The funds were used to purchase a 15-acre tract of land just north of the city of Lancaster and also to construct what was to become Hubbard Hall, the first building on the new Lancaster campus. The new building officially opened in September 1965. During the 1960s, enrollment rose to 250 students, course offerings topped 40, and the USC Lancaster faculty consisted of 15 resident instructors and four commuting instructors. Another expansion occurred in 1969 with the opening of Starr Hall, a building that included administrative offices, classrooms, and a student center. It quickly became a hub for student activities.
The next decade brought many changes to the Lancaster campus. An extensive scholarship program was formed, and efforts were undertaken that resulted in the construction of Medford Library. Completed in 1974, the library housed the University’s extensive collection of books, periodicals, and audiovisual materials and equipment. The late 1970s saw the start of a major fund-raising campaign, leading to the completion of the Gregory Health and Wellness Center in 1981. By 1984, student enrollment topped 800, and undergraduate courses numbered more than 130. Evening classes were expanded, and the faculty grew to include 34 full-time and 24 part-time members.
During the 1990s, USC Lancaster began its largest expansion ever. In 1990, the John Morrison White Clinic, a cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation center, was established through community funding. Plans for a new Arts and Sciences building began in 1992 with the awarding of $2.7 million in state appropriated funds for a new classroom/ auditorium facility. In 1996, Lancaster began its “Building on a Tradition of Excellence” campaign, which raised more than $8 million, the largest amount ever raised by a USC system regional campus, and it culminated in the opening of the James Bradley Arts and Sciences Building in May 2000. In 2003, the campus completed another major building project with the expansion and renovation of Medford Library. In 2005, the buildings and grounds of the former University Baptist Church were donated to USC Lancaster and renovated using funds donated by the Carole Ray Dowling Foundation. In early 2012, the Educational Foundation of USC Lancaster and the City of Lancaster reached an agreement to move the Native American Studies program to Main Street. The extensive Native American Archives and Pottery Collection provides educational programming for students, faculty, visiting scholars, and the general public. In 2017, USC Lancaster celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Native American Studies Center.
USC Lancaster has grown through the years and now serves nearly 1,800 students. A new 40,000-square-foot classroom building opened in August 2014. Founders Hall offers classrooms, faculty offices, and an art studio and gallery and positions the campus to serve more students in the coming years.
In Fall 2018, USC Lancaster opened an extension location in Indian Land, SC in the fast growing panhandle of Lancaster County. The Lancaster campus is approximately 150 acres and includes nearly 300,000 square feet of classroom and office space. USC Lancaster remains true to the original vision set forth in 1959 to provide quality higher education to area residents while increasing service to the community in a manner that benefits all.
Nursing At USC Lancaster
The University of South Carolina Lancaster started efforts in what would later become its nursing program between 1959-60. These efforts grew into a partnership with York Technical College in Rock Hill when on May 5, 1974, the institution began offering certificates and two year nursing degrees. The new program provided more students with access to these degrees and created new collaborations with area hospitals and medical clinics. The first class, pictured on the left, included 20 students from both regions.
In 2007, USC Lancaster partnered with USC’s College of Nursing in Columbia to offer a four-year Bachelors of Science in Nursing degree. This collaboration offers students the chance to complete their degrees at USCL through a 2+2 program—two years as a USCL student, plus two years taking classes through the College of Nursing at USCL. The first class graduated from this partnership in 2010.
In August 2015, USC Lancaster opened the nursing simulation lab in support of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program. This lab allows USC Lancaster to educate professional nurses at the highest level.
