Wofford College

Wofford College is a private, independent liberal arts college founded in 1854 that is located in downtown Spartanburg, South Carolina, United States. The historic 175-acre (71 ha) campus is recognized as a national arboretum and is one of the few four-year institutions in the southeastern United States founded before the American Civil War that still operates on its original campus.

Wofford College
MottoIntaminatis fulget honoribus
TypePrivate liberal arts college
Religious affiliation
United Methodist Church
Endowment$184.7 million[1]
PresidentNayef Samhat[2]
Academic staff
130 (Fall 2013)[3]
Undergraduates1,692 (Fall 2016) [3]
Location, ,

34.959°N 81.935°W / 34.959; -81.935
175 acres (0.7 km2)
ColorsOld gold and Black[4]
AthleticsDivision ISoCon
Sports18 varsity sports teams

Wofford was founded with a bequest of $100,000 from the Rev. Benjamin Wofford (1780–1850), a Methodist minister and Spartanburg native who sought to create a college for "literary, classical, and scientific education in my native district of Spartanburg."[5] The college's Main Building is the oldest structure on campus and was designed by the noted Charleston architect Edward C. Jones.[6] In 1941, the college was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest academic honor society, and the Beta of South Carolina chapter was the first at a private college in South Carolina.[7]

The academic year consists of a four-month fall semester, a one month January term called the Interim,[8] and a four-month spring semester. The College is listed on the President’s Community Service Honor Roll and in the annual “Open Doors” report for providing studies abroad opportunities for its students.

Wofford is ranked 72nd in the annual US News & World Report list of national liberal arts colleges.[9][10] In 2010, Forbes ranked it 58th on Forbes List of America's 650 Best Colleges.[11]

Wofford's colors are old gold and black. The school mascot is the Terrier.


Operating continuously on its original campus in the City of Spartanburg, the Wofford College Historic District was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.[12] The campus now consists of 48 buildings on 175 acres (71 ha). In 2002, The entire campus was designated as an arboretum, now called "Roger Milliken Arboretum."[13] Wofford is a member of the American Association of Botanical Gardens and Arboreta.[14]

Wofford has a 78% four-year graduation rate (82.3% graduate within 6 years) and in 2009, a 37% percent alumni giving rate. The mid-50% SAT range of the class that entered in 2010 was 1,160-1,340. 56% of the incoming freshman class in 2010 finished in the top 10 percent of their high school class. Wofford's performance on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) ranks among the nation's best colleges and universities. Details may be found in "Student Success in College: Creating Conditions that Matter," by George D. Kuh, Jillian Kinzie and Associates (San Francisco: John Wiley & Sons, 2nd edition, 2010).

Wofford College Historic District

Wofford College Historic District
LocationWofford College campus, Spartanburg, South Carolina
Area30 acres (12 ha)
ArchitectEdward C. Jones
Architectural styleItalianate, Georgian
NRHP reference #74001879[15]
Added to NRHPDecember 27, 1974

The Wofford College Historic District consists of the Main Building, which was designed by Edward C. Jones in the Italianate style, and six two-story brick residences.[16][17] It was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.[15] Construction of the Main Building began in 1852 and the first classes were held in the fall of 1854. During the Civil War, the endowment was invested in Confederate bonds and other securities, which became worthless by the end of the war.[18]

Gold, Black, and Green

A number of recent "green highlights" for Wofford have included the establishment of a campus Office of Community Sustainability; work toward finalizing the campus Climate Action Plan; the college's Sustainable Living Initiative aimed at residence halls and other areas of student life; development of the interdisciplinary environmental studies program;[19] renovation and restoration of the old Glendale Mill office into the Goodall Environmental Studies Center,[20] the first academic building in South Carolina to be LEED Platinum certified; and the Wofford Santee Cooper Lecture Series on Sustainability and Energy.[21]


Wofford is ranked 72nd in US News & World Report's list of the best national liberal arts colleges, a ranking that has improved in the last 10 years.[9][22] In 2010, Forbes ranked it 58th on its Forbes List of America's 650 Best Colleges.[23] In 2018 Forbes named Wofford the number one four-year college in South Carolina.


The academic year consists of a four-month fall semester, a one-month January term called the Interim,[8] and a four-month spring semester.


One hundred thirty-six full-time faculty teach at the college, 92 percent of whom have earned a doctorate or equivalent terminal degree. The FTE faculty to student ratio is 1:11.[3]

Majors and minors

Wofford offers academic majors in a variety of areas including 26 unique programs.[24]

The college also offers pre-professional programs in Teacher Education (secondary certification), Dentistry, Medicine, Law, Ministry, Engineering and Veterinary Science. The college's Army ROTC program was established in 1919.[25]

International Programs

The college's Office of International Programs helps students select from over 200 study abroad programs in 59 countries. Wofford consistently ranks in the nation's top ten in the Institute of International Education Open Doors Survey, which is based on a comparison of the number of students earning credits abroad in a given year to the number of students in the graduating class. Wofford's 2009 score was 93%, compared to the Lincoln Commission national average of 9% of graduates earning credits abroad.[26] The college has had six Fulbright English Teaching assistantships in the past four years as well as two Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships.[27] In 2012, Rachel Woodlee was selected as Wofford's sixth Rhodes Scholar.

