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USC Connect

GLD Cording Ceremony

Graduation with Leadership Distinction

Advancing leadership is an important component of USC’s role as South Carolina's flagship university and its dedication to educating the future leaders of the state, the nation and the world.

Students who earn Graduation with Leadership Distinction demonstrate extensive, purposeful engagement beyond the classroom; understanding of course concepts in “real world” settings; and application of learning to make decisions and solve problems: cornerstones of USC Connect.


This formal distinction honors the broader scope of achievements for students engaged within and beyond the classroom and sets them apart in ways worthy of recognition by others (e.g., potential employers, graduate schools). Students are recognized with graduation cords and the distinction appears on graduates’ transcripts and diplomas as Graduation with Leadership Distinction in (Experience Pathway Name).


Students can earn Graduation with Leadership Distinction if they meet the requirements, graduate with an associate or baccalaureate degree in any major from USC Columbia, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter or Union and have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or greater.

GLD Orientation

The first step in pursuing Graduation with Leadership Distinction is completing the GLD Orientation


Students are encouraged to meet with a GLD Advisor as soon as they consider pursuing GLD. Students will be encouraged to think about and discuss numerous possibilities to engage in purposeful activities year to year and make meaning of those experiences along the way. You can sign up under Involvement and Engagement for one of two types of meetings:

GLD Introductory Meeting:
To gain awareness of the GLD process in anticipation of pursuing GLD during your USC academic career. Meeting covers one or more of the following: identification of resources, questions about the orientation or application process.

GLD E-portfolio Meeting: (only for seniors or those completing their e-portfolio)
To ask questions in order to advance your current e-portfolio content and to further your understanding of GLD. Meeting covers one or more of the following: identifying specific within and beyond the classroom experiences for e-portfolio content, articulation of experiences through e-portfolio sections (written elements and/or artifact selection).