Ronald E. McNair was the unlikeliest of heroes. As a young African-American growing up in rural Lake City, South Carolina in the 1950s and 1960s, nothing was handed to him on a silver platter - quite the opposite. Yet, even as a young man, he exhibited that same courage and tenacity that the world would come to admire and remember. His early love of learning led to a relentless quest for access to the library. Successful at last, his love of reading opened up the world to him and he was soon on his way to MIT where he earned his doctorate in physics. This launched his 1978 selection by NASA as the first Black civilian astronaut.
In 1984, Dr. McNair honored the University of South Carolina by delivering a brilliant Commencement address. His words inspire us still, “The road between South Carolina and space flight is not a very simple one, nor filled with guarantees... [except] those that reside in the unchallenged depths of one’s own determination. Go forth with the desire to accomplish, with the desire to contribute, with the willingness to fight.”
When the USC McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research was established in 2011, with substantial funding from another Lake City native and financier, Darla Moore, we were determined to embrace Dr. McNair's legacy. Approaching aerospace innovation and research with the desire to accomplish and contribute, we began by recruiting some of the sharpest scientific minds in the world. Our remarkable team includes SmartState endowed chair Kenneth Reifsnider, a member of the National Academy of Engineering and an expert in materials systems; SmartState endowed chair Brian Benicewicz an expert in polymer nanocomposites; SmartState endowed chair Jochen Lauterbach an expert in combinatorial discovery of advanced materials; Abdel-Moez E. Bayoumi, an expert in condition-based maintenance and life cycle monitoring, and Victor Giurgiutiu, an expert in on-line health monitoring and several other exceptional scientists.
Today, these inventive leaders are quickly establishing South Carolina and USC as a national hub for the aerospace industry. We are laser-focused on four areas:
1. Stimulating innovation through cutting edge research in advanced materials and composites. Our critical lab work includes life cycle monitoring, system design, cyber security and more. We partner with our international business associates at the Darla Moore School of Business to optimize global business strategies.
2. Advancing innovation in education and workforce development with an approved master’s degree in aerospace engineering as well as a master's degree in engineering management. Two additional degrees, a master's in systems design and a bachelor's in systems design, are in process. These courses are accessible online through Web-based delivery and offer on-site or remote interactions with professors. These interactions include collaborative thesis and dissertation projects at the students' workplaces and/or in USC Columbia research laboratories.
3. Honoring the tenacious spirit of young Ronald McNair by embracing innovative outreach at all levels of education including K-12 collaborations with the Challenger Center, the Governor's School of Science and Mathematics and IT-ology. Our outreach also extends, through memorandums of understanding, to global and US universities and colleges, including Trident and Midlands Technical Colleges.
4. Triggering economic development with exciting breakthroughs that promise safer flights with greater fuel efficiency. Our partnerships continue to expand as we join forces with both industry and government agencies to create opportunities for investment and collaboration on jointly produced technology and product development. We also support the South Carolina aerospace “cluster” through the Faber Center for Entrepreneurship and our Small Business Development Centers.
Although Ronald McNair’s inspiring career was cut short during the Challenger space shuttle tragedy, his legacy continues at the USC McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research. Today, more than ever, we understand Dr. McNair’s admonition, “The road between South Carolina and space flight is not a very simple one, nor filled with guarantees.” Yet, at the McNair Center, there is a palpable air of discovery and excitement as we anticipate lift off.
Good morning! What a beautiful time of day to be on the Horseshoe and I cannot think of a better place to be or a better group to be with, than with you right here, right now, to review the State of the University.
Thank you, Kenny, for that gracious introduction. It's a privilege to be joined by you and other student government leaders including Andrew Dorsey, president of the Graduate Student Association. Carolina is so well served by our student leaders and I consider you an integral part of the university's leadership team.
Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in thanking Rebecca Phillips and the Mighty Sound of the Southeast, our exceptional marching band, for creating just the right ambiance for this occasion.
I would also like to recognize the people who help guide and support our eight universities and 12 campuses. Members of the board of trustees, including Chairman Warr, Tommy Cofield, Thad Westbrook, Eddie Brown, our Board of Visitors and the Alumni Association Board of Governors. I thank their representatives for being here and ask that you help me recognize them.
I'm also pleased that representatives of city and county government are with us. We are appreciative of all you do for Columbia, theMidlands and the communities we are privileged to be a part of.
Finally, and enthusiastically, I recognize Patricia Moore-Pastides, your First Lady who, as you know, is a strong advocate for the university and for our broader community.
Friends, as a university, we have many reasons to celebrate, but none greater than the 45,000 students who are pursuing their degrees throughout the USC system - including 30,000 Gamecocks here in Columbia. Without hesitation, I say they are the reason we are here and they are the motivation for my presidency.
To the students, I say that we are here to help you realize your potential as professionals, as citizens and as leaders. And know that you provide the direct inspiration for the work we do. Serving you, our students, is our duty, of course, but also our honor.
The high quality education that the university provides takes financial resources and I'm pleased this morning to state clearly that the operating budget of our university remains in balance and the university is in a sound financial position. By every measure, including those of the nation's leading financial rating agencies, Carolina is solid and strong.
We are appreciative of the support shown by the General Assembly during the 2012 legislative season, but state support is now less than 10 percent of our budget and we must continue our vigorous advocacy for better funding as our legislators prepare for their 120th session.
In the last session, we were well organized and supported by our various boards, alumni and many friends.
Some of our mission critical needs, including the new Palmetto College, were funded by both chambers with bipartisan support. TheGeneral Assembly also helped us realize a long-term goal as $10 million dollars was appropriated towards the construction of a worthy home for South Carolina's only public law school.
Of critical importance, university employees received a 3 percent salary increase. I know this felt like a welcome rain after a long summer drought but I also know that it is not enough - relative to the work and dedication you exhibit every day. Please know that I will continue to seek additional increases that are more in line with the rising cost of living that everyone faces.
I will advocate for this, because it is through your efforts that our university keeps advancing.
Our university continues to enjoy many prestigious rankings and USC remains the only university in South Carolina with the Carnegie top-tier designation for very high research. This is a coveted ranking thatputs us in the company of the most elite public and private universities in the United States. This year we will endeavor to maintain this ranking under the leadership of Provost Michael Amiridis and Vice President for Research Prakash Nagarkatti.
This past year also saw the first rating of public Honors Colleges and programs and I hope you were as pleased as I was to learn that we were designated as the nation's best.
Of course, there are many other academic distinctions and individual honors received last year and I salute the many award winners who are too numerous to highlight here.
Our faculty continues to shatter their own enviable record in research productivity and last year, the quarter of a billion dollars they were awarded was a major stimulus to the local and regional economies.
Our Carolina's Promise capital campaign also had a record breaking year for fundraising. We raised $146.8 million and we are now 60 percent of the way to our $1 billion dollar goal. While there were larger gifts, no gift was more special than the $3.8 million contributed through the Family Fund and I thank you, my Carolina family, for your generosity.
We remain appreciative of our committed corps of alumni volunteers and supporters. I'm excited about our Alumni Association's new leadership, Jack Claypoole as executive director and Eddie Brown as president. They have the right strategic vision for My Carolina - from mobilizing Gamecocksacross the globe, to plans for the new Alumni Center. It almost doesn't seem possible that a campus as gracious and hospitable as ours hasn't had a home for returning alumni. Together, we will rectify that and we will also expand membership and provide more value to our global network of one quarter of amillion alumni.
I wish to tip my cap to several athletic highlights here and around the system. You remember, of course, last year we rocked Williams-Brice Stadium as our mighty Gamecocks realized our first 11-win season ever. We then celebrated a raucous Capital One Bowl victory over a strong Nebraska team.
I was nervous before that game, given some prior bowl game outcomes. But afterwards, I celebrated around the trophy with Coach Spurrier and the team. He seemed to be like a first time coach. He didn't act like a coach who had won nearly 200 college football games; I like leaders who don't take things for granted; I think that being around students prevents you from feeling jaded or feeling like you're part of a redundant routine.
Other athletic success was abundant: women's basketball made it to their first-ever Sweet Sixteen; women's soccer won the SEC season title; men's soccer became the Conference USA regular season co-champion, women's tennis went to its 18th consecutive NCAA tournament, and our equestrians jumped to new heights winning the 2012 Southern Equestrian Championship.
And around the system . . .
The USC Beaufort Sandsharks baseball team qualified for the NAIA World Series, the USC-Aiken Pacers' men's basketball team won the Peach Belt season championship and the women's basketball team won the Peach Belt tournament.
USC Upstate Spartans' men's basketball coach Eddie Payne was named Atlantic Sun Conference Coach of the Year and the Hugh Durham Award as the Nation's Top Mid-Major Coach.
The USC Salkehatchie Indians' men's basketball team went to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Region 10 finals and the USC Lancaster's men's and women's tennis teams were named Region 10 champions. Go Lancers.
And, oh yes, our Gamecock baseball virtuosos made their third consecutive trip to Omaha and the College World Series Championship finals in June. I was there and not one fan gave up the hope of a 3-peat until thefinal out.
Confidence defines the University of South Carolina in 2012. In the past, confidence has not been in great abundance around here but it is part of what defines us today. Our confidence extends to the academic performance of athletes as well, as 121 of Carolina's student-athletes made the SEC's Spring Academic Honor Roll. Our new Athletics Director Ray Tanner and I agree on many things, and one is that the phrase "student-athlete" means exactly that: student first, athlete next.
Today, we are unveiling our university's first-ever integrated marketing and branding campaign, "No Limits."
You can see the colorful banners behind me, on the McKissick, and on the lanterns around the Horseshoe. "No Limits" defines the individuals who work, study, teach and graduate from our university. Each of you has a unique story and I am going to share a few of these stories this morning.
I begin with Kevin Stam, one of our students and soccer team members, who is joined today by coach Mark Berson. Kevin, will you stand? (And Coach, congrats on your great win last night.)
Kevin knows that the soccer field can be a battleground of tackling, shoving, attacking and counterattacking. You might think that those things wouldn't appeal to someone whose ultimate goal is international mediation.
But Kevin knows that just as competition is fierce, conflict resolution can be just as intense. Kevin, who is at the heart of his team's defense, is also getting the skills he needs to practice the art of peace.
As a Gamecock and a student who balances academics and athletics with focused career plans, Kevin's goals have no limits. Thank You, Kevin.
Julia Rhodes, will you please raise your hand?
A motorcycle crash, multiple surgeries and months of rehab altered Julia's plans. But the recovery made her stronger, more resilient.
As the reigning Miss Wheelchair South Carolina and a pre-med student, Julia is bringing awareness to painful conditions that are often invisible, like depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Julia knows people face these problems and often visits and advocates for them.
As a Gamecock, Julia's perseverance and courage have no limits.
I'm pleased that we have many impressive students, like Kevin and Julia, who will be representing Carolina as part of the new branding initiative. Our integrated marketing communications plan will allow us to convey the University of South Carolina to a global audience. We are not only South Carolina's flagship university; we want to be known as one of America's great public university beacons.
In many places, near and far, we are of course already a beacon. As a case in point, last week, I returned from Beijing and Hong Kong where I advanced partnerships with two of Asia's most prominent universities, the Chinese University of Hong Kong and the Beijing Language and Cultural University. They made it clear to me that they are proud to be partnering with USC and they help make our presence felt worldwide.
I'm pleased that we have experienced a 68 percent increase in study abroad participation in the past five years and also that this year we have a record-breaking 12 Fulbright Scholars who are currently ambassadors of the Gamecock nation in Asia, Europe and South America.
But now friends, we also need to face some tough realities together. This is a pivotal time in the history of higher education. While the nations with whom we compete are investing staggering sums of public funding to bring the opportunity of college to more of their people, American college enrollment is declining.
American cannot sit back and I'm pleased that USC is doing its part and that applications and enrollment are up here in Columbia.
Our USC system awards more baccalaureate degrees than all private institutions in the state combined and accounts for nearly half of all the baccalaureate degrees awarded by public universities. Still, we can't be complacent. We must do more and I'll be asking you, this year, to unite in a commitment and effort to provide greater access to college, and not just in an incremental way, but with a powerful push.
Our powerful push is known as Palmetto College and through a new array of online baccalaureate degrees, including nursing, teacher preparation, business, criminal justice and human services, Palmetto College will allow students who are place bound by family or work responsibilities or by the economy to earn a full USC bachelor's degree. Short of a massive infusion of new state funding in higher education, nothing will have a greater impact on college access in South Carolina in this second decade of the 21st century than Palmetto College.
I am grateful to the General Assembly for providing $5million in funding for Palmetto College and I'd like to recognize Senator John Courson, who is here this morning, for his leadership.
Palmetto College also comprises Back to Carolina whichinvites older students, who have completed 60 hours of college to complete their degree from home. The first cohort began this semester with 28 students.
Going forward, we will do more to increase access and degree completion. Our push this year will be to work with the faculty to find ways to make earning a degree as flexible as possible, especially with respect to time management. Students, you should be able to work toward a college degree onyour time, rather than, on our time. The college semester schedule that encourages a long summer break is a remnant of an agrarian society where families needed labor to till and harvest fields unencumbered by schoolwork.
I foresee a more flexible road map to graduation; one that is tailored to the individual. For example: a young woman may come to Carolina with substantial Advanced Placement credit. Why shouldn't she be able to graduate in 3 or 3 1/2 years if she desires?
A young man may need to take a semester off to earn money in order to better manage his educational debt. Why shouldn't he be able to still graduate in four years?
And another student might be looking for a great summer internship in advertising in NYC and finds that one is available in the fall but not in the summer. Shouldn't he or she be able to take a full load in the summer and then take the internship in the fall?
The answer to all of these questions, of course, is yes, absolutely, but the American college experience has become rigid and inflexible and this year we will work to recreate the academic calendar to have greater flexibility and options, especially in the summer, so that students, you will be allowed to graduate on your time.
