Recent Stories

Artist's rendition of ancient buildings made of mudbricks with explosion in sky

A giant space rock demolished an ancient Middle Eastern city and everyone in it

September 21, 2021, Christopher Moore

About 3,600 years ago, a giant space rock exploded in a massive fireball in the atmosphere above an ancient Middle Eastern city. The explosion destroyed the city, killing its 8,000 inhabitants and setting off a massive shockwave that ripped through the city and surrounding areas. University of South Carolina archaeologist Christopher Moore and his colleagues explain for The Conversation how they know how this actually happened near the Dead Sea in Jordan thousands of years ago.

Remembering the Days podcast art

Remembering the Days: Harry Walker, the underdog who won

September 03, 2021, Chris Horn

When students at the University of South Carolina elected a new Student Government president in 1971, the event made national news. That's because, just eight years after the university was desegregated, an African American student won the election, riding a wave of support from white and black students who were tired of the 'establishment' and 'the system.'

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Remembering the Days: If it ain't swaying, we ain't playing

August 23, 2021, Chris Horn

When the Gamecocks take to the football field every fall, Williams-Brice Stadium roars with the full-throated spirit of 80,000-plus diehard fans, a battalion of marching band members, cheerleaders, baton twirlers and dancers and a hyperkinetic mascot, Cocky. It’s a far cry from the first football game played on the University of South Carolina campus in 1898 when a few hundred fans huddled on simple wooden bleachers beside a field situated where the Russell House Student Union now stands.

archival image of marjorie weber sitting at a desk in education classroom circa 1969

Gamecock family affair

August 23, 2021, Savannah Bennett

Marjorie Weber was a widow in her 40s when she decided to return to college to earn her teaching degree from the University of South Carolina where her late husband had been an education professor. She also served as a starting point for a string of family members attending South Carolina, including a granddaughter and two great-granddaughters, who are current education students. They are among the hundreds of students who follow family members to become Gamecocks each year. 

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Remembering the Days: What's in a name?

August 09, 2021, Chris Horn

Since its inception more than 200 years ago, the University of South Carolina has had three different names and several nicknames. But Juliet was right — that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.

Film character Lady of Guadalupe in pink and lace dress and blue shawl over her head

'Lady of Guadalupe' avoids tough truths

June 14, 2021, Rebecca Janzen

The film “Lady of Guadalupe” available on many streaming services, mixes a fictional retelling of the 16th-century appearance of the Virgin Mary to a Mexican peasant named Juan Diego with the tale of a wholly fictional 21st-century reporter. Professor of Spanish and comparative literature Rebecca Janzen writes in The Conversation although the film portrays the story of the Virgin of Guadalupe for a broad audience, ultimately itsanitizes the real-life brutality of the Church toward Indigenous peoples in the 16th century.

Allie Trice will attend graduate school at Oxford thanks to the Barry Scholarship

English, history graduate is first UofSC recipient of Barry Scholarship to study at Oxford

June 14, 2021, Page Ivey

Allie Trice was an outstanding undergraduate student at the University of South Carolina, excelling in class and conducting publishable research. But a dedication to the pursuit of truth is even more important for the university’s first recipient of the Barry Scholarship, which opened the door to graduate school at the University of Oxford.

Ten soldiers pose beside a plane in a World War II archive photo.

Documenting UofSC alumni who made the ultimate sacrifice

May 27, 2021, Megan Sexton

James Hull works in the Office of Veterans and Military Services at the University of South Carolina, certifying veteran education benefits for students. He also has taken on a project that combines both his love of history and his military service: Documenting every UofSC student or alumni who died while serving in uniform over the past 120 years.

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Remembering the Days: Heading east

May 20, 2021, Chris Horn

The University of South Carolina experienced enormous enrollment growth in the 1960s and began expanding its campus in several directions. Its move eastward into the University Hill neighborhood greatly expanded the campus footprint, but also stirred tensions with the residents when construction on the high-rise Capstone House began.

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Remembering the Days: Tales from the President's House, part 1

April 19, 2021, Chris Horn

The President's House on the historic Horseshoe has been home to every university president since 1952. Patricia Moore-Pastides, who lived in the house as university first lady for 11 years, talked with the now-grown children of those former presidents to find out what life was like for them during their years in the President's House.

Friendship 9 students who protested against racial discrimination and were put in prison, Rock Hill, South Carolina, February 1961

'Our ultimate choice is desegregation or disintegration' - recovering the lost words of a jailed civil rights strategist

April 14, 2021, Bobby J. Donaldson and Christopher Frear

In 1961, a group that would come to be known as the “Friendship Nine” hoped to reinvigorate the sit-in movement with a “Jail, No Bail” strategy to push the costs of enforcing segregation onto the city, rather than onto civil rights supporters, who paid substantial bail fees every time students were arrested. Bobby Donaldson, history professor and director of the Center for Civil Rights History and Research, writes about the strategy and a 60-year-old letter by activist Thomas Gaither – arrested with the Friendship Nine during a sit-in in Rock Hill, South Carolina – deep in a records box in the South Caroliniana Library.

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Remembering the Days: Born a slave -- Matilda Pinckney's story

April 01, 2021, Chris Horn

In the long history of schoolteachers in South Carolina, Matilda Pinckney's story stands out. Born a slave on the historic Horseshoe at the University of South Carolina, Pinckney was later trained at a Normal School on the university campus and would go on to a 30-plus year career as an educator. 

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Remembering the Days: Books before buildings

March 22, 2021, Chris Horn

From its founding in the early 19th century, the University of South Carolina was keenly interested in building a library collection to properly educate its students. Since then, the library's holdings have become a treasure trove that includes rare books and special collections that attract scholars from around the world.

image from 19th century painting of Horseshoe

2 centuries of complex history

March 08, 2021, Chris Horn

In one of his first official acts as the University of South Carolina's 29th president, Bob Caslen authorized the Presidential Commission on University History. Since then, the commission has been researching building and place names on campus and considering ways to expand and disseminate the history of the institution.

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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.