Columbia College (South Carolina)

Columbia College is a private liberal arts women's college in Columbia, South Carolina. Founded in 1854 by the United Methodist Church as a women’s liberal arts college, Columbia College also offers evening, graduate and online programs serving both women and men.

Columbia College
Former names
Columbia Female College
MottoNon quem sed quid
Motto in English
Not when, but who.
TypeWomen's College
AffiliationUnited Methodist Church
PresidentDr. Carol Moore
ProvostDr. Madeleine Schep
DeanDr. LaNae Budden-Briggs
Academic staff
81 full-time
80 part-time
Location, ,
United States

34°02′42″N 81°01′53″W
ColorsPurple, Grey, and White
AffiliationsAppalachian Athletic Conference
SportsBasketball, Soccer, Tennis, Volleyball, Lacrosse, Swimming, Softball, Golf, Cross Country, and Track and Field
WebsiteColumbia College


Founded in 1854, it is one of the oldest women's colleges in the United States. Columbia Female College officially opened in 1859 with an initial student body of 121 and a faculty of 16. When General Sherman and his troops marched through Columbia in 1865, the school had to close. It was saved from being torched only because Professor of Music W. H. Orchard, having heard that all unoccupied buildings would be burned by a certain hour, left his home to stand in the doorway of the College where he could be seen by the troops. The school was reopened in 1873. The college was damaged by its first fire in 1895, though the damage was not extensive. The name changed to Columbia College in 1905 after it was moved to its present site in North Columbia in 1904. Swept by a second fire in 1909, the college operated out of its former Plain Street facilities until the North Columbia campus could be reoccupied in 1910.

From 1940 to 1951, presidents Guilds and Greene oversaw Columbia College as well as Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

In 1964, a third fire ravaged the campus, destroying Old Main, a college landmark. Frightened and disheartened students, huddled in the middle of the night in College Place Methodist Church, were told by President Spears, "Nothing has been destroyed that cannot be rebuilt." Soon thereafter new interest in the College was engendered, and building continued. The columns of Old Main, which had been the only thing left standing in the ashes when the fire was over, became a symbol of Columbia College, its strength and its endurance.

Georgia O'Keeffe taught art, briefly, at Columbia College in 1914 and 1915.

During the 1980s, an evening college was established in which both female and male students could be educated. Recently U.S. News & World Report has ranked Columbia College as one of the top regional liberal arts colleges in the South.

In 2011, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) named Columbia College professor, Dr. John Zubizarreta “U. S. Professor of the Year” for undergraduate baccalaureate colleges. Zubizarreta is a professor of English and director of honors and faculty development for Columbia College. The Columbia College honors program has also produced two consecutive National Collegiate Honors Council Honor Students of the Year, Homa Hassan in 2009 and Diana Lynde in 2010.


See also: Columbia College Koalas

Columbia College athletic teams, nicknamed athletically as the Koalas, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Appalachian Athletic Conference. Women's sports include basketball, golf, soccer, softball, lacrosse, tennis, cross country, track and field, swimming and volleyball.

Notable alumnae


  1. "West Virginia House of Delegates". Retrieved 17 February 2016.
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