The president of South Carolina State University has a message for new students starting their college careers this week: “Welcome to the Bulldog family.”
President James Clark said he is excited about the beginning of another academic year and another class of new faces at South Carolina’s only public historically-black college.
“South Carolina State is a wonderful institution that has made a fantastic turnaround,” he said. “The new S.C. State is a beautiful place to physically come. It’s a wonderful place that will expect the best and the most from you and it’s a family. For the parents as well, if you send your students here you’re introducing them to the Bulldog family, where we care.”
Three years ago, there were doubts SC State officials could be making such comments. The university was $23.5 million in debt as of 2015. That led the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to place SC State on two-year probation for its financial issues and inability to pay vendors without state loans.
Legislators stepped in and replaced the school’s entire board of trustees. Those trustees then hired Clark, while the legislature later voted to forgive $18 million in state loans. Since then, the financial situation has improved and SACS lifted its probation in 2016.
Clark said the university has made an effort to revive its aging campus. The latest step was improving sidewalks and buildings this summer.
“Some of the residential halls will have significant enhancements done to them, a refresh on the rooms,” he said. “There’ll be some things they won’t see. When you do maintenance in certain areas you don’t get to see it.”
“We’re going to have a totally revamped facility for corporations to come and have interactions with our students for internships, for jobs and for major donors to come and look at opportunities for scholarships,” Clark said of the newly-remodeled State Room. “We’re going to make it possible for corporations to reach out with selected sets of students and spend quite a bit of quality time with them in this area.”
South Carolina State University also welcomes a new band director this semester. The University announced Patrick Moore has been named the new director of Bands for SC State University’s Marching 101 Band. Moore previously served as director of Bands and Instrumental Studies and a music instructor at Houston Baptist University.
Students are moving in this week. Classes begin August 22.