I am also very proud that this fall we introduced the Gamecock Gateway program, a partnership with Midlands Technical College that has brought 165 students to live on our campus while preparing them for direct transfer next year to Carolina.
And the Gamecock Guarantee continues to provide college access to families whose average family income is less than $17,000.
Today, 450 students receive funding through this program and it's humbling to me that these students have an outstanding retention rate. In fact, 96 percent of last year's Gamecock Guarantee freshmen returned this year.
Of course, affordability affects access and I know that our Board of Trustees and our administration was proud that this year our tuition increase was the lowest since 1999 and at 3.15% for in-staters, the lowest increase among all SEC public institutions. Students can be reassured that we will continue to be conservative and restrained when planning for next year's cost of attendance.
Access and affordability will continue to be among ourhighest priorities this year. And replenishing our faculty will continue to be a high priority so that access will be key not just to a degree, but to an outstanding quality education.
We are in the midst of hiring 315 tenure and tenure-track positions by 2015. This includes 120 superb faculty members who joined us this fall and, because I know there are some in attendance this morning, I warmly welcome each of you to the Carolina family.
I also offer my congratulations to faculty members whocontinue to bring us honor and recognition. As one example, the Guggenheim Foundation presented School of Music assistant professor Fang Man with one of the nation's most prestigious fellowships. She has been hailed as "inventive and breathtaking" by New York Times critic Steven Smith. She plans to use the fellowship to compose an opera based on the life story of a British-Chinese pianist.
And faculty like Marjorie Spruill, epitomize the essence of "no limits." She is an excellent role model and representative of our outstanding faculty. Professor Spruill, will you please stand?
In 1972, Marjorie Spruill entered a voting booth, pulled the lever and cast a ballot for president. And though that was 40 years ago, she remembers voting for the first time as if it were yesterday. For Marjorie, voting is a civic privilege that should never be taken for granted. An expert in Southern women's suffrage—Marjorie and her students—have documented the battles to vote. They've come face-to-face with those who fought for that right. And time and again, they've proven that history is alive; that we are the products of our own personal histories.
They know that today's ideas shape tomorrow's actions. As Gamecocks, responsible citizenship has no limits. Thank you Marjorie.
Our students are fortunate to have professors like this and also to have USC Connect that offers leadership opportunities through research, internship, international experience and community-service.
I could stress any of these but I'd like to focus on community service. Last year, Carolina was the only university in the Palmetto State to earn a spot on the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. We were recognized because we partnered with dozens of local, national and global organizations that specialize in helping individuals and communities.
In fact, in 2010-11, 24,000 students, faculty and staff volunteers contributed 331,000 hours of community service.
Wilyem Cain knows all about community service. He is awonderful example of the power to be found in USC Connect. Wilyem, will youplease stand?
Wilyem lost his great-grandmother and felt lost. But when a seven-year-old child asked for friendship, Wilyem realized a renewed purpose. He became active in the local Boys and Girls Club, serving as a role model to area kids. Wilyem, a political science major, is now planning a future committed to children' advocacy and public service. As a Gamecock, Wilyem's community engagement has no limits. Thank you, Wilyem.
Our graduate and doctoral students are also critical to our university and this year we will review best practices for improving pathways to doctoral degrees by increasing fellowships and the number and amount of stipends. We are also working to facilitate timely graduation in the grueling pursuit of advanced degrees.
A good example of a graduate student embracing a "no limits" approach is Presidential Fellow Audrey Duke. Audrey, will you please stand?
Audrey's family of English and philosophy majors may not quite understand Audrey's fascination with chemistry, but they couldn't be more supportive. Audrey is excelling in a still-male dominated field with the goal of improved modeling of catalytic-systems. Audrey knows that our ability to reduce dependence on fossil fuels—while safeguarding the environment—requires an understanding of surface chemistry. As a Gamecock, Audrey's scientific exploration has no limits.
Safeguarding our campus environment and moving toward a more sustainable educational community continues to be a high priority for Patricia and me. We are so impressed that our students are leading the charge! Did you know that Carolina has the distinction of being the only university in South Carolina to make the Princeton Review's Green Honor Roll with the highest possible score?
We've been working on being garnet, black and green for a while.
In November 2009, under the leadership of Associate Vice President Derrick Huggins, we launched the "Genesis 2015 Initiative." We pledged to reduce the carbon-dioxide emissions from Carolina's vehicle fleet by 90 percent within five years. We determined to cut our use of petroleum by using ethanol, biodiesel, liquefied petroleum gas, electricity or hydrogen fuel cells. And we are on track.
Here's an interesting fact, the university has received two grants to produce biodiesel from waste cooking oil and grease after it's used on campus. Last spring, we purchased a mobile trailer and started producingbiodiesel from waste fat from dining halls and kitchens. Now it's being used in USC vehicles. So next time you get on a USC vehicle, and it smells like theState Fair, well, you'll understand!
As our time remaining is brief, I want to make a round-robin notation of the facilities that are being renovated or developed all around us. Our own "big dig" — the Darla Moore School of Business building is proceeding on budget and on time with the goal of creating the world's largest net zero building.
Maxcy International Residence Hall, Harper Elliott, Spigner House, and Booker T. Washington have all undergone significant renovations, and the biomedical engineering lab construction on Catawba Street is well underway. And, I have heard first-hand, that the Gamecock nation is thrilled with both the new videoboard installed at Williams Brice Stadium and the beautiful new parking and tailgating facility at the Farmer's Market development.
We received some funding for deferred maintenance from the state but we have much more to do. This year we will engage state leaders in a conversation about funding reform, and I look forward to a higher educationsummit called by Governor Haley on October 10.
I feel strongly that meaningful funding reform must beaddressed this year. We are nearing a perfect storm for higher education, high tuition, high debt loads, poor state funding, limited financial aid — at what point will South Carolina take on the hard issue of looking at how institutions are fulfilling their mission of educating South Carolinians and rewarding those that do a good job?
Significant funding disparities now exist between our state universities and the amounts appropriated to each university are arbitrary and only vaguely related to SC resident enrollment and quality of effort.
Reform, through performance, transparency, accountability and affordability metrics, must be the solution to providing critical and necessary state support for public higher education. This year may be our last chance for reform. We must also protect the vital role of the SC Education Lottery in providing the support to our students that, in many cases, means the difference between attending and not attending college at Carolina.
Ladies and gentlemen, by now, I hope you have increased your confidence in our ability to address the challenges we face this year by recognizing the many successes we had in the very challenging year we now leave behind. I hope that by now you also know the honor that I feel in continuing to serve you — the faculty, staff, students and communities of our university system, the eight stars of our USC Constellation. Whether you are in Aiken,Beaufort, Columbia, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter, Union, or Upstate, we are one university, we are one community and we are one family.
I am ready to lead us toward the challenges we face, as long as I have your trust and confidence. In turn, there is no limit to the deep respect and appreciation that I feel for each and every one of you. Thank you very much for sharing your morning with me.
We recently welcomed 4,600 freshmen to the University of South Carolina. We've been anticipating their arrival for months. Summer visitors have seen the visual cues: the bustle of carpenters, the artistry of new brickwork, the brush of paint on wrought iron. What our visitors could not see was the intense preparation of both faculty and staff as they thoughtfully crafted a student environment that offers academic success and personal transformation.
Research tells us that the first six weeks of our freshmen's lives on campus set the tone for the future. There is a built-in tension as they learn to balance new freedoms with new responsibilities. During my convocation speech, I give them a few healthy tips. I encourage them to walk Carolina's 450 acres. I remind them to take advantage of our exceptional wellness and fitness centers. I suggest that they eat well, exercise and also sleep well. We then introduce our students to the Carolinian Creed. It begins, "The community of scholars at the University of South Carolina is dedicated to personal and academic excellence. Choosing to join the community obligates each member to a code of civilized behavior." Indeed, they are obligated, not only to USC's community of more than 30,000 students, but also to the greater Columbia community. Both have high expectations.
While the conversation begins at convocation, I am fortunate that I have many experts to continue the dialogue. Of course, our primary focus is personal and academic excellence. We also recognize that students often struggle to make smart decisions regarding alcohol and drugs. I'm proud that USC continues to lead in this arena with a series of early education and prevention programs designed to inform, engage and provoke deeper reflection. AlcoholEdu, for example, is an online program that provides a series of articles and quizzes to educate students about alcohol use and abuse. All incoming and transfer students younger than 25 are required to complete this program.
During University 101, our nationally recognized seminar for first-year students, freshmen discuss responsible use of alcohol while also examining the dangers and consequences of risky behavior and poor judgment — which often happens while a student is under the influence. They soon realize they have an obligation to "stand up" and, as an example, confiscate car keys when a friend is impaired. Greek fraternities and sororities and members of the 400 clubs on campus also attend seminars and alcohol policy workshops. All of our Carolina students learn that there are not only health consequences but serious monetary and academic sanctions for infractions.
Community networking through the creation of the Carolina Community Coalition, composed of USC offices, police departments, Five Points and Vista vendors, the S.C. Beer Association, My Carolina Alumni Association, campus ministers, neighborhood associations and more, has also had a positive impact.
In addition, USC Health Services remains watchful for students who might be susceptible to depression. We recently provided extensive training so that students, faculty and staff are able to recognize depression's signs. Some students are reluctant to discuss health issues. For them, anonymous screening tools are available online. Students can continue to engage with online counselors or choose in- person, one-on-one or group counseling. As we strive for strong mental health, we provide suicide and psychological experts to help those in need. Our best defense, however, is found in programs like USC Connect, where students are engaged in meaningful service learning, international experiences, internships, undergraduate research and more.
Although students are actually the safest when on college campuses, we remain vigilant. USC's Sgt. Kenny Adams talks with student organizations about sense and caution. Shuttle services are available for extended hours to all campus locations and 250 call boxes are on campus should an emergency arise.
USC shares widely its beliefs and values in our own Carolinian Creed. It is worth repeating the lines, "Choosing to join the community obligates each member to a code of civilized behavior." To this end, I see great hope for the year ahead as our students live as Carolinians, by our code.
These first six weeks are critical. I am grateful for the diligent and constant work at the university and for our partnership with the Columbia community. While each student is ultimately responsible for his or her actions, we are all here to do whatever we can to help them make wise and appropriate choices.
Good afternoon, everyone, and a most sincere greeting to our new students and their wonderful families.
Although I'm identified in your programs this evening as the university president, I come to you also as a "scouting parent."
I hope you had a reasonably efficient Move-In Day. You've been to Target, Bed Bath and Beyond and, more importantly, you're starting to connect and maybe even bond with roommates and new friends.
This is one of my favorite weeks of the year. I get to meet you today; tomorrow morning, we'll be together again as we review the Freshman Year Reading Experience book "Motherless Brooklyn"; and then, we'll be shifting into second and third gear and by the end of the week we'll all be in high gear.
Your first week will seem to last a lifetime, I bet. But, as the seniors who graduated in our August commencement a few weeks ago told me, they don't know where the time went.
It's often that way, isn't it? When you take a trip, it seems to take a long time to get to your destination, but coming back seems to take half as long.
It's funny how time, the most certain constant in our lives as predicted by both the laws of physics and of nature, can play tricks on us. Of course, it's not nature playing the trick; it is we who are performing the magic trick.
As a scientist, I wanted to use the most precise measurement tools to create the largest and heaviest car while still playing fair.
And I wish you a magical start to your University of South Carolina experience.
It's an honor to serve as your president and I am beginning my fifth year. Before that, I was a vice president, and before that a dean and a professor. I guess that qualifies me to know this university pretty well. But I guarantee you that there are people, places and programs that I don't yet know. Therefore, each year I rekindle my own freshman spirit and anticipate finding even more new things, meeting even more people and certainly having many new experiences.
We will be seeing a lot of each other during the next four years and Patricia and I look forward to getting to know you.
There's a good chance that will happen in an informal encounter like walking on campus. I urge you whenever possible to walk to the diverse corners of this 450 acre campus and to consider not only the benefit of finding new things to look at and new places to pause, but also that physical activity is a fundamental ingredient of your wellness and of your academic success.
On days when I work out in the morning, expending energy and getting my heart rate up, I have more energy in the middle and at the end of the day. The more energy I expend, the more energy I have to spend later on.
Is that ironic or another bit of magic? I don't know, but I hope that you'll commit to a freshman year that includes lots of walking and exercise, both planned and spontaneous. You know, of course, that we have one of the finest wellness and fitness centers in the United States, please use it.
Allow me to add some other simple advice, it's neither philosophical nor intellectual:
Let me urge you to eat well, eat reasonably and remember that the foods you choose will also have a big impact on your wellness and your success. We have a fine partner in Sodexo food services, offering healthy dining choices as well as traditional ones on campus. We're confident you'll be given a healthy variety of foods to enjoy.
Also, don't underestimate the importance of sleep. Sleep deprivation is a common cause of mental fatigue,emotional duress and even compromised immunity. Now I'm not urging you to sleep through a class and certainly not in a class, but do recognize how a proper amount of sleep allows you to be at your peak and I ask you to try to achieve that most of the time.
I also urge you to use social media for your enjoyment and personal productivity. I don't need to do that, do I?
But what I mean is, use social media wisely. I don't suggest that you use it as the main format of interaction with your roommates, friends and professors, and especially not with your professors. Make a point of getting to know them, visit them during office hours, stop to say hello when you bump into them outside of the classroom.
College is likely to be the place where you form life's most enduring relationships. They need to be explored and sustained in interactions that are more direct than texting, tagging and tweeting.
Okay, I got that off my chest and you're still here.
Students and families, I'd also like to recommend, when you have 15 minutes or so, that you watch a TED talk on YouTube. You may know that TED and TEDx (Technology, Entertainment and Design) are online repositories of over 900 lectures delivered by world's most fascinating thinkers and doers who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes or less).
