Recent Stories

man with red tie, black coat, baseball cap standing with granite marker

UofSC civil rights center unveils historical marker commemorating landmark protest

March 03, 2021, Carol J.G. Ward

The Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina unveiled a historical marker on March 2 to commemorate the courage of hundreds of students who marched on the South Carolina State House 60 years ago. Many of the students were arrested, and the appeal of their convictions eventually was heard by the U.S. Supreme Court, leading to a legal precedent protecting the rights of protesters.

Richard T. Greener statue at thomas cooper library

Monuments, markers tell stories of pain and progress

February 19, 2021, CJ Lake

In recent years, the University of South Carolina has taken steps to better acknowledge its whole history, knowing that being honest about the past will build a better, more inclusive future. Here is a look back at ways the university has celebrated Carolinians who have contributed to our progress and who will shape our university's future for generations to come.

artist rendering of mohammed dajani standing beside a railroad switching station

Dajani's cave

February 09, 2021, Craig Brandhorst

In 2014, Mohammed Dajani, longtime professor at Jerusalem’s al-Quds University, took 27 Palestinian college students to Auschwitz, the Nazi concentration near Krakow, Poland. He wanted them to confront the Holocaust, which he believes is downplayed in Palestinian schools, and to consider the complicated history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict from multiple perspectives. The backlash would cost him his job and endanger his life. It would also embolden his commitment to reconciliation.

Remembering the Days generic image

Remembering the Days: Seeing Stars, the university's 3 observatories

February 02, 2021, Chris Horn

Nearly 150 years before the original Star Trek TV series came to be, South Carolina College built its first observatory to boldly go where no one had — wait, it wasn't that dramatic! But that 1817 observatory made way for another campus observatory building in 1852 and still another in 1928. That last one, the Melton Memorial Observatory, is still going strong today, offering spectacular views of the night-time skies on clear Monday evenings.

Remembering the Days podcast art

Remembering the Days: Dress Codes and Curfews

November 23, 2020, Chris Horn

Dress codes and curfews persisted at the University of South Carolina until well into the 1960s, but in the waning years were mainly focused on female students. Kit Smith, a 1967 graduate, recalls the dire consequences of returning to campus 15 minutes late. 

Remembering the Days generic image

Remembering the Days: Pranking the Tiger

November 19, 2020, Chris Horn

The Carolina-Clemson football game of 1961 was a close game that ended with an exciting goal-line stand, but this story is about what took place before the game ever started — what’s been hailed as one of the best pranks ever pulled in the history of college football.

flappers from the 1920s

The Roaring '20s -- America and UofSC a century ago

October 12, 2020, Chris Horn

It’s often referred to as the Roaring ‘20s — the third decade of the 20th century that’s generally associated with prosperity, Prohibition, jazz music and flappers. It’s also the theme of this year’s virtual Homecoming at the University of South Carolina, which takes place Oct. 16-18. In the spirit of that celebration, here’s a look back at what life was like in America and at the university a century ago.

artwork depicting scrapbook like images

Remembering the Days: The Roaring '20s

September 29, 2020, Chris Horn

Remembering the Days podcast Episode 14: What was it like in America and on the Carolina campus a hundred years ago during the Roaring '20s? Contrary to popular belief, not everyone was having a roaring good time, but that memorable decade brought lasting change to the university and the nation. 

detail of Richard Greener statue

Presidential Commission re-examines university's complex history

September 19, 2020, Chris Horn

When President Bob Caslen established the Presidential Commission on University History last year, he tasked it with leading a research effort “into the complex history of the university.” That task is every bit as challenging as one might expect for an institution whose nearly 220-year history was shaped first by the antebellum South, the Civil War and decades of state-sponsored racial segregation.

graphic collage with historic image and newspaper clippings

Podcast Episode 12: Mighty Oaks of the Horseshoe

September 09, 2020

What began as "a wilderness of lofty pines and wild shrubs" in the early 1800s became a refined college quadrangle now known as the Horseshoe. Join us for a short walk among these shady trees — and learn how you can have your very own piece of this paradise.

