University of South Carolina Aiken

The University of South Carolina Aiken (also referred to as USC Aiken, USCA, or South Carolina Aiken) is a four-year, public coeducational university in Aiken, South Carolina. The school offers undergraduate degree programs as well as master's degrees in business administration, educator leadership,[1] educational technology, and applied clinical psychology.[2] Additional graduate courses and degree programs are offered through the University of South Carolina Extended Graduate Campus program. The University of South Carolina Aiken awards baccalaureate degrees in more than 30 major areas of study include the bachelor of science in business administration online through Palmetto College.[3]

The University of South Carolina
ChancellorSandra Jordan
Academic staff
Location, ,

33°34′23.91″N 81°46′06.34″W
CampusUrban, 453 acres (183 ha)
ColorsCardinal, Navy blue          
AthleticsNCAA Division II Peach Belt Conference
MascotAce the Pacer


Founded in 1961 in a historic mansion in downtown Aiken, USC Aiken moved to its present site in 1972. Under authority granted by the South Carolina General Assembly, the Aiken County Commission for Higher Education entered into an agreement with the University of South Carolina in 1961 to establish a two-year, off-campus center of the University in Aiken County. A small cadre of faculty and staff was assigned the mission of establishing a college community with acceptable operations and standards.

The campus opened its doors in September 1961 with 139 students, three full-time faculty members, and a secretary. Mr. Chris Sharpe served as the first Director of the University of South Carolina Aiken Center, which was housed in Banksia, a renovated mansion in the City of Aiken. In 1962, Mr. Bill Casper was appointed Director of the Center. Initially, the Center offered only freshman and sophomore-level courses. In 1968, the Center underwent an institutional self-study and was accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award associate degrees as a branch of the University of South Carolina and as a junior college. The first associate degrees were awarded in June 1968.

In 1968, the South Carolina General Assembly authorized a bond issue to purchase a new site for the campus. After an extensive search, the Aiken County Commission for Higher Education purchased property from the Graniteville Company in 1970 for a new campus location. The campus moved from Banksia to the present site in 1972, occupying 144 acres (58 ha). All educational and student life programs were initially housed in one large, multi-purpose administration/classroom building, renamed the Robert E. Penland Administration and Classroom Building in 1999. The building features an open courtyard with a sculpture by artist Charles O. Perry. The sculpture, "Double Knot," was designed as a symbol of the University's close ties with the local community.

In 1972, the Gregg-Graniteville Foundation and the Swint Foundation contributed $400,000 to establish a library on campus. This was the largest contribution ever made to a library in the state at that time, so it was named in . their honor. The Gregg-Graniteville Library was completed in 1975.

When full-time equivalent student enrollment reached 1,066 in the fall of 1975, the Aiken Branch was permitted to plan senior-level courses as well as to create a number of baccalaureate degree programs. A new agreement between the Board of Trustees of the University of South Carolina and the Aiken County Commission for Higher Education provided for direct involvement of the Aiken faculty in the development of academic programs. In 1976, the Student Activities Center, housing a gymnasium, bookstore, and food service facilities, was completed. In September 1976, the Board of Trustees granted academic autonomy to the Aiken campus. The institution was fully accredited as a four-year university by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and granted its first baccalaureate degrees in 1977.

In 1977, a classroom-office building, later named the Humanities and Social Sciences Building, was completed. An operations/maintenance building for auxiliary services was completed in 1978. The 1980s marked a change in leadership as Mr. Bill Casper announced his retirement as Chancellor of the institution after 20 years of service. Dr. Robert E. Alexander was named Chancellor of the University of South Carolina Aiken in 1983.

The 1980s and 1990s included the completion of a number of construction projects on campus. An addition to the Gregg-Graniteville Library was completed in 1983. Pacer Downs student housing was completed in 1984 by a private developer and acquired by the University in 1999. The Etherredge Center for the Fine and Performing Arts was completed in 1985. The Sciences Building was completed in 1989. The historic Pickens-Salley House, home to a former governor of South Carolina, was moved to the campus in 1989. The Children's Center was completed in 1990. The Ruth Patrick Science Education Center was completed in 1991 and expanded by 30,000 square feet (2,800 m2) in 1999. The Business and Education Building was completed in 1994. In 1995, the campus expanded to 453 acres (183 ha) through a donation/purchase from the Graniteville Company. As part of the Student Activities Center, a natatorium was completed in 1997. The Alan B. Miller Nursing Building was completed in 1999.

In 1994, USC Aiken began offering its first master's degree: Master of Education in Elementary Education. USC Aiken currently is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools at level III institutional status to offer baccalaureate degrees and master's degrees in selected areas/disciplines. In 1998, USC Aiken began offering its second master's degree: Master of Science in Applied Clinical Psychology. In 2002, USCA began offering a third master's degree, the Master of Education in Educational Technology. A recent addition is a MBA for STEM and Liberal Arts, which began in Fall 2015.[4] A master's degree in Educator Leadership[5] was also added in 2018 as the university continued to grow. Through the USC Aiken Graduate Office, more than 500 students each year pursue postgraduate degrees on the Aiken Campus through USC Aiken graduate programs or the University of South Carolina's Extended Graduate Campus.

