Veterans Transform University and Student Population
South Carolina as an institution has been transformed by veteran students. In 1944, toward the end of World War II, the student body included 21 veterans. Between spring 1945 and fall 1947, enrollment ballooned from 1,420 students to 4,614 — a 225 percent increase in just 2 and a half years. In 1947, 66 percent of the student body was former military — including 44 women.
The university enrolled more World War II veterans than any other college in South
Carolina. The Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944 — also called the GI Bill of Rights or GI
Bill — made college accessible for many more South Carolinians.
Milestones in Military History
1860: South Carolina College closes during the Civil War.
1862: All students at the college volunteer for service on March 8, and confederate authorities take possession of college buildings and convert them into a hospital.
1865: The Union army takes possession of the college on May 24.
1866: The college reopens as a university.
1914-18: During World War I, the majority of students participated in the university's ROTC program, which later became the Student Army Training Corps. After the war, the corps and, later, the ROTC program disbanded.
1935: The World War Memorial Building is dedicated to the soldiers of South Carolina who served and died in World War I. It was paid for by private subscription and a federal grant from the Public Works Administration.
1940-1944: The university operates during World War II at full capacity after transforming into a Naval school including a V-5 Navy Flight Preparatory School, a Civil Aeronautics Administration-War Training Service program and a V-12 Navy College Training Program.
1947: With more than 4,500 students, enrollment has ballooned, and there are more veterans at South Carolina than students before the war. Veteran enrollment peaked postwar at 2,743.
Mid-1950s: A second wave of veteran enrollment begins after the Korean War.
1972: The university's on-base Fort Jackson Program begins.
2012: The Student Veterans Association forms.
2014: South Carolina earns the first of many Military Friendly School designations by Victory Media Inc.
2016: The Veterans Alumni Council forms.
2018: Thirteen of an original group of 28 markers honoring university students and alumni who died during World War I and the Mexican border dispute are relocated to the front lawn of the War Memorial Building. Additional markers will be reproduced and installed later.
2019: The University of South Carolina School of Law establishes the Veterans Law Clinic.