A very good talk is delivered by Angela Lee Duckworth, a young assistant professor of psychology who studies achievement at the University of Pennsylvania.
Her TEDx talk describes her studies of the characteristics that are common to high achievers. She and others have studied successful entrepreneurs, athletes, artists, West Point cadets and even spelling bee champions.
She has found the following: Talent and reasonably high IQ are relevant factors but research shows that they are not the major ones. Passion is also a relevant factor, just like the talent one is born with, that is also a positive predictor but not the main predictor. So what is the main predictor?
Well, it's something that she calls GRIT but I won't define it completely. I will tell you, however, that people who have perseverance, who commit to hard work and who finish the jobs that they start are bound for great things.
Watch her TEDx talk. You'll find the link to it in the university's home page story about convocation.
Now, students, let me tell you a little about your class.
Your class is represented by 40 states plus the District of Columbia and Guam and 13 countries.
Fifty-six percent of this class is comprised of women, which, by the way, is not unusual for freshmen classes at U.S. universities. And we may have a new record for twins. We have 23 sets in this freshman class.
No matter your point of origin, we celebrate your individuality and look forward to the exploration that is about to begin.
Being a student at a university, especially one as rich and diverse as ours, fosters the explorer spirit.
That is the freshman spirit, afterall, the spirit of an explorer, and I want you to be the best explorers you can be so that you can derive a unique experience that is the one you hoped forwhen you selected us.
There are over 400 campus clubs and organizations here. Participate! Get involved. Be smart about how much you choose to do and have fun.
Take an elective academic course that's perhaps far afield for you. If you're a student who is inclined to the humanities, listen to this.
This morning's New York Times spoke of a deft new robot that can do four jobs on the manufacturing line, welding - riveting, bonding and installing - with higher quality than dozens of manual workers, assembling cell phones, electric razors and even automobiles, for example.
You may be considering being an artist, poet or journalist but think of the inspiration you could draw upon from a single engineering course.
For those inclined toward quantitative and physical sciences, let's acknowledge that the technology of photography continues to improve, pixel by pixel. There's no photograph of a sunset, however, that can outmatch the vision created through the relationship between the human brain and the human eye.
Think about how a course in studio art, film studies or English could add some excellent perspective to whatever technical career to which you aspire.
There are absolutely no limits to what you can do and my goal for you is that you commit to a personal path of leadership. Our university will afford you every opportunity to graduate as a leader. I'm not talking about political leadership, but leadership in your family, community and professional lives.
Our leadership initiative comprises a commitment to community service, to civic participation, including voting, debating, if you choose to, and always to civil discourse.
The leadership initiative also includes a commitment to further developing and articulating your core values and a commitment to learning from your mistakes and failures.
People talk about bouncing back from failure, whether it's a poor test grade or regretting something you may have done, but I prefer to think of failure as an opportunity to bounce further ahead, in other words, to advance beyond where you were as a consequence of your failure.
I love what Winston Churchill said, "Kites fly highest against the wind, not with it." So when the wind is in your face remember, that is an opportunity to soar.
In closing, we're going to have a great year together. We're going to have a great football and fall sports season that includes a wonderful lineup of soccer, volleyball, cross country and track and field, and did I mention football?
And we will have outstanding speakers during your time at Carolina.
The class of 2012 had Vice President Joe Biden, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, lots of presidential candidates, Federal Reserve Chair and SC native son Ben Bernanke, not to mention Taylor Swift, Carrie Underwood, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Kenny Chesney, the Zack Brown Band and a surprise warm up concert by John Mayer.
I am absolutely certain the lineup you'll have will be every bit as popular and satisfying for you.
So remember that everything that I do, that these leaders on the platform do and that all employees at this university do is directly focused on you. We are here for you and are all terribly excited about this day.
We wish you a freshman year full of wellness, achievement, leadership and fun.
Good evening everyone!
Although I'm identified in your programs this evening as the university president, I come to you also as a "scouting parent."
Patricia and I were involved in both our son, Andrew's, and our daughter, Katharine's, Boy and Girl Scout troops in Amherst, Mass., and I accepted this speaking engagement immediately because I believe Scouting provides, at the earliest possible age, an important and possibly unique pathway to leadership. And nothing is more vital to our national wellbeing than creating more and better citizen-leaders.
I don't believe that leadership belongs in the domain of the few — the 1 percent, to borrow a current popular concept. I believe leadership must be practiced by the 99% as well. It should not just be for those in high offices, or with big salaries, or with celebrity or just for college presidents.
I think that what America needs is for all people to believe more in themselves as leaders — in family life, in community life, in faith life and in work life — much like the citizen-soldiers at the time of our nation's independence who rallied together even though they were not a trained military force. We are best served when leadership becomes a participatory activity and, in fact, is seen as a responsibility of citizenship.
Tonight, I'll share progress being made on the university's developing leadership initiatives — Participate, Innovate, Lead — and four specific cornerstones that we have identified much like the Boy Scout Law that we all know and respect.
The time I spent with Andrew in Scouting activities are among my fondest memories, although I also remember heartbreak. To this day, we still reminisce about the Pinewood Derby and our dreadful finish. We've had other disappointments, but this one really stayed with us. I can vividly remember assembling our car that "should not exceed 7 inches in length or 5 ounces in weight."
As a scientist, I wanted to use the most precise measurement tools to create the largest and heaviest car while still playing fair.
Boy, did I want to win! Andrew was more interested in the final paint job, as well as the numbering and lettering of the car. Well, long story short, we came in last or close to it.
It should have been a teachable moment, but I was the one pouting! Andrew did his best to console me and we moved on to many future successes but also ongoing setbacks. That is what life is about, after all. Certainly, as a working actor in New York City, Andrew continues to have setbacks. For every 15 auditions he goes on, he's rejected 14 times. But still he stays with his dream and he remembers.
Indeed, the first cornerstone of our leadership initiative concerns failure and what we do with it when we move on.
That's what we talk to our students about at USC and we start at Freshman Convocation, this year on Sunday, Aug. 25. I tell the freshmen and their parents that they will experience failure and possibly lots of it during their years at Carolina.
I brace myself for the pushback at the lemonade reception that follows. Quite a few parents will say, "I told my son/daughter not to worry about failure, that they're about to achieve great success at Carolina, and now you've told them that they should get ready to foul things up." Of course, nobody wants a student to foul things up, but it's what you do when you "foul up" that forms the experience that a leader will later draw on.
As Henry Ford said, "Failure is the opportunity to begin again, more intelligently."
We promote to our students the reading of biographies. For me, the most pleasurable genre of free-time reading is that of biography. I've nearly finished Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs.
I believe a common trait of leaders whom we admire, at least those that American culture admires, is the ability not to simply rebound from failure but to truly learn and become better as a result of the unwanted experience it brings.
We will always encourage the reading of biography, perhaps of distinguished leaders and of tyrants alike, and see what we can glean from their experiences.
The second cornerstone of our learning experience is a commitment to service. If I could have my way, I'd require community service and I will encourage it of every Carolina student.
Indeed, the opportunity to serve and to impact others has been the driving force in my career. First as a scientist and specifically as a public health scientist, I undertook research whenever possible that would have a direct impact, such as a study I did that identified a common chemical agent found in the workplace that led to increased rates of miscarriage. Ultimately, it was remediated, and to this day, I feel rewarded knowing that my work had impact.
Having even more direct impact was the main reason I left the secure, comfortable academic lifestyle that offered regular sabbaticals and chances to visit exotic places and to work with the brightest colleagues and graduate students, and to conduct research on important scientific questions in enviable locations.
While every university affords service opportunities, few large public research universities are willing to emphasize community service as a vital part of a student's college education.
On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, I prepared humble meals with a group of USC students, the Carolina Productions Group, at the Winter Shelter. Some of you know the Winter Shelter is located on the city of Columbia's former truck washing facility on Huger Street.
We made ham and cheese sandwiches on white bread for that night's dinner and we were well directed and even challenged by the supervisory staff that morning and afternoon. You see, we were tempted to add an extra piece of meat or cheese to the sandwich.
Only much later in the experience did we learn that our supervisors were, in fact, residents of the Winter Shelter. That blew our minds to realize that those requiring temporary shelter were a lot more like you and me than the stereotype we would have predicted. In fact, they were our bosses.
The third cornerstone relates to citizenship. I mentioned this earlier in my remarks and have spoken widely on this topic.
College is the final frontier like "Star Trek" in which our country can create better citizens. In other words, it's the last and best opportunity for America to inculcate citizenship to large numbers of people. You may not know there are 46,000 students in the USC system but, more impressively, the projected number of students enrolled in the nation's colleges and universities this fall is almost 20 million.
I believe universities have a responsibility to make students better citizens when they graduate, relative to their start as freshmen. Voting will be a big part of our initiative.
When I hear students complain about our country, I ask them if they vote — and they often look down at their feet and tell me that they've been busy and have to go to class. I tell them as they break away from the conversation that those who don't vote don't get to complain. Too many take voting for granted.
We often hear that people don't like any of the candidates. Surely, one is preferable to the others and surely all candidates are not the same.
My parents, both immigrants to America, took voting as a duty, an obligation to this country for the citizenship they had courageously sought in a new land. They couldn't imagine, in any election, no matter the candidates or the party differences, not taking their prideful place in line at the polls every Election Day.
The last cornerstone that I'll mention is that of core values.
And specifically, our hope is that every college student will develop and adopt a set of core values; not mine, but their own.
We've had our Carolinian Creed since 1990 and, without reciting it, it covers a commitment to personal and academic integrity; respecting the dignity of others; respecting the rights and property of others; demonstrating concern for others and, more recently, committing to open and civil discourse. That's a pretty good start for a student to add additional core values of their own.
I won't dwell on this last point, but so many in our society continue to lament the decline in national civil discourse — people like Kathleen Parker, Sen. Olympia Snowe and many others.
Lamenting it is one thing, but something we can do with young people is to teach them how to practice civil discourse. USC encourages vocal and passionate belief in one's own points of view but also insists on listening to and respecting the rights of others to express themselves with equal passion.
We have and will continue to invite persons of extreme viewpoints — not usually invited by the president or the Board of Trustees but usually by one or more of the hundreds of organizations on campus.
We make it clear, that whether the speaker is an evolutionist or a creationist, a fundamentalist or a Rastafarian, you will be escorted from the venue if you disrespect or interrupt the speaker. You will also be referred to the Student Judicial process. It's fine to be passionate but not fine to shout down or hurl epithets or pejorative comments at a person of opposing viewpoint.
Let me come back to Scouting. Scouting promotes leadership and reaches 2.6 million in the U.S. and includes Cub, Boy, Varsity & Venturer levels. Most importantly, it reaches boys earlier in life than universities do, creating better leaders and citizens and better people.
I admire the structured activities of Scouting, the respect for the great outdoors and even the uniforms. I believe uniforms tend to unify people from diverse backgrounds and persuasions to participate in wholesome fun and character building activities.
I understand the funds you are collecting tonight will support 8,000 youth members and 2,000 volunteers across eight counties. Thanks to your support, the lives of these young people have been positively altered by the investment of your personal time, energy and resources given to the community and to the Indian Waters Council of the Boy Scouts.
In closing, wouldn't it be nice if, despite our diversity and different points of view, we could in a civil, unified way do a Gamecock cheer? Maybe we could do a Scouting cheer, too.
1-2-3 Go Gamecocks!
1-2-3 Be Prepared!
Thank you very much.
I am excited about 2012. At USC we are ready to work harder and smarter to make this the best year in modern times. Our morale is high, teamwork is strong, and we are focused.
I am pleased to be with you today to present our Case for Carolina.
We are proud of the number of SC residents being educated at USC's eight campuses. Of the 45,774 enrolled in the system, 33,568 (or 73%) have SC residency...more than we or any university in the state's history have ever had.
We are committed to the Three As: accessibility, affordability, accountability. I wish excellence and quality started with an A, because that's who we are.
We're also acclaimed and adept.
Our strategic plan, Focus Carolina, calls for commitment to excellence in educational quality, leadership, innovation, diversity, access, global competitiveness, and community engagement.
The most acclaimed student body in our history, but the best rankings I could ever think of are student applications and student satisfaction. The number of applications is way up again this year, nearly 15%, continuing a strong trend.
In the 2011 National Survey of Student Engagement, 88% of our seniors reported that, if they could start college over again, they'd choose to go to USC again...92% of seniors evaluated their entire educational experience at USC "good or excellent" (Both of these are higher than responses from southeast public institutions, Carnegie class institutions and NSSE-participating institutions overall).
We have become so popular and we hate turning down qualified students. That's where our heart is...to be known for the number of students accepted, not rejected.I'd like to introduce USC Student Government President Joe Wright - from Clover, SC. His father works for Duke Energy and mother works at home; he is a strong advocate for students; he and his brother (a Winthrop grad) are first generation college attendees.
[Wright Presentation] Reiterating 33,568 students from SC, they're not all like Joe. We have a diverse student body.
Princeton Review cites USC as a Best Value, one of top 50 public colleges and universities in the nation and the only SC institution to make its 100 Best Value Colleges for 2011 list.
But we want to do better and to do more. We want to reach out to more students and we have found a way to do it.
I am pleased to introduce today...USC Palmetto College, the most significant reorganization in our modern history. With this concept, being considered now by our Board of Trustees, we are planning to consolidate our four outstanding regional campuses in Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter and Union into a single unit.
Palmetto College will offer on-line baccalaureate completion courses to students who get their associates degrees, but can't relocate to a four year college. Perhaps they have jobs and families, yet need a 4-year degree. Degrees in high demand fields...not physics and comparative literature but nursing, criminal justice, tourism. People with baccalaureate degrees earn on average $15,000 more.
