In the heart of South Carolina, U.S.A., the University of South Carolina is a major research university where students prepare to be tomorrow’s leaders, creative problem solvers and innovative thinkers.
The Palmetto State established South Carolina College — the precursor to the University of South Carolina — on Dec. 19, 1801, as part of an effort to unite South Carolinians in the wake of the American Revolution. South Carolina’s leaders saw the new college as a way to promote “the good order and harmony” of the state.
The founding of South Carolina College was also a part of the Southern public college movement spurred by Thomas Jefferson. Within 20 years of one another, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia established state-supported colleges.
In the antebellum era, the Palmetto State generously supported South Carolina College. The institution featured a cosmopolitan faculty, including such noted European scholars as Francis Lieber and Thomas Cooper, as well as renowned American scholars John and Joseph LeConte. Offering a traditional classical curriculum, South Carolina College became one of the most influential colleges in the South before 1861, earning a reputation as the training ground for South Carolina’s antebellum elite.