Skip to Main Content

Archives: History of SC State

Where to find the Archives

The SC State Historical Collection & Archives is located on the 3rd floor of the Miller F. Whittaker Library.


Tel: 803-536-8627

Research Hours: Mon-Thur 9am - 1pm  All other times by appointment

Like us on Facebook!

A brief history of SC State University

South Carolina State University, founded in 1896, is the only state assisted historically black college in South Carolina.  The founding of the institution has its antecedents in the first Morrill Act passed by the United States Congress in 1862, authorizing the establishment of land-grant colleges.  In 1872, the Senate and House of Representatives of South Carolina enacted legislation establishing a college and institute of Mechanical Arts at Orangeburg in connection with Claflin University, to be named the South Carolina Agricultural College and Mechanical Institute.  In 1878, the State Legislature changed the governance of the South Carolina Agricultural College and Mechanical Institute and made it the Orangeburg Branch of the University of South Carolina.

On March 3, 1896, the General Assembly of South Carolina severed its connection between Claflin University by legislative act and enacted legislation establishing The Colored Normal, Industrial, Agricultural and Mechanical College of South Carolina.  The school’s first President, Thomas E. Miller was elected June 10, 1896 and the doors of the college were first opened to students on September 27th of the same year.

In 1954, under the administration of the school’s fourth President, Benner C. Turner, the General Assembly changed the institution’s name to South Carolina State College.  During the tenure of interim president, Carl A. Carpenter, the institution was designated South Carolina State University on February 26, 1992.

South Carolina State University – Founded March 3, 1896

Name                                                                                                Presidency

Dr. Thomas E. Miller (1st)                                                             1896-1911

Dr. Robert S. Wilkinson (2nd)                                                       1911-1932

Dr. Miller F. Whittaker (Acting)                                                     1932

Dr. Miller F. Whittaker (3rd)                                                         1932-1949

An interim committee of five supervised the

administration of the College: K.W. Green,

Chairman J.I. Washington, F. Marcellus Staley,

Frank DeCosta and H.W. Crawford                                                  1949-1950

Dr. Benner C. Turner (4th)                                                            1950-1967

Dr. M. Maceo Nance, Jr. (Acting)                                                 1967-1968

Dr. M. Maceo Nance, Jr. (5th)                                                      1968-1986

Dr. Albert E. Smith (6th)                                                                1986-1992

Dr. Carl A. Carpenter (Interim)                                                     1992-1993

Dr. Barbara R. Hatton (7th)                                                           1993-1995

Dr. Leroy Davis, Sr. (Interim)                                                         1995-1996

Dr. Leroy Davis, Sr. (8th)                                                                1996-2002

Judge Ernest A. Finney, Jr. (Interim)                                            2002-2003

Dr. Andrew Hugine, Jr. (9th)                                                         2003-2007

Dr. Leonard A. McIntyre (Interim)                                               2007-2008

Dr. George E. Cooper (10th)                                                         2008-2012

Dr. Rita J. Teal (Acting)                                                                   2012

Dr. Cynthia Warrick         (Interim)                                               2012-2013

Dr. W. Franklin Evans (Acting)                                                      2013

Mr. Thomas J. Elzey (11th)                                                           2013-2015

Dr. W. Franklin Evans (Acting/Interim)                                       2015-2016

Mr. James E. Clark (12th)                                                              2016 – 2021

Col. (retired) Alexander Conyers (Acting/Interim)                   2021 -

Books about SC State University

Morrill Hall, 1899

Brick Mason's Class

President's Residence, 1918

Game Day Souvenir Journal, 1971