It just won't be possible to educate more by expecting everyone to move to a four year campus. So we need to come to them.
We will meet them where they live and will do it more affordably than for-profit colleges do it.
Palmetto College is in complete harmony with the CHE and with General Assembly, who wants more affordable, accessible education.
There has been some news of reorganization in Georgia, but in SC we've also been thinking about how to do more with less by working smarter.
Reorganizing, USC will go from a system of 8 universities to a system of 5 universities with 8 campuses.
The degrees will be offered by our senior universities in Aiken, Beaufort, Upstate and Columbia and the technology we use will be first rate...but it will take an investment.
We ask you for $5 million in recurring funds and it may be the very best money that general assembly might spend this year. Of course we have plenty of details to support the request.
I also wish to talk about economic impact and job creation. It has been a great year and our research is spawning new companies.
They are small, but are sprouting up around town...some incubated here and others joining us because of opportunities. Recently, three started by USC faculty will be moving into the USC SCRA Innovation Center and Midlands Technical College Business Accelerator.
Big job creation news...Kennedy's plans to expand Nephron Pharmaceuticals in Midlands and add 700+ jobs locally, with an initial investment of $313 million is a direct outgrowth of their partnership with the university.
USC/Cola Technology Incubator is home to 22 companies spun-off by USC faculty or students. Can do better job bundling IP.
The Darla Moore School of Business economic outlook study found that USC has a $4.1 billion annual economic impact in South Carolina, and 1 in 37 jobs in SC is directly or indirectly tied to USC system. We're a big enterprise.
USC and alumni generate over $200 million a year in state tax revenues...this is $75 million more than USC receives in state appropriations each year.
Our research is also breaking records. $226.9 million in sponsored research in FY 2011, a 3.7% increase.
USC is the only SC institution with the Carnegie Foundation's highest research designation; one of 62 publics in US. One of 23 publics with rankings for very high research and for community engagement.
Boeing...we are in detailed conversations about what is the next step in creating jobs in SC by joining with them to create an R&D program that would serve them and others...stay tuned for this.
I ask you today to consider a one-time state contribution of $5 million to update and expand the equipment in some of our most sought after research labs in direct support of local and statewide industrial and economic development efforts. This would be in the fields of energy, including nuclear energy, material science and aerospace. This would be a direct investment in helping us to continue to attract knowledge economy companies.
School of Law
I'd like to talk about our School of Law and our building program to provide a state of the art facility on Senate Street just a few steps from here, so that we can even better serve the state's legal needs and the needs of the General Assembly in policy expertise.
Although none of you on this committee is a lawyer, 25% of House members are attorneys...and about a third of Senate is made up of attorneys.
As the only public law school in SC, we take our commitment to you and to policy development seriously but the building has outlived its useful life.
Last week two associate justices of the US Supreme court were here and they saw the great things being done here but they're being done in a building that has been outpaced by the times.
When the General Assembly last voted a capital improvement Bond Bill, Law School was allotted $10 million last year to buy land for a new building and remainder reserved for construction.
Fundraising is ongoing and has been very successful...we have approx. $20 million in hand; USC Board of Trustees committed ($30 million) to borrowing, and we have approximately $25 million left to raise.
The law school will house state's law library, Children's Law Center, and a new Rule of Law Center...Near Statehouse, Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, National Advocacy Center, downtown law firms and historic Horseshoe.
Our new dean's vision, refreshed curriculum and commitment to excellence has sparked energy, excitement and pride.
So the University seeks $10 million in non-recurring support to help build this new facility and if we get this we will seek approval to begin construction very quickly.
We have a capital renewal/deferred maintenance request of $20 million for system. The chancellors sitting here today have incredible needs. This amount includes $15 million for USC Columbia.
The USC system has over 6 million square feet of space for teaching and research, but some buildings are over 100 years old.
We are grateful to legislature for $11 million in last year's budget but there's a huge backlog of deferred maintenance in all phases.
Educational facilities account for over $300 million in deferred maintenance for the system. Support is needed for improvement of existing infrastructure...roofs, windows, mechanical systems, plumbing, HVAC, and exteriors....Hamilton $10M, Horseshoe windows $2M, central steam lines $1M, Hampton St $500K, masonry $500K, EMS $500K, steam expansion joints $500K.
At USC Columbia the asset value of buildings is in excess of $1 billion, which is expensive to maintain. We average $23 million per year spent on maintenance of educational facilities.
The University requests $20 million ($15 million for Columbia and $5 million for campuses) to help support these state-owned assets. Aiken $1.5M, Beaufort $1.5M, Upstate $1.5M, Lancaster $200K, Salk $125K, Sumter $125K, Union $50K.
Funding and Regulatory Reform
We have reached a critical threshold in funding SC Higher Education. Increasing tuition isn't a long-term remedy for larger problem.
Reform proposal, known as Accountability Based Funding (ABF), will be considered by the General Assembly. We need a fair, equitable distribution of higher education funding based on performance, accountability and transparency in higher education, using competitive annual benchmarks and goals.
USC is poised to lead efforts to adopt funding criteria that recognize and reward attracting resident students, graduating them on time, and helping them get jobs. That is a high quality education and that is what we do well. But, sadly, it is not how we are funded today.
We have campuses that receive far less per SC student than campuses outside the USC system and that is not fair. Both the Lancaster and Beaufort campuses effectively receive less than $1,230 in state appropriations per resident full time equivalent student. Other colleges and universities receive up to $5,000 per resident enrolled.
This MUST be the year for meaningful reform and USC, with you, will lead the way in reform. Let's get it done, gentlemen.
Education Lottery Scholarships/SmartState
I also wish to mention Education Lottery Scholarships and the SmartState Endowed Chair programs. We request that you continue funding and support.
We are, by far, the destination of choice for South Carolina's high school graduates with Lottery Scholarships.
1,430 Palmetto Fellows and 6,374 Life Scholarship recipients. Both of these represent huge increases, and show the interest South Carolina's best and brightest students have in our academic programs.
USC Columbia has the highest first-to-second year retention rate among public universities for Life and Palmetto Fellow awardees...over 90.4% of Palmetto Fellows advance to sophomore status and keep their award.
As for the SmartState Endowed Chairs, we have attracted 16 SmartState chairs and through their innovation, attracted half a dozen new companies, created new jobs, and continue to bring cutting-edge research to our state.
We will work with Secretary Hitt to revise program as needed and tailor it even more to focus areas that will bring new jobs to SC.
Aiken: Celebrating 12 consecutive years ranked among the Top 3 Public Baccalaureate Colleges in the South by US News' "America's Best Colleges."
Nearly 3,300 students; USCA and alumni support 2,163 jobs in public and private sectors.
Beaufort: One of the oldest traditions of higher education in the nation, dating to the 1795 charter of the original Beaufort College, and it is the newest of USC's senior campuses.
Nearly 2,000 students; USC Beaufort and its alumni support 1,011 jobs in the public and private sectors
Lancaster: Established in 1959 to encourage higher education in Chester, Chesterfield, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster & York counties.
1,744 students; USCL and its alumni support 746 jobs in the public and private sectors directly and indirectly through purchasing in the community.
Salkehatchie: More than 1,150 students at Lowcountry campuses in Allendale and Walterboro, offering a varied curriculum grounded in the liberal arts.
USC Salk and its alumni support 550 jobs in the public and private sectors directly and indirectly through purchasing in the community.
Sumter: More than 1,000 students, many of them active duty military and veterans from nearby Shaw Air Force Base.
USCS and its alumni support 417 jobs in the public and private sectors directly and indirectly.
Union: Established 47 years ago to provide higher education opportunities in Laurens and Union counties with enrollment of almost 500 (492), USCU supports jobs, increases household income and boosts overall economy.
USCU and its alumni support 167 jobs in the public and private sectors directly and indirectly.
Upstate: Vision of becoming one of South's leading metropolitan universities — acknowledges as its fundamental reason for being is its relationship to surrounding cities, their connecting corridors and expanding populations.
5,500 students and its alumni is more than $388 million; Upstate and its alumni support 4,130 jobs in the public and private sectors directly and indirectly.
ConclusionUSC is on the move forward. You can see it in our students, our alumni, and our vision. We are the State's flagship university and we take that responsibility seriously. We will keep our efficiency high and our tuition affordable, and we will produce the education outcomes the State needs to grow its economy.
Appropriations to USC are an investment in the future of SC. That money turns over many, many times in our economy, and our productivity is a huge net gain to the State's General Fund.
We seek support for defined objectives. We are not greedy. We are not wasteful, and we are not careless.
You may have heard about our billion dollar capital campaign and we are well on the way to achieving this. A goal never even dreamed of by any institution in our state.
And, oh by the way, the success of our athletic programs including back-to-back world series champions in baseball, opening day is Feb 17 vs VMI, and our great football season culminating in a take-down of Nebraska, a perennial power. In case you're wondering, Marcus Lattimore is doing well in his recovery.
So we are proud to be called the University FOR South Carolina and we plan to produce even better results for South Carolina. Education is the future for all of our people.
Thank you Governor Haley and Secretary Hitt for holding this announcement on the University's historic horseshoe.
And thank you, Bill and Lou Kennedy, for coming to your alma mater to make this announcement about the next phase of your entrepreneurship.
I'm also pleased to be with Mike Briggs (president/CEO, Central SC Alliance); Jim Kinard; and Dean Joe DiPiro from our own South Carolina College of Pharmacy.
Several days ago, Patricia and I returned from Italy where I was attending a meeting and while in Florence I was stunned, frankly, to be reminded that history's greatest renaissance took place within a very small region and over a very short period of time. Some of the greatest names in cultural history came together during the span of one or two short lifetimes...Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Brunelleschi, Dante, Machiavelli, and many others.
I wondered how it happened...and, as I read more about it, the answer became clear. It was the leadership of the business or merchant community, especially the Medicis and the Sforzas, supported by local and regional governments, who came together in ways that the Western world had never seen. It was private/public partnership... and the people flourished and the economy grew.
This morning we see the next step in South Carolina's and the Midlands' renaissance. It's being led by the private sector...by the BMWs and the Boeings and the Bridgestones and the Continentals and the Nephrons, supported by government and, I hope I can say, by our research universities.
We've already said thank you, 30 million times, to Bill and Lou Kennedy since their announcement on September 17, outside of Discovery Center in Innovista, when they established the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center at the University of South Carolina.
The Center was conceived to merge the disciplines of pharmacy on one hand and business on the other, to create a generation of pharmacy innovators who will keep the American pharmaceutical enterprise the most entrepreneurial on theplanet.
We couldn't have known then that they would be contemplating the addition of a manufacturing enterprise of the kind being announced today...and, if I may say, Bill and Lou, I don't think that you foresaw that either on that day.
But this is exactly the formula that the University of South Carolina and our sister research universities are prescribing (if you allow the pun), to continue to advance South Carolina's role on the national and global economic stage. It's why we are starting to be called the SMART STATE.
Soon, our students will have an opportunity to put their education to work in a new way.
We have been inspired by Bill and Lou over and over again. They are home-grown heroes who have not forgotten the importance of home.
The Kennedy clan, including Lou's parents William and Nancy Wood of Lexington, and their many other family and friends are among the most devoted Gamecocks to be found. Their choice to locate in Lexington county was a sound business decision but surely must be emotional for them as well.
We are gratified to see the Innovista mission to create, grow and attract knowledge economy jobs in South Carolina in action and moving forward today.
Governor Haley has been adamant about job creation and bringing new life to our state's business and work environment.
Secretary Hitt, along with Governor Haley, is becoming a frequent face in announcing new interest from companies in this wonderful state of ours.
Opportunity is born when local and state collaboration takes advantage of university strengths and visionary leaderslike Bill and Lou Kennedy.
So here we are, experiencing a South Carolina renaissance, exactly at the time when we need it most — when jobs are needed more than ever. But let's also remember that while our renaissance is just moving into a higher gear, it will take all of our efforts all the time to keep the momentum going.
This university pledges the full force of its talent to Nephron Pharmaceuticals and also to the state of South Carolina. We are here 24 -7 to help in every way possible to make sure our South Carolina renaissance is here to stay.
Best wishes to all on this wonderful day.
It is a great honor and pleasure to be with my esteemed colleagues, all of whom share with me a common affection for the culture of the People's Republic of China. I especially wish to thank our sponsors from the Beijing Language and Culture University (BLCU), as well as our local hosts from the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore.
I am aware that the Universita Cattolica is one of the largest private universities in Europe and one of the most distinguished Catholic universities in the world. I also know that this university is one unified with five campuses; likewise, the University of South Carolina is unified with eight campuses. We serve nearly 50,000 students on campuses distributed throughout our state of South Carolina, which is located on the Atlantic, or East, coast of the United States.
Our Confucius Institute was established on July 3, 2008, and formally opened on November 17, with a celebration including a fashion exhibit, a documentary screening, a theatrical performance by artists from the Nanjing Normal University, and a business retrospective of the 2008 Beijing Olympics held at our internationally renowned Darla Moore School ofBusiness. Notably, Georgia State University President Mark Becker was our provost at the time and signed ouragreements with Beijing Language and Culture University and the Office of the Chinese Language Council International.
Since its establishment, our Institute increased our campus' library media holdings, has held screenings of documentaries and popular films, and has promoted Chinese language and culture through courses, film festivals, exhibitions and various interactions on our main campus and our other campuses around the State of South Carolina.
We are proud to be a part of the legacy begun in June 2004 in Tashkent, Uzbekistan with the first Confucius Institute. The Hanban and BLCU have established 350 Confucius Institutes and 430 Confucius Classrooms in 103 countries and regions. The National Office for Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language has supported our international university-based efforts consistently and generously. We have done much fine work and some of it was reported at the last international meeting in Keimyng University in Daegu, Korea in 2010. We are here today to discuss how we can make more of an impact. I believe our progress can be accelerated by creating linkages between specific ConfuciusInstitutes that have common themes.