Mary Gordon Ellis portrait

100 years of suffrage: After the vote, comes an era of 'firsts'

August 20, 2020, Page Ivey

South Carolina’s few but dedicated suffragists were no doubt disappointed that the state was not among the first 36 to ratify the 19th amendment, but they almost immediately set about the business of turning their suffrage organizations into education and advocacy groups. In the process, these bold women kicked off the era of “firsts.”

women with banners stand by a monument in Washington D.C. in 1918 to advocate for women's suffrage

100 years of suffrage

August 06, 2020, Page Ivey

The month of August marks 100 years since the ratification of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote in the United States. South Carolina women were a part of the fight for suffrage that started here in the years after the Civil War. Historians and librarians at the University of South Carolina have played a major role in documenting and preserving their stories.

the maxcy monument on the UofSC horseshoe surround by green trees

College of Arts and Sciences offers a semester of justice

July 09, 2020, Annika Dahlgren

This fall, the College of Arts and Sciences begins its new themed semester initiative that encourages faculty and students from across the university to explore ideas related to the core subject of justice. The theme is meant to combine work from the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural and mathematical sciences to bear on today's challenging issues and problems.

1960s civil rights protestor carries signs denouncing segregation

Carving a path toward justice: Part 3

June 05, 2020, Chris Horn

Bobby Donaldson is an associate professor of history and African American Studies and director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina. In a three-part question-and-answer series, Donaldson presents both his scholarly insights and his personal perspective as they relate to protests over the death of George Floyd.

Bobby Donaldson

Carving a path toward justice: Part 2

June 05, 2020, Chris Horn

Bobby Donaldson is an associate professor of history and African American Studies and director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina. In a three-part question-and-answer series, Donaldson presents both his scholarly insights and his personal perspective as they relate to protests over the death of George Floyd.

Martin Luther King speaks in Charleston in 1967

Carving a path toward justice: Part 1

June 05, 2020, Chris Horn

Bobby Donaldson is an associate professor of history and African American Studies and director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research at the University of South Carolina. In a three-part question-and-answer series, Donaldson presents both his scholarly insights and his personal perspective as they relate to protests over the death of George Floyd.

ruins of the lumber mill that are now visible on the shores of Lake Marion

Class of 2020: Honors senior's thesis project explores history of a former SC mill town

May 07, 2020, Carol J.G. Ward

When 89-year-old Richard Mims was just a boy in the 1930s, he remembers playing a game he called “Executive” in the abandoned offices of the Santee River Cypress Lumber Co. in Ferguson near his hometown of Eutawville, South Carolina. The once-thriving mill town now lies underwater, part of the region flooded to create Lake Marion. Mims shared his memories in an oral history recorded by South Carolina Honors College graduate Caldwell Loftis.

collage with historic image and newspaper clippings

Podcast Episode 7: Co-ed campus

April 28, 2020

For the past 40 years, women have outnumbered men in the University of South Carolina's student body. But the history of women on campus goes back to the institution's beginning, long before women were even allowed to attend. 

archival image of student protests in May 1970

50 years of May

April 27, 2020, Craig Brandhorst

A half century ago, against the backdrop of the Vietnam War and seismic shifts in American culture, the campus of the University of South Carolina became a battleground — between students and the administration, between a young generation and the establishment, between radically different worldviews. But the dramatic events of that spring, which came to be known as The Months of May, weren’t strictly destructive. The lessons of that era also changed lives and changed the university itself.

artwork depicting various campus pranks including a turkey and a green horse

Podcast Episode 6: 19th century campus pranks

April 14, 2020

Painting the college president's horse green, removing wooden steps from the only building on campus, serenading professors with tin pans — those were just some of the pranks that students pulled at South Carolina College in the 19th century. Campus archivist Elizabeth West explains why those free-spirited students often rebelled against the puritanical rules imported from New England colleges.

booker t washington auditorium building

Popular UofSC civil rights exhibit will have a permanent home

April 09, 2020, Carol J.G. Ward

The university will continue rehabilitation and preservation of the Booker T. Washington Auditorium Building to create a permanent space for the Center for Civil Rights History and Research’s exhibit “Justice for All: South Carolina and the American Civil Rights Movement.” Funded with a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service, the restoration will advance efforts to create a destination for people to learn the history of Columbia and of the school.

