The future of USCL depends on visionaries

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By The Staff

A recent donation by First Citizens bank is another example of local businesses and individuals’ commitment to our university.

First Citizens pledged $100,000 toward building a new classroom building on the University of South Carolina at Lancaster campus.

The campaign to raise the $6.8 million needed to build the classroom building began last year. It may seem like an ambitious campaign given the state of our economy, but almost $3 million has been raised already.

Founders Federal Credit Union kicked off the campaign by pledging $1 million. The Springs Close Foundation pledged $500,000. The remainder has come from individuals and other businesses.

The proposed building will be about 30,000 square feet and house students and faculty in the general curriculum of arts and sciences. USCL officials hope to begin construction in 2011.

USCL celebrated its 50th year in 2009. The original structure was at the site of the old T.Y. Williams house located on Chesterfield Avenue.

The higher-learning facility has come a long way since its inception as a USC extension. It opened in 1959. In 1965, the extension became the University of South Carolina at Lancaster when it opened its doors to Hubbard Hall, USCL’s first classroom building. During the following 40 years, the USCL campus expanded by adding Starr Hall, Medford Library, the Gregory Health and Wellness Center, an expansion of Medford Library, James Bradley Arts and Sciences Building and the Carole Ray Dowling Health Services Center.

The first class had 52 students. Student enrollment now is about 1,600. USCL offers associate degrees in arts, science, business, nursing, criminal justice and bachelor’s degrees in interdisciplinary studies.

It is not just Lancaster area students getting their degrees at USCL. Students from Richland, Greenville, Chesterfield, Fairfied, Spartanburg, Kershaw, Darlington and other counties also attend USCL.

USCL offers much more than academics. There are several athletic programs. The Gregory Health and Wellness Center and the Diabetes Center focus on health and rehabilitation for many people throughout the community.

USCL also plays host to numerous events and shows. The Bundy Auditorium is home to the Performing Arts Series, which brings nationally known performers to Lancaster County.

Future plans include expanding the number of degree programs, increasing the number of full-time faculty and expanding inter-collegiate athletics for men and women studies.

It’s evident that USCL is a vital component to our community. It has been for more than 50 years and will continue to be a vital component to the future of Lancaster County.

We’ve said it before, USCL is the pride of Lancaster County. But its success depends on those with vision and their willingness to invest in that vision. Those businesses and individuals supporting the USCL building campaign are making that vision a reality. We commend their commitment.

For USCL to be around another 50 years (and more) requires such commitment.