In 1997 and in 1998, the National League for Nursing (NLNAC) reaffirmed accreditation for the School of Nursing programs at the associate level and baccalaureate completion level for eight full years. In 1999, the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) granted national accreditation to the School of Education's undergraduate and graduate programs. In 2000, AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business granted national accreditation to the School of Business Administration.

In 2000, Dr. Alexander announced his retirement after 17 years of service. Dr. Thomas L. Hallman was named Chancellor of the University of South Carolina Aiken in 2001. In 2003, USC Aiken dedicated the Roberto Hernandez Baseball Field and Stadium. Hernandez is a former Pacer baseball player who donated $1 million for the stadium project. The campus completed construction of a new student residence hall, Pacer Commons, which was dedicated in August 2004. A second residence hall, Pacer Crossings, was completed in 2008 and exclusively houses members of the freshman class. The USC Aiken Convocation Center, a 100,000 square feet (9,300 m2) facility with a seating occupancy of 4,000, opened in 2007 as the University's newest facility. It is the home of Pacer Athletics, provides gathering space for University ceremonies, and is a venue for community and entertainment events. In 2011, USC Aiken began construction on a pedestrian bridge to connect the Convocation Center and its surrounding athletic facilities to the rest of the campus.

In 2012, Dr. Hallman announced his retirement after 27 years of service. Dr. Sandra J. Jordan was appointed the campus's fourth Chancellor and took office in the summer of 2012.

Today, the college has more than 3,700 students [6] and 364 permanent faculty and staff members. USC Aiken awards baccalaureate degrees in 35 major areas of study and master's degrees in four areas. In addition, the institution offers a varied program of non-credit continuing education courses for the surrounding and extended community.


The campus is located on 453 acres (183 ha) in Aiken, 18 miles (29 km) from Augusta, Georgia, and 60 miles from Columbia, South Carolina.


The University of South Carolina Aiken is ranked #1 among top public regional colleges in the South in the 2019 edition of U.S. News & World Report's guide, "America's Best Colleges." Since U.S. News & World Report created this ranking category seventeen years ago, the University has been ranked in the top three public regional colleges every year, totaling twenty-one consecutive years. USC Aiken has been ranked first ten times: 2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019.[7]


The School of Education's undergraduate programs in Early Childhood, Elementary, Secondary and Special Education are accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). Its graduate program for the M. Ed. in Educational Technology also is accredited by NCATE.

The School of Business is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business-International. AACSB accreditation assures quality and promotes excellence and continuous improvement in undergraduate and graduate education for business administration and accounting.

The School of Nursing's program is approved by the South Carolina State Board of Nursing and is fully accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission.

USC Aiken's master of science in applied clinical psychology degree program is fully accredited by the Master's in Psychology Accreditation Council (MPAC).

USC Aiken's Department of Chemistry and Physics is nationally certified by the American Chemical Society. USC Aiken is the smallest university in the state of South Carolina to be nationally certified by The American Chemical Society, and one of only nine in the state.


USC Aiken is one of the fastest growing institutions in the USC system, with approximately 3,450 undergraduate students and 250 graduate students. The University reached record enrollment rates in the fall of 2018. Students enjoy a low faculty-to-student ratio of 15:1 and an average class size of 15.

Student life

Fraternities and sororities

The Greek system at USC Aiken consists of 7 fraternities and 7 sororities.

IFC fraternities

NPHC fraternities

NPHC sororities

NPC sororities

Student publications

The school newspaper is the weekly Pacer Times,[8][9] founded in 1963 as the Rebellaire.[10] The school also has a student-run literary journal, Broken Ink.[11]


NCAA Division II; Peach Belt Conference. The University fields men's teams in baseball, basketball, golf, soccer, and tennis and women's teams in basketball, cross country, softball, volleyball, soccer, and tennis. Cheerleading and the award-winning dance team are also an important part of the athletics department.

Notable alumni


  1. "Graduate Programs | All Graduate Programs | USC Aiken". Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  2. "Majors & Minors | Graduate Programs | USC Aiken, The University of Choice". Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  3. "Palmetto College - Palmetto College - University of South Carolina".
  4. "MBA for STEM and Liberal Arts". Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  5. "Graduate Programs | All Graduate Programs | USC Aiken". Retrieved 2018-11-14.
  6. "USC Aiken Points of Pride". USC Aiken Office of Marketing. Oct 29, 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  7. "USC Aiken #1, Again". USC Aiken Office of Marketing. Sep 9, 2014. Retrieved 10 December 2014.
  8. Pacer Times official website (accessed 2017-03-24).
  9. "Wright named editor-in-chief of Pacer Times", Aiken Standard, August 31, 2012.
  10. Pacer Times, Vol. 50 no. 1, p.1 (August 8, 2013).
  11. "'Broken Ink' garners All-American status", Aiken Standard, August 17, 2013.
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