UNION — In the 50 years since it opened its doors USC Union has grown in terms of the size of the campus itself and in its efforts to help an increasingly diverse student body achieve academically, a process that it is continuing this year with bricks and scholarships.
When it opened its doors in 1965, the USC Union campus consisted of only the Main Building which today houses classrooms, some offices, and the auditorium. Over the past 50 years the campus has expanded, adding the Central Building which houses classrooms, administrative offices, and the USC Union Library. The expansion continued with the acquisition and clearing of the old Union Mill property on which now stands the USC Union gazebo. Other additions to the campus over the past 50 years include Truluck Gym and the USC Union Founders House.
The most recent addition to the campus came with the acquisition of a building at 311 E. Main St. in downtown Union which was renovated by the university to house its new bookstore, its new student center, and the new office of its campus security officer. The new bookstore and Student Center opened in March and had their formal opening in April during a ribbon-cutting ceremony that also served as a Business After Hours sponsored by USC Union and the Union County Chamber of Commerce.
Now, six months after the opening of the new Student Center, the university is undertaking another project designed to improve the facility and, through it, the campus as a whole.
Dean Alice Taylor-Colbert said that USC Union is conducting a “$50 for 50 Brick Campaign” in honor of its 50th anniversary. Taylor-Colbert said that the campaign is also part of the university’s plans to build a new courtyard behind the Student Center. She said those plans include providing the people of Union County with the opportunity to help build the courtyard while also becoming a permanent part of the campus.
“We wanted to create a lovely courtyard for our students, so we decided to use bricks to create a very special appearance for the courtyard,” Taylor-Colbert said. “So we decided to do ‘$50 for 50 Brick Campaign’ in order to fund the courtyard, but also to celebrate the alumni and friends and supporters of USC Union.
“The Horseshoe in Columbia has bricks with individuals names, so I thought it would be nice for us to do the same,” she said. “The commemorative bricks will line a portion of the new courtyard and for $50 people can buy one of the bricks and have their name or that of a loved one engraved on it.”
Taylor-Colbert said that the $50 for 50 Brick Campaign has already raised $1,500 and she encouraged more people to participate, not only to support the project, but also to commemorate their loved ones.
“Purchasing a commemorative brick for your family will provide a lasting tribute to your loved ones and help us complete the funding needed to design and build the new student space,” Taylor-Colbert said. “Those who do will always be remembered as a generous supporter of USC Union and our 50th anniversary.”
Taylor-Colbert said the courtyard will be called the Bobby Rippy Student Center Courtyard. She said Rippy’s widow, Barbara Rippy, has pledged $100,000 to the courtyard project to honor her husband’s memory.
“Mrs. Rippy wanted to do something special in memory of her husband that would benefit the community,” Taylor-Colbert said. “We want to express our sincere appreciation not only for her gift to our students and the community, but also for her every day kindnesses.”
Taylor-Colbert said that when completed, the courtyard will include benches and seating for students and visitors as well as a trellis to provide them with shade.
To request a $50 for 50 Brick Campaign form, please contact Annie Smith at 864-424-8055 or email@example.com.
Traditionally, the overwhelming majority of college students have been men and women in their late teens and early twenties. While this demographic still accounts for the majority of college students, recent years have seen an increase in the number of men and women older than the traditional age group either enrolling for the first time or returning to college.
To help them do so, USC Union has been awarding scholarships specifically designated for students over the age of 25. In addition to the age requirement, these students must also have a cumulative GPA of no less than 3.0.
The Admissions Office at USC Union identifies these students and the Financial Aid Office in turn mails them a letter and a scholarship application. In addition to the application, eligible students are required to write an essay.
The scholarship is awarded through USC Continuing Education/Extended Studies with a committee of three Columbia professors making the selection. This scholarship is only for the two-year USC regional campuses.
Taylor-Colbert said the scholarships are a way to help these students who she described as often being among USC Union’s best.
“We are having a lot of older students who are coming back to school and they are excellent,” Taylor-Colbert said. “Mature students have a tendency to be highly dedicated to their studies and they deserve to be honored for their academic excellence.”
Taylor-Colbert said the following students at USC Union have received the scholarship for 2015-2016:
• Joseph C. Allen, Associates — Union
• Angela B. Bennett, Associates — Union
• Temeka T. Briggs, Associates — Union
• Angela Henry, Palmetto College/Bachelors of Liberal Studies — North Charleston
• Dawn M. Schrieber, Associates — Union
• Terry Emerson Thorp, Palmetto College/Bachelors of Organizational Leadership — Columbia
Charles Warner can be reached at 864-762-4090 or firstname.lastname@example.org.