I pledge that, along with my colleagues, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences Mary Anne Fitzpatrick and Confucius Institute Director Dr. Tan Ye, that the Confucius Institute at the University of South Carolina will be a good, strong partner with our fellow institutes and with our community. The Confucius Institute has been elevated to be a prominent cultural center at the Universities of South Carolina. When we receive dignitaries from Asia and around the world, we let them know of our Institute and our impressive film and other media treasures. In fact, we have one of the largest modern Chinese film collections in our Libraries, due to the generosity and confidence of the Hanban.
We thank the Hanban for entrusting us in 2009 with a significant Chinese Film Collection and have been honored by visits from Hanban and BCLU, dance troupes, theatrical companies, and media experts who have participated in seminars, festivals and symposia with our faculty, students, and business community.
My presentation today will propose that this is the time for our network of Confucius Institutes' partnerships to move beyond the merely academic setting. While we already have many partnerships with local schools, I believe it is time we begin to link our activities with the broader community of businesses, including the traditional for-profit organizations, as well as not-for-profit enterprises, including museums and other culturally engaged organizations. Developing these new partnerships will deepen and broaden our ability to disseminate the historical significance of China's Confucian heritage, as well as the important cultural contributions being made by China throughout the world. Participation with new sectors will also allow our Confucius Institutes to reach new and important audiences.
Let me provide several examples to demonstrate the proposed partnerships with new businesses and other organizations. We continue to see, worldwide, great ongoing interest in the study of the Chinese language. The interest is not only from our students or our faculty who collaborate with Chinese researchers, but also from many businesses and organizations in South Carolina and our region of the United States who wish to have greater commercial presence in China or do more business with Chinese companies.
Like our students, they need to learn the language and the customs of the Chinese people but I believe they also should know more about the great Confucius philosophy that modern China is built upon. In return for involvement in our language and cultural expositions, gallery exhibits, dances, music, art and other displays of China's talent and treasured culture, we would be able to receive contributions in funding or other material support.
Our Confucius Institutes need to capitalize on enormous economic development activities and interest occurring between Chinese companies and business leaders and their international partners in the United States and other countries. When a business from the region being served by a particular Confucius Institute secures a commitment from a Chinese business, the Confucius Institute administrators would reach out and host the new business people, inviting them to Confucius Institute activities and perhaps exploring opportunities to deliver lectures.
It may be possible to propose sponsorship opportunities to businesses in the geographic areas of our institutions. The businesses would provide a certain level of support to us; in turn, they could send a specified number of employees,executives, families, and others to attend selected Confucius Institute activities. This is one way for their companies to draw closer to China.
Another way to collaborate would be to offer to create exhibits and displays designed by our own Institutes' experts, teachers, and students, together, in their corporate locations and offices. Such avenues of collaboration are good for our institutions, not only because we might attract new funding but also because it is our mission to disseminate the work we're doing to a broader audience.
Some of my colleagues may worry about diluting the academic environment in which we live and work with the motives of competition or industry, but I believe if managed properly, all conflicts could be avoided. Universities in the United States and abroad have been pressured for support from their home state. This will, of course, continue.
We've already turned to the business community for partnerships; my university has partnerships for senior faculty positions including endowed chairs, corporate support for athletic stadiums and othervenues, and most importantly our professors, especially in scientific areas, routinely receive contracts from companies and conduct research in areas that are pertinent to both the university and corporate partners. I don't see why such corporate partnerships can't also be developed in the areas of our Confucius Institute, and perhaps yours.
In our university, we have modeled agreements for memoranda of understanding or even more specific contracts that are executed regularly with companies. Theseagreements specify the responsibilities of both parties as well as the details of how to work out conflicts during the period of work.
While I have focused on opportunities to interact with businesses in the regions where we're located, I feel that expanding partnerships with a wide array of non-profit cultural organizations should also be advanced. For example, in the State of South Carolina, we have a government entity that is responsible for raising the appreciation of the arts in our state. We plan to work with the South Carolina Arts Commission to increase the awareness of the cultural richness offered at our university, through performance, and the literary and museum holdings within our eight-university system. This would lead to a diversification of the audience that would benefit from the activities of our university and of our Confucius Institute. Many of the state's museums and art organizations are focused on childhood cultural education and there is also eagerness for families of young American children to have them learn of Chinese culture and language. I'm confident this is true in other states and countries represented at this conference.
Of course, a challenge faced by many of our Confucius Institutes is in having the personnel to do more of this outreach. At the University of South Carolina, ourCollege of Education and Office of International Programs would be of greatassistance in engaging our students and our community in outreach and educational efforts, sharing the wealth of knowledge and the treasures of film and literature with a young and eager audience of children in South Carolina schools, museums and other venues. Classes have already been taught in many elementary and high schoolsaround our state, an example of how our system of eight campuses can help us reach students before they enroll in college.
In the area of language study, in particular, it may be possible during periods when our Mandarin instructors are not directly engaged in teaching at our universities that they may be willing to providebeginning language instruction to executives or other employees and their families who are planning to travel to China. I believe such opportunities would be quite popular. I recognize, of course, that our cherished instructors, especially those who come to us from the Beijing Cultural and Language University, need time to relax and travel. However, there may be an opportunity to provide such outreach services on a limited basis.
Ultimately, the work of our Confucius Institute is only powerful if it reaches large numbers of people and I believe that broadening our partnerships beyond the purely academic world into the business world, and into the non-governmental and not-for-profit world, will provide an efficient and effective vehicle for further dissemination of the Confucius heritage and culture.
I would like to make one other recommendation at this time, and that is to create a formal, bilateral agreement between ConfuciusInstitutes that have related themes. For example, those focused on music might collaborate and find opportunities tocreate a program or exhibition on a subject of contemporary Chinese music that could then be shared with each Confucius Institute. The Confucius Institute of Chinese Opera at Binghamton University in New York and the University of Sussex's Mei Lanang Confucius Institute of Opera are examples of two very good centers that could, perhaps, be even stronger together. Worldwide, museums of course create exhibits that tour the world andthis would be modeled after that.
One Confucius Institute that focuses on childhood language training could develop a curriculum or books or other teaching technology that could be shared with all other Confucius Institutes. Eventually, Hanban may choose to create a resource inventory of materials, exhibits, etc. that had been created and they would be catalogued for future, widespread use, particularly if approval of new Confucius Institutes is slower in the future. Having such cultural and language and educational resources may be agood way for current Confucius Institutes to continue to disseminate aspects of Chinese history, philosophy and contemporary culture.
I note that through history there's a debate as to whether pasta was first produced by the Chinese or the Italians. Pasta is now a worldwide fundamental food and it is a tribute to both cultures. I'm pleased we're finally able to say that the debate is over. Chinese and Italian cultures have come together perfectly at this meeting to advance our common heritage and to advance the interests of disseminating and supporting the rich Chinese culture throughout the world.
We will continue to strengthen our Institute, and will bring the beauty and honor and history of China, especially expressed through theatre, film and dance, to our eight-university system and to our community. We make this pledge to the Beijing Language and Culture University and the Office of the Chinese Language Council International and we look forward to a bright future together.
In closing, I hope these ideas might well stimulate further informal discussions throughout our meeting. I look forward to hearing from other distinguished colleagues. Through innovative and strong partnerships, developing relationships academically and culturally, we can meet the needs of Chinese companies coming to South Carolina, and to other locations worldwide, and to help companies from our area hoping to expand in China become more aware of its beautiful language and its extremely significant culture.
On Sept. 23, 2011, the University of South Carolina broke ground for what we believe will be one of the most innovative and energy-efficient buildings in the country. The Darla Moore School of Business has had an enviable record of academic excellence and its future home promises to reflect the inventiveness and creativity that are synonymous with the history of the school.
The building's design will incorporate advanced environmental technologies. For example, the roof will feature green turf to reduce heat and improve energy efficiency. The structure will maximize natural light and shade for cooling, and occupants will benefit from outdoor vistas, pristine air quality, and control of heating, air and lighting in their own spaces. Furthermore, the design incorporates large communal areas in a way that creates dynamic centers for the community. The building will not only be environmentally friendly, but it will also cultivate a social environment, fostering an individual student's relationship with the largercommunity. At Carolina, our first priority is our students, so it is appropriate that we give them a physical space which enriches their mental development.
As the president of the University, I am proud to reaffirm our commitment to practices that are ecologically responsible. Still, we also have the task to make sure the developments are financially sound. In the present economy, in the wake of an economic recession, a rigorous cost-benefit analysis must be assessed for every major expenditure. So the question is oftenasked, quite reasonably, why sustainability? Why now?
These are fair questions. But we must all acknowledge a few realities:
1) Developing and industrialized nations consume an exorbitant amount of energy;
2) The planet's energy resources, including water and oil, are being diminished exponentially;
3) As these resources decline, they become more expensive and exclusive.
If we do nothing, the world we leave to the generations that follow us will be mired in conflict over resource allocation and will be depleted of its natural beauty. We have a moral obligation to ensure that this does not happen and the University of South Carolina is going to be part of the solution.
Fortunately, the move toward sustainability is cost-efficient and, if done intelligently, could be extremely remunerative. Having spent much of my career in public health, I know the effectiveness of preventative strategies on the front-end, which are nearlyalways cheaper and lead to a better quality of life for the patient. The same is true for energy. If we invest a little more now, the savings over time will more than compensate for the expenditures we make today.
Whether it is a part of the curriculum, the construction or the social environment of our students, sustainability is becoming a significant element of the Carolinian mindset. We have already seen the benefits of environmental technologies from many of the developments we have made across our campus. The retrofitting of Patterson Hall has resulted in reduced water consumption by 40 percent and a 16 percent decrease of energyoutput.
At the Hollings Library, a reflective roof, water conservation and energy-efficient insulation have allowed us to create substantial savings while constructing one of the finest libraries for special collections in the southeast. For all future projects, much of the material we will use will come from local suppliers, helping to reduce the fuel consumption and travel costs associated with the transfer of goods, as well as benefitting the local economy. We also plan on being able to recycle 70 percent to 90 percent of all waste we generate.
As part of our 'Genesis 2015' Initiative, we plan on reducing the carbon dioxide emissions of our vehicles by 90 percent. To reach this end, some of our departments have already begun utilizing greener forms of transportation. In Housing, electric and solar service vehicles serve students just as well as their gasoline counterparts, but at a fraction of the cost. The Division of Law Enforcement now uses electric motorcycles, which require no gasoline and even the battery is 100 percent recyclable. Remarkably, the cost of operation is approximately 1 dollar every 100 miles.
For public transportation, the University has organized the shuttle routes for maximum accessibility. By making the shuttle as convenient as possible, we encourage our students to take advantage of cleaner transportation. Additionally, University shuttles run on bio-diesel fuel to ensure that we are limiting our negative environmental impact as much aspossible.
Infrastructures that incorporate green technologies have been shown to improve the health, productivity, and overall happiness of all occupants. Because of this, we are making it a goal to refit all of our dormitories. As a campus with a large student body, we can use this as an opportunity to research sustainable practices. We can compare similar populations in different environments, allowing for scientific studies to examine the improvement green technologies have on health, academic achievement, graduation rates, and scholastic research.
Ultimately, our goal as a University is to retrofit all buildings with energy efficient features, to make sustainability a priority on every new construction project, and to become carbon neutral in the next 50years. This is a new era of environmental responsibility at Carolina. Within the next decade, we hope to decrease energy consumption by 40 percent. Our road is not the easy one. But it is the right one.
If we maintain our resolve, we could become one of the first universities to reach the goal of complete energy efficiency. Where our University has succeeded in the past is where we have emphasized the values of creativity, innovation, and leadership. To solve the problem of energy, these are precisely the qualities that will be necessary right now and, I am proud to say, the University of South Carolina is ready and willing to answer the demands of progress.
Thank you so much for inviting me to join you today to announce the completion of the newly renovated Patterson Hall – or as I know some like to call it, the “Patty Shack.” Patricia and I love it so much that we may just have to move in!
I have several things that I would like to share with you all today, but first, I want to recognize the entire team at Garvin Design for their hard work. These renovations to Patterson Hall bring a beloved building into the forefront of design and sustainability while retaining its architectural heritage.
I also want to thank all of the contractors, crewmembers and planners whose hard work went into this building. And let me thank all of the faculty and staff for bearing with us during the construction, and the students who participated in the focus groups. You provided feedback on what you wanted in your new dormitory ... and let me tell you, we listened!
You know, I say "dormitory," but Patterson is much more than just a dorm – it is a living history. I don't know if you knew this or not, but we currently have two students – Mariah Howard and Lexie Player – whose mothers both lived in Patterson in the 1980s. I'm sure that those moms are impressed to see the changes that have been brought about over the last 30 years and in this wonderful renovation. Perhaps their Aerosmith, AC/DC, Yes, and ZZ Top posters have been replaced by ... do you even hang posters anymore? ... They've been replaced by iPods and viewing videos on tablets!
But let me tell you a story that you may not know about Patterson Hall. Did you know that Patterson, built in the 1960s, was originally known as the South Building? So why was it renamed after Dr. William Patterson, USC's 24th president? The name wasn't changed because it was too plain; the building was renamed because William Patterson embodied what it meant to be a Gamecock.
Dr. Patterson was a member of BOTH the history AND the engineering faculty here on campus. He was a well-rounded, visionary leader who knew – and taught – the value of a liberal arts education. And Dr. Patterson was also one of the key figures in establishing our system of eight Universities of South Carolina, giving students all across the state the opportunity to be a part of our Gamecock family.
You see, the building was renamed Patterson Hall so that we would remember what it means to embody the spirit of learning, service, and leadership that makes this university great. And I think that we have embraced this same spirit of innovation and leadership with the current renovations to Patterson Hall: a commitment to sustainability and cutting-edge housing.