artwork depicting historic images of campus

Podcast Episode 5: Looking for Jack

March 31, 2020, Chris Horn

The history of enslaved people at South Carolina College — the precursor of today's University of South Carolina — is a difficult one to tell. But research has brought to light the names of many of those individuals, and the university is acknowledging the vital role they played in the college's early days. Here's the story of one of those enslaved workers — a man named Jack.

artwork depicting historic admissions requirements

Podcast Episode 4: Getting in, admission standards then and now

March 17, 2020, Chris Horn

How difficult was it to get admitted to the University of South Carolina in 1897? At that time, regrettably, only white students were admitted. Students also had to know grammar, geography, algebra, history — and Latin and Greek! Admission standards at the university have varied in the past two centuries. The bar for admission is a lot different than it was in 1897, but it guarantees that those who get in are ready to succeed.

Julia Whitehead

UofSC alumna Julia Whitehead makes writer Kurt Vonnegut's legacy more accessible than ever

February 25, 2020, Craig Brandhorst

Indiana native Kurt Vonnegut, who died in 2007, was one of the country’s most celebrated writers, authoring such classics as Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions. But there was no place devoted to celebrating his work — until UofSC alumna Julia Whitehead got involved. Whitehead founded the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library in 2011. Last year, the museum moved to a new space in downtown Indianapolis.

newspaper clippings showing the historical images of the wall being built around the horseshoe

Podcast Episode 2: The Great Wall of Carolina

February 18, 2020, Chris Horn

It's nearly seven feet tall, 3,000 feet long and is made of 160,000 bricks. And it's older than half of the buildings on the University of South Carolina's historic Horseshoe. It's the campus wall, a structure that never succeeded in its original purpose — keeping mischievous 19th century students on campus. But during one tumultuous night in 1865, the wall very likely saved the campus from a fire that consumed one-third of the surrounding city.

iwo jima medical

75 years later, film collection enriches history of WWII

February 18, 2020, Carol J.G. Ward

The University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collections in a partnership with the History Division of the Marine Corps is digitizing films shot by more than 50 Marine combat cameramen during the Battle of Iwo Jima, which began Feb. 19, 1945. The goal is to provide public access to the video and expand historical understanding.

newspaper clippings

Podcast Episode 1: Why are we Gamecocks?

February 04, 2020, Chris Horn

Of all the mascots the University of South Carolina might have chosen, how did the gamecock — a feisty bird that relishes a scuffle — get the nod? It all goes back to the aftermath of a football game in 1902 in which Carolina students nearly came to deadly blows with their in-state rival.

Skyline with the USC smoke stack and downtown Columbia buildings

Campus, city thrive together through decades of change

October 22, 2019, Communications and Public Affairs staff

From growth and innovation on campus to an increasingly bustling city life, the university and the city are thriving together in a symbiotic relationship. In many cases, it’s South Carolina alumni themselves who are leading change in the city as entrepreneurs and community leaders.

University 101

The nation's top first-year experience program had its roots in campus unrest

October 03, 2019, Megan Sexton

University 101 started as a trial course in 1972, following a student riot on campus in 1970. Forty-seven years later, the course is being taught to 80 percent of incoming freshmen, helping them adjust to college life and learn about all the university has to offer.

Wonder Woman

Telling the American story -- through comics

September 30, 2019, Carol J.G. Ward and Joshua Burrack

With a massive donation of comics from Gary Lee Watson in the spring of 2019, the University of South Carolina is becoming an intellectual center for the study of 20th century popular culture. “The acquisition has made the Irvin department one of the nation's top public repositories of comic books, positioning the University of South Carolina as a premier institution for comics studies,” says Elizabeth Sudduth, associate dean for special collections in University Libraries.

New music explores Confederate monuments

'Red Hot Sun Turning Over'

March 26, 2019, Megan Sexton

A new composition, "Red Hot Sun Turning Over," by School of Music assistant professor David Garner uses music, sounds and images from the Civil War era and the early 20th century to explore the story of Confederate monuments. It will be premiered Sunday (March 31) at the Koger Center.

bates house drawing

10 floors up and a mile away

March 19, 2019, Craig Brandhorst

When Mel Wright came to the University of South Carolina in the fall of 1969, he had a choice: Sign up for one of the older dormitories in the heart of campus — near Russell House, near the Horseshoe, near just about everything — or move into a 10-story high rise a mile down the road.

