President Pastides welcomes students back to USC

It's such a pleasure to be able to say, "Welcome home!" to not only our incoming class of freshmen and transfer students but to the entire student body.  You've been missed.  The Horseshoe has been too quiet, the walkways too deserted and the Russell House too empty.  Patricia and I are looking forward to seeing familiar faces and we are excited to meet our new students and neighbors. I hope this will be your best year yet.

Within hours after the conclusion of the spring semester, skilled carpenters, bricklayers, landscapers and construction workers were on campus working tirelessly through the heat of summer to prepare the university for your arrival.

From the new hybrid zoysia grass on the Horseshoe, to a gorgeous new home for the 1,500 undergraduate and graduate students from the School of Journalism and Mass Communications, to a completely renovated Hamilton — designed especially for our College of Social Work students, to the new private/public apartments located on our west campus, and lots of other new housing choices, all signs point to a wonderful year.

"Welcome home!" to not only our incoming class of freshmen and transfer students but to the entire student body.  You've been missed.  The Horseshoe has been too quiet..."

However, I believe the reason you to came to South Carolina’s only top-tier research university was based on much more than new buildings, landscaping and renovations; it was based on the undeniable fact that we are a University on the move.  As Carolina’s momentum gains national attention, we’ve become a destination of choice, attracting an impressive community of scholars—you.  Our Honors College continues to hold the No. 1 ranking in the nation, and our No.1 undergraduate international business program and international MBA programs are globally recognized.  We have more than 47 nationally ranked programs of study.

As a Carolina Family, we are inspired by the tenets found in the Carolinian Creed.  Our Creed obligates us to be “dedicated to personal and academic excellence.”  We agree to a code of “civilized behavior.”  And we agree to respect the dignity of all persons.  We are here to learn from differences in people, ideas and opinions.  The Creed offers the essence of a university life.  Living up to these high expectations enhances the Carolina experience for all.   

Research tells us that the first six weeks on campus set the tone for the future.  Many of you will be learning how to balance new freedoms with new responsibilities.  Here are a few suggestions: 

  • Stay physically active; activity fosters creativity.  Walk Carolina’s 450 acres and/or visit one of our exceptional wellness and fitness centers.
  • Take advantage of Carolina’s healthy food choices as the foods you select have a big impact on your wellness and success.
  • Finally, get enough sleep. You may smile at this suggestion, but let me remind you that sleep deprivation is a common cause of mental fatigue, emotional duress and even compromised immunity.  

USC Health Services has much to offer our students, faculty and staff.  I encourage you to visit their website where you’ll find everything from information about immunization to counseling for depression to health tips. Sexual assault on campuses nationwide has become a source of great concern.  This fall you will begin to see increased awareness efforts on our campus.  Let me be very clear— sexual assault is any form of sexual contact that occurs without consent and/or through the use of force, threat of force, intimidation, incapacitation or coercion.  It is never tolerated at this university.  In the event of sexual harassment or assault, victims are strongly encouraged to visit the Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention website where resources are immediately available.  

Let’s make pact to look out for each other this year.  As Gamecocks, we have an obligation to stand up and speak out when we see a member of our community engaging in dangerous or risky behavior to themselves or others. Together, we can bring a “shared responsibility” for each other.

I’m so glad that you are here.  This is where you belong. Again, welcome home.