Interim program

The Interim program is designed to provide students with opportunities to gain new experiences outside the realm of traditional academics and allows students to become involved in departments outside their academic majors. Interims generally fall into one of four categories. In the most common type, students enroll in faculty-proposed projects on campus. These projects range from participation in theatre to pottery, knitting and short story writing. Students may elect to enroll in internship projects that are supervised by faculty, but involve working off-campus in legal, medical, dental, congressional, corporate, or non-profit settings. Students may propose independent research projects under the supervision of a faculty sponsor. Finally, faculty-led travel projects take groups of students and professors to study in other parts of the United States or in Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, or Australia. Recent travel projects have included study in England and Ireland, South Africa, Peru, Brazil, Belize, Vietnam, China, and Japan.


The Wofford Terriers compete in NCAA Division I in the Southern Conference. Wofford's colors are old gold and black. The school mascot is the Terrier. In the 2010 NCAA Division I graduation success report, 9 of 13 Wofford teams posted GRS scores of 100, the highest available mark. For the past 16 years, the Carolina Panthers have made their summer training camp home at Wofford. The Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas (a high school all-star football game) is played at Wofford's Gibbs Stadium. Boss is the mascot for Wofford Athletics.

Wofford is represented by 18 men and women's varsity sports. Gibbs Stadium, opened in 1996, is the home field for Terrier football games. The baseball team plays its home games at Russell C. King Field. Men's and women's basketball and volleyball teams play in the Benjamin Johnson Arena of the Campus Life Building, opened in 1981. The inaugural men's basketball game was played in 3300-seat Jerry Richardson Indoor Stadium on 10 November 2017. Soccer teams play on Snyder Field, which was the college's football stadium through 1995. Wofford men's basketball has won the Southern Conference Championship and an NCAA bid five times since 2010, and in 2018/19 went a perfect 21-0 in Southern Conference play, and won an NCAA tournament game for the first time. Wofford football won the SoCon championship in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

Student life

Wofford offers a self-contained environment (93% of the students live on campus). The Village apartment-style housing for the senior class was a 2008 "Dorm of Distinction" as chosen by the University Business Magazine.[28] Phase V of The Village, an $11 million project, opened in the fall of 2011. It added 80 beds in loft apartments, bringing the capacity of The Village to 428 students. It also houses The Space in the Mungo Center (formerly The Center for Professional Excellence), specialized classroom spaces, and a dining and market area called the "Grand Galleria."[29]

Student organizations

Students participate in a wide variety of service, pre-professional, religious, social, and other student organizations. Student publications at the college date to the first literary magazine, first published in 1889. The student newspaper, the Old Gold and Black, is published every other week, and the yearbook, The Bohemian, is published each spring. Delta Phi Alpha, the national German honorary society, was founded at Wofford, as was Beta Club, an honorary society prominent in American high schools.

In 1941, the college was awarded a chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest academic honor society, and the Beta of South Carolina chapter was the first at a private college in South Carolina.[7]

Service learning

Wofford has a variety of student service organizations on campus, including the Bonner Scholars,[30] Twin Towers, Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, and ONE.[31]

Wofford was included on the 2010 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, published by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Washington Monthly compared 23 of 252 Top Liberal Arts Colleges contributions to the public good in three broad categories: Social Mobility (recruiting and graduating low-income students), Research (producing cutting-edge scholarship and PhDs), and Service (encouraging students to give something back to their country). In the magazine's 2010 ratings Wofford finished 23rd among 252 Top Liberal Arts Colleges, and was number 1 in South Carolina. Newsweek identified Wofford as one of the most "service-minded" campuses in the country, ranking the college second in listings released in September 2010. Six recent Wofford graduates have been selected for the Teach For America Corps.

Student government

Student government rests in the Campus Union, with executive officers and an assembly elected by the student body. Students serve on various campus committees and represent the student body before various committees of the Board of Trustees.

Student conduct is governed by the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, a document written by an Interim project in 1970-71. The code is enforced by a judicial commission consisting of elected and appointed members. An honor council enforces the student honor code in academic matters.

Fraternities and sororities

The college recognizes 14 chapters of national fraternities and sororities with 42 percent of men and 53 percent of women participating.

Fraternities include Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Pi Kappa Phi, Pi Kappa Alpha, Sigma Nu, and Kappa Alpha Psi.

The sororities of the National Panhellenic Council include Delta Delta Delta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Delta, and Zeta Tau Alpha.


In each of the years 1901 through 1904, two women graduated from Wofford.[32] In 1964, Wofford became the first private college in South Carolina to desegregate voluntarily with the admission of Albert Gray.[33]




  • Wendi Nix – Anchor and reporter for ESPN.
  • Craig Melvin – Anchor and correspondent for MSNBC and NBC News
  • Benjamin Ingram – 2014 Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions winner.
  • Chris Underwood—2015 winner of the 38th season of Survivor.
  • Chris Novak—contestant on Temptation Island, Season Five


  • Tee Nunnalee-

President of Coastal Beverage Company Wilmington,NC

Politics, law, and public service


Notable deceased alumni




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  6. Wofford: Shining With Untarnished Honor, 1854-2004 (Spartanburg, SC: Hub City Writers Group, 2005), p. 14
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  19. "Wofford College - Environmental Studies". Wofford.edu. 2007-10-22. Retrieved 2013-07-11.
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  32. "Diversity & Inclusion". Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  33. "First African American Wofford Student Albert W. Gray and First African American Wofford Graduate Douglas Jones Sr. honored with room naming at Wofford". May 24, 2013. Retrieved 22 January 2019.
  34. "Jude Reyes". Forbes. Retrieved 28 January 2015.
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