Paul Morella as Clarence Darrow

In his words

February 07, 2019, Dana Woodward

In the one-man production, “A Passion for Justice: An Encounter with Clarence Darrow,” actor Paul Morella portrays a selection of Darrow’s most dynamic arguments. The show takes place Feb. 11 at the Karen J. Williams Courtroom in the UofSC School of Law.

MLK Weekend at UofSC

The beloved community

January 17, 2019, Dana Woodward

The University of South Carolina’s MLK Weekend event series culminates Sunday, Jan. 20, with Freedom Rings, an artistic celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and legacy. The university partnered with the Columbia nonprofit Auntie Karen Foundation to bring together Midlands musicians, artists and spoken word performers to honor the civil rights leader in an event designed to bring the audience to its feet.

War Memorial garden

A century of remembrance

November 09, 2018, Chris Horn

Carolina recently relocated a group of granite-and-bronze markers that memorialize 28 students and alumni who died during World War I and the Mexican border dispute. Thirteen markers have been placed on the front lawn of the War Memorial Building (Sumter at Pendleton), and plans call for installation of 15 more to replace markers that were lost decades ago.

horseshoe in 1905

Then and Now: Campus changes, history remains

October 01, 2018, Craig Brandhorst

From the historic Horseshoe to Gibbes Green to the Thomas Cooper Library reflecting pool, parts of the University of South Carolina campus can sometimes feel timeless, like students have been walking the same pathways forever. But as associate professor of architectural history Lydia Mattice Brandt explains, even the historic campus core has changed over time — and in some very surprising ways.

Richard T. Greener

Larger than life

February 22, 2018, Chris Horn

Richard T. Greener’s larger-than-life story is one of academic achievement, professional success and civic service, played out mostly in the tumultuous years after the Civil War. It’s a story of firsts — in addition to being USC’s first black professor, Greener was also Harvard’s first black graduate and America’s first black diplomat to a country of white citizenry.

karate kids

The karate kids

December 04, 2017, Chris Horn

The martial arts craze of the 1970s had hundreds of students signing up for Carolina's karate course. Many of those students including Keith Vitali and his younger brother, Steve, competed successfully in tournaments around the country, making Columbia and the University of South Carolina an important center of karate competition.

First Lady Patricia Moore-Pastides holding her new book

Home on the Horseshoe

October 30, 2017, Megan Sexton

A new book by first lady Patricia Moore-Pastides shares what life is like inside one of the most recognizable buildings on campus. “At Home in the Heart of the Horseshoe: Life in the University of South Carolina President’s House,” offers a look at the first families and their memories of the home, along with some history of the house and photographs of the home and gardens. There are even a few recipes for entertaining and photos of floral arrangement designs.

Lava flows in the Galapagos

Gamecocks in the Galápagos

October 16, 2017, Allen Wallace

For the second year in a row, UofSC is taking students to one of the rarest classrooms in the world: the Galapagos Islands. The cross-disciplinary study abroad program offers diverse lessons, but the overarching theme is sustainability.

USMC Film Repository's new home opens

May 26, 2017, John Brunelli

University President Harris Pastides and Thomas McNally, dean of University Libraries dedicate the John S. Davis Scanning Center and the Lt. Col. James H. Davis Film Vault at the Libraries' Moving Image Research Collections. The MIRC facility is the new home of the U.S. Marine Corps Film Repository that chronicles the corps from the 1940s to the 1970s.

American cemetery in Normandy

Remembering D-Day through film and stories

May 23, 2017, Megan Sexton

D-Day will be marked in early June with parades and commemorations along the beaches in northern France. University of South Carolina alumnus Wade Sellers will be there, too, on the independent filmmaker’s third trip to the French coast. This time, he’ll be screening the film he directed and edited, “Return to Normandy,” in the primetime slot at the Normandy-World War II International Film Festival.

University High collection

Collecting memories with a microphone

May 18, 2017, Kathy Henry Dowell, University Libraries

Rebecca Borovsky was a student in Evolution of American Higher Education assigned to do something she had never done before: interview, record, transcribe and make available the memories of a University High graduate, a high school previously held in the Wardlaw College as a laboratory school and training ground for teachers.