This is why your new residence hall has bicycle storage, low-flow faucets and showerheads, and has been made from recyclables wherever possible. Patterson Hall will now consume 40% less water and 16% less energy. There is more natural light, a cyber lounge, study rooms, and Wi-Fi access for each student.
We want this residence hall to be your home at Carolina – an environment that becomes an infrastructure for success. Students, my hope is that you will take up the challenge of Dr. William Patterson and show our Gamecock family that you are the leaders and innovators that we so desperately need in the world today.
Two weeks ago, I quoted Winston Churchill when we broke ground on the new Darla Moore School of Business. Churchill once said, "We shape our buildings; then they shape us." We have an excellent new residence hall for the enjoyment and shaping of many. I think President Patterson would be proud.
So again, thank you to our planning production staff – and students, faculty and staff, welcome home to the new heart of campus!
Good morning, everyone.Thank you, Joe. I am honored to be joined by you and the other student government leaders today including Andrew Dorsey, President of the Graduate Student Union. All of you ably represent the student body and are an important part of the leadership team.
And thank you, Becky Phillips and the Mighty Sound of the Southeast, our wonderful marching band!
Also joining us today are people who help guide and support our eight university system with their tireless energy. I am pleased that members of the Board of Trustees, Board of Visitors and Alumni Association Board of Governors are with us.
As always, I’m happy to recognize my wife, and your First Lady, Patricia. Patricia, thank you for all of your efforts on behalf of the university and the greater community.
We're also pleased that representatives of city and county government are with us. We thank you for all that you do in Columbia, the Midlands region, and our state.
As always, I'm happy to recognize my wife, and your First Lady, Patricia. Patricia, thank you forThe Horseshoe symbolizes our history but also represents the great promise of our future. Think of the men and women who walked this ground, those who lived and learned in these buildings, and even those who planted these trees...people who participated in the life of the University, who innovated when they had to, and who led when their leadership was needed. They were the people who paved the very long brick path that brought us to where we stand today.
This morning I'll offer some remarks about the last year, expressed through the achievements of our own students, faculty, and staff, and I'll spend some of our time together talking about our future.
Let me start by focusing on our students. My most enjoyable moments as President are those that I spend with our students. They are the ultimate reason we are here and they are also the great promise of America.
In the tradition of 9 freshmen who in 1805 formed the first class of South Carolina College, the class of 2015 started their college career at Carolina on August 18th. This is a class selected from the largest, brightest and most diverse pool of high school applicants ever, in Columbia and throughout the system.
We now serve more South Carolinians than ever; in fact, nearly half of the state's sons and daughters enrolled in a public college today are enrolled in the universities of South Carolina.
We are honored that students from all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, and from 113 nations are also currently enrolled in our university.
Our students and their families recognize what has been reflected in national publications and rankings. Last year, the Princeton Review listed us as a top 50 "best value" public university – the only South Carolina college on the list. And Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine described us as a top choice in the nation and one that delivers the "best BA for the buck."
And we continue to cherish the designation by the Carnegie Foundation as being in the top tier of American research Universities. Coupled with Carnegie's assessment of our community engagement, we are one of only 23 elite public universities to be included in both top rankings.
More important than rankings, though, we take pride and joy at seeing our students grow and thrive.
I would like to recognize one of them here. Reggie Bain is one of two Carolina Scholars who were named as Goldwater Scholars this year. Together with Jim Talbert, he formed Carolina Science Outreach, a science demonstration project for k-12 schools around Columbia. Reggie, would you stand?
Another outstanding student is Elizabeth Wilson, from Georgetown, SC, who will soon appear in a new Carolina television spot. Elizabeth is USC's Outstanding Woman of the Year for 2011, and plans to graduate next May with degrees in international business, finance, marketing, management science and real estate, and concentrations in three foreign languages, Spanish, French and Portuguese. And she plans to complete these degrees in just three years! Despite her hectic schedule, Elizabeth volunteers with many organizations, including Waverly Family Practice where she promotes diabetes awareness. Elizabeth, would you stand...
Finally, I'd like to recognize a student who is a native of Greer, SC. A week after pitching in the thriller of a lifetime in Omaha – make that Back to Back thrills of a lifetime – he left for Alicante on the east coast of Spain for an intensive four-week program to improve his Spanish.
This young man demonstrates team leadership and has done extraordinarily well in his studies at Carolina. Please join me in welcoming a representative of one of USC's greatest achievements from the last year, from our two time College Baseball World Series team, All American pitcher Michael Roth.
This year we will be resolute in protecting the health, safety and overall well being of our student body. Everyone has noted the university's response to several regrettable incidents of alcohol abuse early in this semester. We needed to take strong action to represent the university's position and the students' interest. It's a pact we've made with families to take the best care of their sons and daughters while they are within our guardianship. I believe the actions we took will yield the appropriate results. There is nothing more important that we can do than to protect the lives and the well being of our students and our entire community. This is a very serious matter.
This week, we honor the memory of visiting EPI student Won Woo Choi from Seoul, South Korea who we lost this weekend.
And, of course, last Friday this campus was honored to memorialize Associate Professor Jennifer Wilson (whose funeral took place yesterday in St. Louis, Missouri).
We must continue to be vigilant and look out for one another, like a family. We must educate and protect one other. Professionals at health centers, in Law Enforcement and Safety, and other organizations on our campus and throughout the Midlands are here to support us.
In my three years as president, I have been dedicated to creating a leadership environment – where personal accountability, new and open thinking, civil discourse and respect are hallmark values. Leadership is evident in the creative and innovative work of our faculty, and our progress during the last few years has been noticed.
Our faculty ranks were strengthened by 3 national academy members, 3 fellows of the American Council of Learned Societies, and 1 National Medal of Science winner. These and our other outstanding faculty members worked to help us set another milestone record for federal research funding this past year, reaching $227 million.
We welcomed several new Smart State endowed chairs.
Dr. Chris Rorden will direct the Brain Imaging Center in the College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. J.C. Regalbuto will join the Renewable Fuel Cell Center of Economic Excellence in the College of Engineering and Computing later this fall. And Dr. Igor Roninson has joined our Translational Cancer Therapeutics Center in the SC College of Pharmacy.
We also welcomed four new deans: Dr. Steven Lynn, of the South Carolina Honors College; Dr. Anna Scheyette, College of Social Work; Dr. Lemuel W. Watson, College of Education; and Dr. Rob Wilcox, School of Law.
Also, while unable to join us today, I welcome Dr. Tom Moore as our new Chancellor at USC Upstate.
I'd now like to recognize Dr. Darcy Freedman, professor of social work, who is here with us (and I'm pleased that she's brought her class as well!). Darcy led the establishment of Right Choice, State Farmers Market in Orangeburg, which creates business opportunities for local farmers and provides access to fresh fruits and vegetables to rural South Carolinians as a means of fighting obesity and promoting healthy living.
Professor Joel Samuels of our Law School, who grew up in Sierra Leone while his father served as U.S. Ambassador, is here too. Joel worked for two years to organize and present a conference, Rebuilding Sierra Leone: Changing Institutions and Culture, which drew speakers and participants from all over the world.
Thank you, Darcy, Joel, and all faculty members here today. I thank you for all that you do throughout the year.
This year we must continue to replenish our shrinking faculty ranks so that studentfaculty ratios stay in line with the best and most competitive universities in the country. Therefore, this fall we will begin searching for 42 new faculty, chosen in areas of greatest student demand. And they will contribute to USCConnect, an innovative approach that integrates learning within and beyond the classroom.
With record enrollments, the University has countless organizational needs....we have many students who need academic, health and career guidance, and we have the day-to-day needs of running a billion dollar a year institution with efficiency and accountability.
I thank the quiet leadership that each of Carolina’s staff members brings to keeping the order. Carolina’s professional and unclassified staff members deserve our greatest respect. You are not infrastructure; you are the foundation of our success.
Let me recognize Derrick Huggins for his service to the larger community as well as to the University. Derrick has led the Think College program, a community initiative launched by our Office of Undergraduate Admissions. It began when Derrick made a presentation about pathways to college at Bright Light Baptist Church in Heath Springs, [Lancaster County] where he grew up. Dawn Staley made an appearance, too, reminding the elementary and high school students that sacrifices are necessary to move ahead in life.
I'd also like to salute another staff member, Saddler Taylor, chief curator of Folklife and Fieldwork at our McKissick Museum, for his service to our country. He's been deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan, and soon will be going to Kosovo, with the S.C. National Guard in a field artillery unit.
Thank you, Derrick and Saddler.
Of course, we need to take even better care of our staff and faculty.
In a recent NY Times article entitled, "Do Happier People Work Harder?," we were reminded that employed Americans spend more waking hours at work than anywhere else. When people feel a higher calling to their jobs, they work strongly and productively. So promoting our staffs' wellbeing is both the right thing to do and it makes economic sense.
Although not what I believe you deserved in total, I'm pleased that our Board of Trustees authorized a merit bonus plan for those earning below a set level. It is only a gesture to some, but I hope it's also a statement of our commitment to you. In spite of the lingering economic slump, I have asked our CFO and Provost to develop a proposal for a more significant merit salary adjustment for staff and faculty next year. We simply cannot afford to lose the talent that is the core of our excellence at a time when we need this talent the most.
And we must also take even better care of our physical infrastructure.
Deferred maintenance will always challenge our resources and the General Assembly is to be thanked this year for providing $11 million in one-time funds to help us offset some of our needs throughout the system.
This year, we totally renovated Patterson Hall, and Harper/Elliott and DeSaussure apartments. Woodrow was painted inside and out and our intramural practice field was re-sodded. The Russell House's third floor was given new paint, carpet and furniture and almost 150 new seats were added in the Grand Marketplace and we added power outlets for laptops/phones/iPad charging while you eat. I guess you could now call the Grand Marketplace a Power Bar!
We will continue to identify facilities in need of renewal this year, while also advancing several exciting projects including the ground breaking for the new Darla Moore School of Business; the completion of our Athletics' village and the Farmers Market parking and pre-game area. We will also complete our Innovista Horizon and Discovery centers, and we plan to adopt and implement our student residential master plan.
As everyone knows money still matters and that there is less of it that we can depend on the State to provide. This is the new reality and we accept that we must be ever more self-reliant. We recognize that the State will not be in the position or have the inclination to provide substantial increases in our appropriation, which now is below 10% of our revenue.
Our budget model is more like that of a private university today than that of a public university of yesterday, but we will remain very sensitive to the plight of students and their families who invest their precious resources in our university. We are making this promise to them. We will never ask for a dollar more in tuition if it is not directly tied to improving the already high quality of their education. When we don't need to invest in a vital program we won't ask for the money; on the other hand, we cannot devalue the excellent educational experience that we are known for because that would devalue the promise that we have made to the newest generation of Carolinians. We will be restrained in any future tuition increases, but the quality that has become the cornerstone of our education cannot be allowed to recede.
On November 11, we will kick off the largest comprehensive fund-raising campaign in the history of the entire state of South Carolina. Lofty goals like this require all of us to move into "Campaign Mode." This means that personal leadership, increased pride, extra attention to customer service – everything we do as our core business is notched up a bit as we remind corporations, foundations, alumni and other friends that the University of South Carolina is the best place for them to invest – THIS is the place that offers the greatest promise for our future and for their future. The Campaign will give us an opportunity to describe our commitment and our focus.
We have outlined several Initiatives that bring focus and expression to areas that I see as the University's highest priorities, in addition to our first class education. This past year, through the generosity of our alumna and highest benefactor, Darla Moore, we were able to begin planning the Ronald E. McNair Center for Aerospace Innovation and Research which will help create a cluster of knowledge-based aerospace companies, including Boeing and many smaller companies too, by providing applied research and development, and by creating the aerospace future workforce.
Other campaign initiatives are focused around the Rule of Law, increasing access to high quality public education; creating a healthier state and nation; contributing to a sustainable energy future for America, and developing an enriched leadership curriculum and innovative leadership experiences for our students. I believe that these are the right initiatives to help inspire our friends and partners to further invest. An investment in these initiatives is an investment in our students, the state of South Carolina, our nation and the world.
Advancing society is what great universities have done throughout history. Universities helped spark the recovery of America after World War II...they helped our nation put Gus Grissom into space and Neil Armstrong on the moon. And they can help America compete with other world powers without sacrificing our freedoms and our commitment to serve.
And Carolina alumni have never been thwarted by the unknown. They have been drawn through curiosity into new situations, driven to discovery, and have risen to the titles of "problem solvers" and "leaders."
In the coming year, I we will be moving forward on the decision to announce a new home for these USC alumni... through the tenaciousness of our Alumni Association Board of Governors, we hope to build a long-awaited, new facility in the coming years.
While speaking of alumni, let me introduce you to two of our newest, Brent McCauley and Michael Hunter,...over here on their bikes. On September 11 of this year, and over the next 18 months and more than 25,000 miles, they will bike across America, to the highest points in all 50 states. Sassafras Mountain near Pickens, SC, is their first stop, sponsored by our Office of Outdoor Recreation and in memory of President Andrew Sorensen. Eventually they plan to catch a ride on a sailboat to Hawaii, keeping their carbon footprint small, as they reach Mauna Kea. Their adventure is called Cycle for the Summit and they hope to raise $50,000 in support of a program for weeklong urban youth expeditions. Brent and Michael are just two of the 250,000 USC graduates I count on for inspiration and support. You can monitor their progress on line and even contribute to their effort at www.cycleforthesummit.com.
This year, we need all of our alumni’s energy in amplifying the messages about the University of South Carolina.
