July 15 marks 100 years of incorporation of the University of South Carolina Alumni Association. Previous groups existed before 1920 but we are celebrating this milestone in the history of the Association.
The Association can trace its roots back to the year 1846. The graduates of that year met after commencement and agreed to establish a series of reunion dinners. The first reunion was held in 1851. At South Carolina College's semi-centennial celebration in 1854, an Alumni Association was formed with the Honorable John L. Manning as president. The class of 1846 held its ten-year reunion in 1856, but the Civil War prevented the 1861 gathering.
In 1880, the class of 1846 held another reunion and called for increased support of higher education in the state, thereby setting the stage for today’s advocacy efforts. These South Carolina College graduates planned a revival of the Alumni Association and one year later, graduates from several classes assembled at the State House to form an official association. Former governor John L. Manning was again named president.
Through the remainder of the nineteenth century, the Alumni Association was an organization of only two to three hundred graduates whose primary activity was to gather at annual meetings.
The Alumni Association of the University of South Carolina was reincorporated on July 15, 1920 by the S.C. Secretary of State as an eleemosynary organization. The name was changed to the Greater University of South Carolina Alumni Association in March 1976. The purpose of the Association was "to promote the general education interest of the State of South Carolina, to make it more and more a potent influence and agency in the education policy of the State."
Now, in addition to the State impact, the Association also has a nationwide presence and works to connect students and alumni to advance their careers, their passions and their University of South Carolina. Throughout these 100 years under the current charter, the Association has established student scholarships, formed an alumni advocacy network, added diverse affinity councils to represent more Gamecocks, kept alumni engaged through nationwide clubs, created a physical home for alumni with the Pastides Alumni Center and much more. Below are just some of the milestones that happened in these 100 years.
1927 – First Alumni Award given
1978 – Garnet Circle Student Alumni Council was founded
1978 - Young Alumni Council was founded
1980 – Black Alumni Council was founded
1983 – First Richard T. Greener Scholarship award given
1988 - Legacy Scholarship began
1999 – First Ring Ceremony in Rutledge Chapel
2015 – Alumni Center opened its doors
2016 – Veterans Alumni Council was formed
2018 – Alumni Center named in honor of Dr. Harris Pastides
Quite simply, there’s a lot to celebrate through a variety of innovative programs, activities and services focused on alumni, students and supporters of the university.
Now we’re looking ahead to how we can better serve the university and all Gamecocks. Some of the initiatives you can expect include a virtual mentorship hub to connect students and alumni with Gamecocks who share their interests and professional goals, more online alumni events, more alumni clubs throughout the country and a refreshed membership program.
To do all this, the Alumni Association is powered by the support of our members. Membership allows us to engage more students, host more alumni events and programs and build the brand of the University of South Carolina around the world. The Association is home for all Gamecocks, regardless of your South Carolina experience and membership connects Gamecocks bound by fierce loyalty and enthusiastic pride.
Here's to another 100 years engaging alumni, supporting students and strengthening our beloved university!
Do you have a special memory of the UofSC Alumni Association? Share it with us on social media using the hashtag #UofSCAlumni and we’ll share our favorites.