USC Lancaster’s two collaborative nursing programs (ADN and BSN) have been ranked in the top 2 programs in South Carolina. Follow this link for details: https://www.registerednursing.org/state/south-carolina/#rankings
Collections On Campus
Native American Studies at USC Lancaster: Reflections of the Past 14 Years
Dr. Stephen Criswell and Brittany Taylor-Driggers
Native American Studies at USCL began in 2005 with the development of curricula and programs focused on Native American cultural traditions. This was the first, and currently the only, scholarly and academic effort of its kind in South Carolina. With strong geographical and historical ties to the Catawba, USC Lancaster developed curricular and public programs focused on Native American art and culture, with a special emphasis on Native communities in South Carolina. USCL faculty members have taught courses in American Indian history, American Indian literature and culture, Native American archaeology, folklore, anthropology, and oral traditions, along with offering internships in the Archives, the Archaeology Lab, and the Special Collections to students around the state on campus and through the USC Palmetto Programs two-way video system.
The scholarly foundation and catalyst of this program, the Thomas J. Blumer Catawba Research Collection, was donated to USCL in 2003 providing the campus with over 150 hours of interviews with Catawba potters and other tradition bearers, as well as hundreds of photos related to Catawba pottery, history, and culture. These materials, collected by the donor over a 40-year period, form the single largest documentary collection of materials about the Catawba in existence. The archive created to house this collection, now includes approximately 25 hours of additional interviews conducted by NAS faculty and USCL students, and ten additional collections—such as, the Early Fred Sanders collection and the Rosemary Clark Whitlock collection—totaling over 400 linear feet of information.
Scholarly collections in art (2006-present) and archaeology (2013-present) were created to offer different resources and information to the community, students, and researchers. The NAS Special Collections has grown to include 1,600+ items within sixteen different groupings—such as, the Bauer, the Robbins, the Griener, the Goins, and the Lindsay Pettus collections. The focus of these collections is on contemporary Native American art, early 1900’s to present, with a heavy concentration on Catawba pottery during this time period. The collections continue to grow and fill gaps within our scope while expanding to include genres of painting, drawing, basket making, and quilting. The Pre-Contact Archaeological Collections from the NASC Archaeology Lab has grown to include four collections-- the Andee and Frank Steen Collection, the Robert Costello Collection, the Fred H. Shute Collection, and the James E. Harris Collection --totaling 151.25 linear feet of artifacts that represent multiple sites within South Carolina. The Andee and Frank Steen Collection, the largest of these collections totaling 86.25 linear feet, represents seventy-five recorded sites in Lancaster, Kershaw and Chester Counties, SC. The James E. Harris Collection compliments the Steen collection with 1.25 linear feet from sites along Catawba River in York and Lancaster Counties SC. The Robert Costello Collection, the second largest at 62.5 linear feet, represents sites eroding along the eastern shore of Lake Marion --formerly Santee River. The Fred H. Shute Collection represents the Harrison's Mound, which is now under Lake Wateree, with 1.25 linear feet of specimens recovered by scuba diving.
Over the last fourteen years, Native American Studies has continued to grow and expand its outreach, opening the Native American Studies Center downtown Lancaster in 2012. The Center houses the NAS archives, archaeology collections, and special collections along with providing classes, internships, public lectures, community events, and exhibits. One of the oldest annual events hosted by NAS is Native American Studies Week, a series of events celebrating local Native American history and culture. As of this year the Center has opened its doors to 52,193 visitors from 43 of the 46 SC counties, 47 of the 50 States, 2 of the 16 US territories, and 31 of 195 world countries.
USC Lancaster’s Fossil Collection
In April of 2009 Judy Powell donated a fossil collection of 100+ pieces to the University of South Carolina Lancaster. Mrs. Rowell and her father, D.W. McCormack, collected these fossils from the water ways of South Carolina from Little River to the Edisto Beach area.
The collection contains casts, imprints, and fossilized tissues or marine fossils that may be as old as 45 million years and as resent as 4 million years ago.
In 2020, this collection will be housed at the Native American Studies Center.
Our Health & Wellness
Community health has long been a part of USCL’s history, either in ways to enhance the student experience on campus or the quality of life for citizens of Lancaster County.