Earlier I mentioned Tom Moore is the new Chancellor of USC Upstate. Within the comprehensive four year university sector, USC Upstate ranks second in the number of South Carolinians enrolled. And the George Dean Johnson School of Business and Economics is an important part of the downtown Spartanburg renaissance. USC Upstate and USC Aiken consistently rank in the USNews listing of the top 5 four-year baccalaureate granting public colleges in the South.
I'll be at USC Aiken this Saturday to help Chancellor Tom Hallman celebrate their 50th anniversary. Congratulations to the Pacer family.
I am pleased to note that USC Beaufort, led by Chancellor Jane Upshaw, is experiencing the largest proportional growth in the system at their Hilton Head Gateway campus while their historic Beaufort campus is becoming a mecca for the arts and culture.
Our regional universities, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter, and Union, continue to provide a college education, the calling card for success in America, in some of the most hard-pressed regions of this state.
This year we will be proposing to our Board of Trustees a plan to provide increased educational access at our regional campuses for South Carolinians who are placebound or particularly impacted by our current economy, through the use of technology and on line education. Stay tuned for this exciting proposal.
Over the past year, the decision to expand our medical school to Greenville has been widely discussed. It is on track for accreditation and I'm pleased to say, we are planning to admit our first students in 2012. At the same time we are working with Palmetto Health to increase the training of doctors here in Columbia. Around the rural parts of our state it is increasingly difficult to access physicians and we are doing our part to mitigate the shortage and the maldistribution which will otherwise continue to grow. I know you will agree that this is the right thing to do.
The final person I wish to introduce today also saw a need and did the right thing, but she is not part of the Carolina family....yet.
Patricia recently met Katie Scagliano, a 13-year-old Pinewood Prep student in Summerville. Katie's story began in 2008 with a cabbage seedling she brought home from school and planted. When that seedling became a 40-pound head of cabbage, she donated it to a soup kitchen where it helped to feed more than 275 people. From that experience, she established a garden at her school and has established a not for profit corporation, raised funds, and now offers grants to other kids to start school-based gardens to be used for food banks. Her organization is known as "Katie's Krops," and she was asked to appear before the United Nations to share her experience. Katie you participate, you innovate and you lead. You are an entrepreneur with a big heart....and we hope you will consider enrolling in Carolina's class of 2021. Will you and your mom, Stacy, please stand and be recognized.
Katie’s story brings me again to my personal refrain for the year: Participate, Innovate, and Lead and that is reflected in the beautiful banners behind me.
I believe that these are three words that embody the best of our University’s legacy and the greatness of our tomorrow.
Life without participation is like being a passenger in a journey without knowing where you are going. Without participating as a citizen of the University or, indeed of our great country, through community service and through voting, means we have less of a voice in our future.
And without innovation, South Carolina and America will be in danger of losing the edge that has created the most resourceful, creative and industrious people in history. The University of South Carolina must and will contribute to America's spirit of innovation.
And finally, to lead. All of our state and national universities provide a good education. However, few are the universities who accept a role in leading their state to higher levels of economic performance and social well being, and who can actually deliver on that promise.
This is the promise of a Flagship University, carrying the flag of its State, seeing the name of its state embedded in its own name. This is the University for South Carolina, the one who participates, innovates, and leads.
Our Gamecock spirit is evident in all we do and this is the best year for us as individuals to participate, to innovate and to lead.
In closing, let me remind you that we are proudly displaying our two College World Series trophies and I welcome you to get your picture taken with them. Coach Tanner wants to share these back-to-back victories broadly. I found the quiet strength, perseverance and character exhibited by our College Series Back to Back Champion baseball teams served as an inspiration for our University of South Carolina leadership. Who among us did not swell with pride over their performance? Who did not stand an inch taller when we heard the humor, the dedication to team work and the kindness that flowed from the words used by our players at the end of the series?
I wish you the very best for the year ahead. May we all do all we can to serve to the best of our abilities and to reach more people and impact more lives than ever. I am so very proud to serve you as President and I wish you a most successful, healthy and exciting year.
And now, I would ask Patricia, Joe and Andrew to join me at the podium. They'll draw raffle tickets for some great door prizes. Then we invite you to have your photo taken with the CWS trophies and to stay for some light refreshments.
Dr. Harris Pastides addressed incoming freshmen and their parents at USC'S annual Freshman Convocation.
I come in the spirit of partnership. State government will have a tough year ... USC will have a tough year. But I know for sure that we can still do good things together and our citizens deserve no less.
So I come to you today with a succinct—and I hope a clear— message about the university's priorities, which are:
At the end of my four-point presentation, I'll have some requests for your consideration.
Message One: Accessibility
USC's eight campuses have all responded to the legislature's concerns about increasing access to higher education. As the Flagship university, we accept every academically qualified South Carolina student. And the University is now educating more South Carolinians than ever before in our history ... more, in fact, than ever before in the history of any institution in the state.
The minimum admission requirements on the Columbia campus are a 3.0 GPA and a 1000 SAT score. Students who don't meet these minimum qualifications in Columbia are encouraged to apply to our regional and senior campuses, which offer equally wonderful options based on the individual student's ability for academic success. There is a seat and there is support for every single qualified high school graduate of South Carolina at our university.
We take seriously our mission to be the University FOR South Carolina. Nearly 34,000 of USC's 44,557 current students are South Carolina residents, and nearly 165,000 of our 258,000 alumni live in the Palmetto State.
South Carolinians comprise 77 percent of our system enrollment and the number of South Carolinians enrolled here has increased nearly 22 percent (by 6,000) in the past 10 years.
In that same time frame, the number of SC students graduating from the USC System has increased from about 6,100 to 6,600 each year. We now confer approximately 40 percent of all baccalaureate degrees issued by public institutions in this state.
Diversity is also a primary goal for us. In 2010, system enrollment of African American students numbered over 7,000 ... notably, USC Columbia's freshman class experienced a 30 percent increase. We now educate more African American students than any other university in the state, including S.C. State University.
We have admitted more S.C. students with significant financial need than ever before. We have the Gamecock Guarantee, a need-based financial- and academic-support program that promises that each eligible student's undergraduate tuition and technology fee will be covered for up to four years if the student meets the program's academic, financial, and participation criteria. At a minimum, it provides each participant an award of $2,500 per year. Athletics has directed $1 million towards this effort.
South Carolina K-12 is producing excellent graduates who are leaving a mark on USC and on the state in unique ways. Let me pause here and introduce Alex Tracy, a senior from Pinopolis in Berkeley County and an international studies major.
We are so proud of Alex and all that she has done and is bound to achieve. Her proud father, Damon Tracy, is here with us.
What Tracy knows is that Kiplinger's Personal Finance magazine has placed USC among the nation's “Top 100 Best Values in Public Education” which, according to the publication, are universities that, “despite shrinking budgets, deliver a stellar education at an affordable price.”
Message Two: Affordability
My second message is about affordability. Let me assure you that USC is and will remain affordable for South Carolinians.
Our sticker price isn't low—$9,786 in Columbia—and that is because our state has chosen to fund students through the education lottery rather than directly giving aid to USC.
However, the average out-of-pocket tuition expense for an in-state freshman at USC Columbia is $2,680.
I'm resolute in my belief that the high quality education that students like Alex receive, in the S.C. Honors College or the Capstone program, or anywhere at USC Columbia or our campuses in Aiken, Beaufort, Lancaster, Salkehatchie, Sumter, Union or Upstate—is well worth that modest out of pocket expense for our South Carolina families.
Less than one quarter of our students are from out of state. And I would like to reiterate that a South Carolinians' access to USC is never shortchanged by our admission of out-of-state students. USC, including USC Columbia, accepts every academically qualified resident student, as I've said before.
There will be much discussion in this session of the General Assembly about the enrollment of out of state students. Let me assure you that they make a great impact on the quality of life and on the economy of the university and the entire state.
In practical terms, the average out-of-state student pays three times as much tuition at USC as in-state students. In fact, out-of-state students provide about $112 million in net revenue per year to the University. That's more than our state appropriation.
USC's administration and Board of Trustees carefully monitor the ratio of in- and out-of-state students to ensure that the education of South Carolina's students remains our priority.
MESSAGE THREE: Increased Efficiency, Transparency & Sacrifice
In finding ways to increase access and affordability, having lost half of our state support in a two-year period, we have tightened our belts, held our breath, increased teaching loads, decreased travel, frozen hiring, and have taken many other measures, which are outlined in your handout.
The state appropriation currently stands at approximately 10 percent of our budget. In finding ways to grow to accommodate the needs of South Carolina students and to do so with less state funding, we have realized savings through increased efficiencies and targeted budget reductions. Please know that we have held spending constant while increasing our enrollment dramatically.
Examples of how we have been able to do that are included in your packet, but please let me point out a few:
As for transparency, we have signed on to Speaker Harrell's initiative and have always been supportive because we know how much this process helps us to keep the public's trust and support of our mission.
Another way that we increase our efficiency is to partner with and to raise funds from the private sector. The best example of such a partnership is the expansion of our medical program at the Greenville Hospital System. As former dean of the Arnold School of Public Health, I am proud to tell you that the USC/GHS program has a sound ten-year budget model that requires not one dollar of state appropriations. It is not a threat to established medical programs in our state and will not diminish the resources for existing medical programs in SC.
But every year, MUSC and USC turn down qualified South Carolinians who want to be doctors for lack of capacity—and we need more doctors in this state.
It is our duty to step up, and with a pledge of private funding we are able to do this. It is likely that any American medical school with this pledge of private financial support would do the same thing. We look forward to presenting our case to the Commission on Higher Education on February 3.
MESSAGE FOUR: Advancing the state's economic future
My fourth point relates to our important role in advancing the state's economic future. USC is this state's only Carnegie “very high” research university, a member of a group of 108 public and private universities recognized for this highest level of research and the gold standard for assessing research capability.
We use this as a base for driving the Innovista concept. I'm pleased to say that the concept is working, and we count some 753 jobs, with salaries averaging $63,000, in Innovista, with 1,000 more with the announcement of AQT Solar, an Innovista partner, coming soon ... and our best days are ahead.
We plan to work with AQT, Boeing, Palmetto Health and other large and small SC industries to make sure our state becomes the true economic engine for the United States and our future.
In closing, I have some requests for you. I'd like to ask that you not take a regulatory approach to the University's conduct of business in terms of tuition and admissions, and that you maintain support of our critical lottery funded scholarships.
In closing, the University of South Carolina has been responsive in answering the need for increased accessibility, and we still remain an affordable option. We accept every academically qualified South Carolina student and, with an average out-of-pocket tuition expense of less than $2,700, we feel that we remain affordable.
Know that the University of South Carolina is South Carolina's University and we will always be responsive and responsible to the needs of our state.
Thank you, Dr. Pastides, and thank you Representatives Limehouse, Skelton and Neal for this time to tell you about myself, my experience at the University of South Carolina and the impact of your decisions on the students at USC.
I am grateful for the opportunity to represent the Carolina community and my fellow Gamecocks.
As Dr. Pastides mentioned, I am from Pinopolis, in Berkeley County, and was born and raised in South Carolina. I am set to graduate in May from the USC Honors College with a degree in international studies.
I am proud to be a student of the University's Honors College as well as one of the 80 USC students who have earned the Carolina Scholarship, the University's most prestigious scholarship for in-state students. I also earned the lottery-funded Palmetto Fellows Scholarship, and so the issues surrounding funds generated by the higher education lottery are very important to me.
Funding, both private and public, have made my education possible. My family is not different from many others in South Carolina in that, when deciding where to continue my education, funding was a top concern. My younger sister is now applying to universities and the award of the Palmetto Fellows scholarship for her academic achievement is a blessing to our family, as it has been for the past four years of my education.
As the academic reputation of USC Columbia has grown significantly in recent years, the number of USC students with Palmetto Fellows awards (the Education Lottery scholarship for the highest achieving students) has increased 61 percent, and the dollar value of those awards has increased 99 percent since 2004.
These funds are awarded to us based on the hard work and effort we chose to put in during our high school years, and we choose where to invest them. I am aware that sometimes lottery funds from scholarships are counted as state appropriations, but hope that you know that the universities do not receive them unless they are attracting students who want to invest their money there.
I am proud of the investment I chose and the future that lies ahead of me with the excellent education and experiences it has provided me through the University of South Carolina.
One of the reasons I chose to make my investment in USC was its commitment to an international education for its students. In my junior year, I had the opportunity to study abroad at the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom. It was through scholarships that I was able to fund my experience abroad, which has been one of the greatest opportunities I have had.
USC also offered me leadership and service opportunities that I don't think I could have had anywhere else. I have served as a member of the Freshman Council in Student Government, as well as an executive officer in Sigma Alpha Omega, the Christian sorority at USC. I have also served as an executive officer in the Carolina Service Council, whose on-campus service projects are made possible through student activity fees and whose impact is felt far beyond the campus limits.
But I have also been interested in what you do here, in the South Carolina legislature. I have twice served as a page for Representative David Umphlett and have had the great opportunity to see the South Carolina government at work. Please let me say what a privilege it was to serve with Representative Umphlett and know that my thoughts and prayers are with him in the difficult challenges he is facing.
But the opportunity provided to me here, at the State House, led me to further opportunities outside of South Carolina. In the summer of 2009 I was able to serve as an intern for Congressman Henry Brown in Washington, D.C.
When I was 18, I made the decision to become a Gamecock, much to the dismay of my family of Clemson fans. I know that my decision to come to USC, however much it annoyed my mom, was the best decision I could have made for my education, not only because of the knowledge I am leaving with, but also through what I have been able to achieve during my time there. Now, if only I can convince my sister of the same thing.
Please, as you consider higher education funding, remember us, the students, who are directly affected by the decisions you make here. I, along with so many other students, hope to make a lasting mark on our great state and lead it into the future knowing that we have had the greatest opportunities in our education.
