Convocation Ceremony

New Student Convocation

This fall ceremony is an annual tradition officially commemorating the first meeting of the University of South Carolina's new academic class. Watch a replay of the 2020 ceremony and learn more about the university, its symbols and history, and the colleges and schools that comprise the academic community.

About the Ceremony

Whether virtual or in-person, Convocation is a formal assembly for new students and your families that marks the first assembling of the new academic class. An annual tradition, our Convocation is a special time for faculty, new students and families.

Along with new students and family members, additional participants include the President, the university's chief administrator; the Provost, the chief academic officer; representatives of the Board of Trustees, the institution’s governing body, to which the president of the university is responsible; and the deans of schools and colleges, the chief administrators and academic officers of their respective schools or colleges. You'll also hear from the university's Student Body President, the recipient of the 2020 Michael J. Mungo Distinguished Professor of the Year Award, the Provost, the university’s Vice Presidents, and the President of the university.


Carolinian Creed

The community of scholars at UofSC is dedicated to personal and academic excellence. Choosing to join the community obligates each member to a code of civilized behavior.

As a Carolinian…
I will practice personal and academic integrity;
I will respect the dignity of all persons;
I will respect the rights and property of others;
I will discourage bigotry, while striving to learn from differences in people, ideas and opinions;
I will demonstrate concern for others, their feelings, and their need for conditions which support their work and development.

Allegiance to these ideals  — our Carolinian Creed — requires each Carolinian to refrain from and discourage behaviors which threaten the freedom and respect every individual deserves.


University Symbols

UofSC mace

The Carolina Mace

The Carolina Mace, fashioned by English silversmith Leslie Durbin, is the symbol of the university’s corporate entity and authority, as well as of the endeavors of the university community. The mace, dedicated in 1967, is carried in procession on occasions of importance by the president of student government.

UofSC medallion

President's Medallion

The significance of the mace is mirrored in the President’s Medallion and Chain of Office, designating the wearer as the temporary embodiment of the university’s power and authority. The gift of the medallion accompanied the gift of the mace. The silver Chain of Office was commissioned in 1991 by the Presidential Candidate Search Committee.

UofSC ring with official University Seal

University Seal

The university seal was adopted in 1803 and is comprised of two figures representing Liberty and Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom, whose shield is a representation of the seal of the State of South Carolina.


University History 

For more than 200 years, the University of South Carolina has promoted academic excellence in service to the citizens of South Carolina. Chartered in 1801 as South Carolina College, the University of South Carolina was the first state university to be supported continuously by annual state appropriations. In the years before the Civil War, it rapidly achieved a reputation as on of the best endowed and most distinguished colleges in the United States. The pre-Civil War campus included Longstreet Theatre and all of the buildings in the area we know as the Horseshoe except McKissick.

The institution went through six reorganizations and a period of closure (1877-1880) during the last decades of the 19th century, while legislators, administrators, and faculties reassessed the institutions goals and struggled to define its mission. They reopened it in 1880 as an all-white agricultural college, and during the next 25 years the institution became enmeshed in the state’s political upheaval. South Carolina went through several reorganizations in which the curriculum changed and its status shifted from college to university and back again. The university also struggled to adjust to the arrival of intercollegiate athletics in 1892 and the admission of white women in 1894. Finally, in 1906, at the beginning of its second century, South Carolina was rechartered for the third, and last time, as the University of South Carolina, with the addition of a graduate school.

In 1963, the University of South Carolina became desegregated. As the result of a federal court order, Henrie D. Monteith, Robert Anderson, and James Solomon became the first African-American students to enroll at the university in the 20th century. Minority enrollment would continue to grow in their wake and was complemented by a substantial international student population in subsequent decades.

In addition to the research campus in Columbia, the university today includes three, four-year campuses (Aiken, Beaufort, Upstate) and four regional campuses (Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter, Union) with a total enrollment of about 40,000. Of these students, nearly 30,000 are on the Columbia campus, which includes more than 5,900 graduate and professional students.

The University of South Carolina continues to build its programs for a bright future. Many academic programs rank in the top 25 nationally and the University 101 program for new students is among the best of its kind. UofSC’s University 101 program is ranked #1 in the nation for its first-year experience, according to U.S. News and World Report. In a ranking of public university honors colleges, UofSC received the highest designation awarded according to the guide, “A Review of Fifty Public University Honors Programs.”


Colleges and Schools of the University

The University of South Carolina includes eight university campuses, 14 degree-granting colleges and schools, as well as The Graduate School, founded in 1906, and Palmetto College, founded in 2013. Gonfalons are heraldic flags or banners first used by Italian medieval cities to display coats of arms or other insignia. In modern times, many universities have adopted colorful banners as part of academic ceremonies and commencement pageantry.


University Officials

As South Carolina’s flagship university, UofSC is governed by a board of trustees appointed by the governor and state lawmakers.

Horseshoe Gates

Board of Trustees

The board is made up of the governor, the state education superintendent, 16 members appointed by state lawmakers from each of the state’s judicial circuits and the president of the Alumni Association. The governor has an appointee and usually designates someone to fill the governor’s seat on the board.


University Officials

In addition to our president and board, our leadership includes positions governing academics, research, finances, giving, technology, human resources, student affairs, communications and our extended university.


Alma Mater

Professor George Wauchope penned the alma mater in 1911. Generations of graduates have echoed his sentiment by offering a “health” to their beloved Carolina.

“We Hail Thee, Carolina”
(Tune: “Flow Gently, Sweet Afton”)

We hail thee, Carolina, and sign thy high praise;
With loyal devotion, rememb’ring the days;
When proudly we sought thee, thy children to be;
Here’s a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

— G.A. Wauchope