From 1974 until 2005 the USCL Child Development Center provided unique educational experiences for local children, ages two to four years old, as an alternative to daycare prior to attending Kindergarten. In 2005, the Lancaster County School District took over the program.
In 1981, the Gregory Health and Wellness Center opened. The Wellness Center was created to serve the health and fitness needs of the greater community as well as those of USC Lancaster students. Today, this center is the Gregory Family YMCA.
In c.1988, the John Morrison White Clinic, a cardio-pulmonary rehabilitation center, was established through community funding. This multi-purpose facility was furnished with equipment through the Morrison Textile Machinery Company. This Center also housed a cancer rehabilitation clinic from 2012 until 2014.
The Diabetes Education Clinic, c.2005—2014, focused on exercise and nutrition. The J. Marion Sims Foundation, the clinics creator, was a funding partner during its time at USCL.
The Dr. W.L. Mc Dow Physical Therapy Clinic, c.2002 – 2014, helped patients with any physical issues ranging from chronic pain to mild sports injuries, while also providing massage and speech therapy.
Today, with community health and wellness in mind, USC Lancaster is an “Open Campus” offering the community access to campus spaces without a student ID. Laps for Lancers, which started in 2015, offers 5k and 10k options for the community as an annual “fun run fundraiser” while Student Life sponsors events highlighting current issues and needs for “work-life balance.” Some of these events include goat yoga and free massages for students, staff, and faculty.
Lactation Room leads to award for Campus
In 2017, USC Lancaster was designated as a Mother Friendly Employer by the South Carolina Breastfeeding Coalition.
Image: Yoga Class at the Gregory Family YMCA led by Instructor Lindsay Richardson, photo by Shana Dry
USC Lancaster Athletics
USC Lancaster has a long and storied history with athletics. From our early days with basketball and golf in the 1960s and 1970s to our resurrection of athletics in 2007 with men’s golf and women’s soccer. Rick Porter played basketball at USC Lancaster from 1963 to 1965. Related to his experience, he noted, “When I went to USCL in 1963, most of our classes were held in a large house in downtown Lancaster donated by the T.W. Williams family. The classes were small, and we got to know the professors very well. It was a great atmosphere. We had tennis, baseball and basketball teams. The basketball team won the conference basketball championship both years that I attended USCL. Many of my classmates went on to become teachers, legislators, small business owners, lawyers, bankers, and school principals. It was a great place to be in 1963 and a great place to be today.”
Today, the Lancers compete in baseball, men’s and women’s soccer, and women’s volleyball in the National Junior College Athletic Association and have seen much success over the last twelve years. In 2013, the USCL Golf team traveled to Lubbock, Texas and finished 13th in the Division I National Championship. This was the best finish ever for the team in its seven-year history.
At the end of the Spring 2014 season, the baseball team was named an NJCAA All-Academic Team.
The Women’s volleyball team wrapped up an impressive Fall 2016 with a 10-win season and a trip to the Region X Tournament that was held at the Wake Technical Community College Campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. In 2016, two Lancers baseball players were ranked nationally in the NJCAA. Cross Holfert (outfield) led the nation in homeruns and Tyler Ackard (outfield/1B) was fifth in the nation in stolen bases.
The men’s soccer team posted its best overall record in Fall 2017 with nine wins, and the team defeated Cape Fear Community College for the first time in program history. The baseball team ended their 2017 season as regular season champs.
Baseball player, Derek Sivec, has been very happy with his time on the team and at USC Lancaster: “Being a student athlete at USCL has been some of the best years of my life. It’s great being a part of something bigger than myself. Here at USCL, it doesn’t feel like a team, it feels like a family.”
Along with performance on the field, the athletics department places special emphasis on student-athlete community service and players have volunteered for local Special Olympics events and with the Dream Team Foundation which provides a free activities program for children with special needs in Lancaster.
Image: USCL Baseball player, photo by Kim Truett