Higher education isn't a budget line to those of us at public universities. It is an opportunity to take that next step to reach our greatest potential. Please remember me and the faces of the tens of thousands of South Carolina students who stand behind me when you deliberate over the future of higher education.
Thank you, and Go Gamecocks!
Good afternoon everyone. Thank you for coming to our State of the University address. I come to you at the beginning of my third year as USC's president and in the 209th year of our historic university.
I feel very fortunate to serve as your president and I am committed to each and every one of you -- every student, professor, instructor, staff member, and frankly, every citizen of our state -- committed to doing the best that I can, each and every day, to help realize your full potential and our full potential -- towards the betterment of our students and of our society.
Every year in Carolina's history has seen its ups and downs, and the one behind us has been no different. The downs can be characterized, fundamentally, by the continuing difficult economic news we received throughout the past year. For the second year in a row, we were handed some of the steepest funding cuts that any American university has experienced and the cuts were of a magnitude that have sent colleges around our state and around America reeling.
The ups, however, were extraordinary and now we are stronger, more focused, and more determined than ever not to allow circumstances to define who we are or where we're going.
I want to clearly acknowledge the sacrifices you have made to keep us strong in the wake of continuing reductions. I recognize that you have foregone raises, that we haven't been able to replace positions over the past few years, and that more and more work is demanded of you. I thank you for these sacrifices, and I'm determined to find ways to reward your contributions, over time.
When I stood at this same podium a year ago, who would have thought that the accomplishments of this past year were possible?
We welcomed an all-time record number of freshman students here in Columbia and throughout our system of eight universities.
We are the predominant university of the state in that we confer nearly half of the baccalaureate and graduate degrees in South Carolina. We welcome that distinction and, as I've said before, we prefer to be known for the number of students we admit, rather than by the number we reject.
And although we're a larger community, we are still a caring Carolina. One of the things that makes me most proud -- that makes all of us proud -- is the Carolina spirit that is exemplified by giving back.
Last year, our University family contributed more than 350,000 volunteer hours and nearly $1.5 million in donations to organizations and causes that better our communities. In particular, I would like to applaud your efforts to raise support for those affected by the terrible earthquake in Haiti back in January, and for the annual Dance Marathon, in which our students raised tens of thousands of dollars for the Children's Hospital here in Columbia.
And that Carolina spirit continues. Next spring our student government association is planning an alternative spring break. It will be a week of service in the Dominican Republic and I can only imagine how tired -- but also how rejuvenated -- the students will be when they return. I'd like to recognize our Student Body President Ebbie Yazdani, Vice President Taylor Cain, Treasurer Peter Schaeffing, and Graduate Student Association President Ben Bullock and I thank them for their tireless efforts on our behalf.
It was also an outstanding year in terms of donor support, and that's especially notable when you consider that the Chronicle of Philanthropy reported an 11 percent decline in donations to the 400 top charitable organizations in the United States.
I commend the generosity of the 47,000 alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Carolina from whom we received more than $117 million in private support. Those gifts helped fund scholarships, academic programs, and building projects and provided the extra margin that helps us to deliver a unique undergraduate experience to our students -- the kind of experience you can see so clearly at Carolina.
Some gifts have been truly exceptional. Bill and Lou Kennedy of Florida took their Carolina degrees into the real world and achieved a great deal of success, and now they want to inspire more Carolina students to follow their path. Their $30-million contribution has created the Kennedy Pharmacy Innovation Center, offering students in the SC College of Pharmacy an opportunity to experience innovation and entrepreneurship before they get to their own “real world.” This center has a unique relationship with the Darla Moore School of Business, which will offer courses in entrepreneurship and even a joint MBA for students earning their pharmacy degrees.
A few years from now, the Moore School will be in the heart of Innovista, across the street from the Kennedy Innovation Center in the Discovery building.
The Moore School's move to Innovista, by the way, will be a match made in heaven --market-savvy business faculty teaming with entrepreneurial scientists and our imaginative students to spark more start-up companies. That is quintessential Innovista.
We will need more investments like the Kennedys' as we look ahead to the coming year when we launch the public phase of our new capital campaign. I'm not ready to announce the monetary target, but I can let you in on a secret. It will be the largest capital campaign of any institution in the history of our state.
In the opening video, you heard from Don Herriott, a widely respected business leader, who is now directing Innovista. He's focusing on what Innovista is all about -- creating jobs by commercializing the significant intellectual property created by our faculty.
Since 2000, our Technology Incubator has graduated 27 companies and created 720 new jobs -- and the incubator has dozens more companies in the pipeline.
And elsewhere in the University system: at USC Aiken's Small Business Development Center, which won national recognition two years ago, continues to foster start-up companies that region. One of the newest start-ups in the Columbia incubator is SysEDA, which is using intellectual property developed in the College of Engineering and Computing by electrical engineering professor Roger Dougal and is tapping into the expertise of the Darla Moore School of Business to build an innovative company. Kelly Truesdale is the COO of SysEDA, and he has a Moore School connection, too. He earned his IMBA degree this past May and is now heading this exciting new company.
And we had another record year in research funding -- and my hat's off to faculty colleagues throughout the system. We are in the highest tier of research universities in this country, a recognition conferred upon us by the Carnegie Foundation in 2006, and this month validated by the National Research Council, which recognized graduate programs across the spectrum of the humanities and sciences. In addition to having the top-ranked engineering programs in South Carolina, several other departments merit recognition.
The English department is ranked number five in the South for program quality and number three for faculty research.
Biology is ranked eighth in the South for program quality and seventh for faculty research.
And the geography department is ranked number two in the South, both for program quality and faculty research.
And the geography department is ranked number two in the South, both for program quality and faculty research.
I want our faculty to know that Provost Amiridis is working on a faculty replenishment plan, as well as a faculty retention program. We simply CANNOT lose the momentum we gained with the Faculty Excellence and Centenary Plan initiatives.
We will do this, of course, without state funding because there is no new state funding to look forward to. Yet we will find alternative sources for faculty and staff salaries because we must; anything less would result in a diluted student learning experience and that is what must be avoided. Our core is teaching and learning, and quality teaching and learning cannot take place in an atmosphere of depletion and defection. The plan to be developed will likely include a senior faculty program, as well as an interdisciplinary cluster faculty program.
I'm also pleased by the recognitions of excellence and progress that are occurring around the University system.
Starting with our vital 2-year campuses:
USC Salkehatchie History assistant professor Sarah Miller received the inaugural John J. Duffy Distinguished Professor Award for Regional Campuses.
USC Sumter Biology professor Pearl Fernandes was recognized as a finalist for the Governors Professor of the Year awards
USC Lancaster's Native American Studies Archives director Brent Burgin was honored by the 2010 American Folklore Society with its Brenda McCallum prize.
And USC Union, which reached its highest enrollment ever this fall.
And at our comprehensive universities -- Aiken, Beaufort, and Upstate – there also is progress worth noting.
USC Beaufort's enrollment is booming on the modern and bustling Bluffton campus, as well as on our historic Beaufort campus where the arts are flourishing with the opening of its studio art program.
USC Beaufort is home to recipient of the Governor's Professor of the Year award, Dr. Babet Villena-Alvarez. I congratulate both Dr. Fernandes in Sumter as well as Dr Villena-Alvarez for this recognition, which was announced this month.
Once again, USC Aiken and USC Upstate were among the best regional universities in the South in U.S. News & World Report.
At USC Aiken, which will be celebrating its 50th anniversary next year, Dr. Tom Mack was recently presented with the South Carolina Center for the Book's Teaching Award.
And at Upstate, we opened the George Dean Johnson, Jr. School of Business and Economics. I recommend to each of you, if you're ever within a short driving distance to downtown Spartanburg, stop by this breathtaking building. It's an asset for this university and is revitalizing the downtown area.
Back here in Columbia, our new Honors Residence Hall achieved a LEED Gold rating, which is a testament to our commitment as a university to real sustainability.
And we also opened the new Hollings Library, which houses our Special Collections, Digital Collections, and Modern Political Collections. We enjoyed an unforgettable visit from Vice President Joe Biden, who shared the stage with Congressman Clyburn and Senator Graham and, of course, Senator Hollings.
But more important than our buildings are our people and our outreach. One of our key research strengths is in health disparities.
Health disparities affect people across the Palmetto State; it's often a matter of living in rural or economically depressed areas where it's difficult to get access to regular health care. Citizens in those places often lack insurance or transportation, sometimes neglecting health problems that could have been treated successfully early on.
This year, Professor Saundra Glover in the Arnold School of Public Health received a $6.7 million five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to further develop our efforts in studying cancer and other health disparities, as well as training the next generation of public health professionals with our partner, Claflin University.
Hearing the facts from a practitioner like Dr. Ralph Riley – a rural physician who practices family medicine in Saluda, South Carolina -- convinces me that we must educate more primary care doctors in this state. That's why we're so committed to increasing the size of our medical school classes with our two traditional primary clinical partners, Palmetto Health here in Columbia, and the Greenville Hospital System.
Having devoted my career not only to higher education but also to public health, I can tell you that the most cost-effective thing we can do is to put more primary care doctors, as part of teams that include nurses and other health professionals, in the underserved areas of our state.
Earlier this year, the boards of this university and GHS unanimously approved plans to move forward in establishing another campus of our School of Medicine in Greenville to train more doctors and to help meet this state's health care needs for decades to come. It's important to note that no state funding will be used in the budget model for this program.
And the Palmetto Health hospital system supports our efforts to expand the number of doctors taught at our School of Medicine campus here in Columbia, as well. Chuck Beaman, the CEO of Palmetto Health, realizes that a larger pool of physicians is vital to his system's ability to care for its clients throughout the Midlands. I commend our dean of the USC School of Medicine, Dick Hoppmann, who has been a strong leader of the school, during this time of economic difficulty and of growth.
Speaking of supplying more health care professionals, I salute the first nursing graduates from USC Salkehatchie and USC Lancaster this spring. They completed rigorous programs, taught by faculty on those campuses and by our College of Nursing here on the Columbia campus, and now they are part of a desperately needed health care workforce in this state. Other firsts in that regard include our first class of biomedical engineers in a program jointly developed by our School of Medicine and College of Engineering and Computing.
On the other side of our professional school spectrum, our Law School is going to be resurgent in the period ahead. We are committed to ushering in a new year of meaningful progress for the law school and I thank Dean Pratt (who is teaching a class right now) and the previous deans who have helped to lay this foundation.
We have high expectations that the school's Blue Ribbon Committee and the Dean's Search Committee will propose a path and a leader to work with the faculty, students, and administration, and with the South Carolina legal community to make sure that this decade will be the era of a revitalized law school.
One initiative that's taken root over the past year is the Rule of Law Collaborative. It's an interdisciplinary project led by Gordon Smith in the College of Arts and Sciences' Walker Institute of International and Area Studies. The collaborative has received a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Army Contracting Command to coordinate the efforts of several federal agencies to promote justice in strife-torn countries like Iraq, Afghanistan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Uganda, and Indonesia. Law is a pillar of civilization, and faculty associated with the Rule of Law Collaborative have the expertise to help train the various federal agencies in ways to promote fair legal systems that truly can provide justice for all.
In a related vein, our Civil Discourse initiative for students and for the community now includes an academic course and public lectures. Eboo Patel, a national figure in interfaith leadership, was a recent speaker on campus; his talk was one part of our larger effort to foster a more nuanced and a collective conversation about some of the most vexing problems that confront us as a nation, including how we will communicate with each other, as a people.
And this year will be a vexing one for our campuses, from Allendale to Union, and every one in-between. We recently participated with other universities and colleges in South Carolina in a higher education summit, called by our governor. We found some common ground during that daylong conversation but we also had to firmly disagree on several points about higher education funding. We used facts front and center, but we will also need to use the art of advocacy.
The fact is that economists are projecting an additional $20 million cut in the next fiscal year in addition to the $110 million taken away over the past two years.
Yet, in the political season ahead, there will be calls for tuition caps, limits on out-of-state enrollment, and there has already been a limited moratorium on campus construction even though nearly every dollar spent on construction is not state allocated or tuition-based. I don't think that conservative government would want or should take a regulatory approach to how we should conduct our business of educating students.
Our University's Board of Trustees and administration have never been reckless or wanton in setting its tuition rates. We have been and will always be compassionate and businesslike in setting the cost of the high quality product we deliver. A maxim of business is that customers vote with their wallets and if that is so, they are certainly voting for Carolina because our applications are surging from both in and out of state. Of course, we would love nothing more than to have the cuts of the last two years restored. We would roll back the tuition increases to some minor inflationary number and move on, happily.
But the reality is that the direct annual costs of a college education are in the neighborhood of $16,000 to $17,000 per student -- and that has to come through some combination of tuition and state funding. It's the same at every public college in America.
As for enrollment caps on out-of-state students, I point to the fact that the president of the University of Alabama was here -- the day before our football teams played in October -- not recruiting football players but drafting some of this state's best high school seniors.
Alabama and public universities from many other states are recruiting the top students from the Palmetto State, many of whom pay high out-of-state tuition. Fortunately, we keep a large number of those top South Carolina students, and EVERY applicant from South Carolina who meets our admissions standards will be admitted to USC's system. But we must welcome a good mix of out-of-state and international students if we are to serve our students', and our state's, global future.
Speaking of our global future, I visited the Middle East and Asia this year and I am convinced more than ever that we need far more global contact and that we need to articulate a global vision for ourselves.
I'm pleased that Provost Amiridis has appointed a new Vice Provost for International Programs, Moore School professor Tim Doupnik, who will be involved in a variety of academic issues for the University, particularly international programs.
As a university system, we have never been educating so many South Carolinians, and our goal is to further increase access to higher education in our state.
Access and affordability are the watchwords of our commitment. USC has the largest proportion of any university in South Carolina in terms of students who qualify for federal Pell Grants. We're one of the largest in the country in that regard, too. It's an indication that we have a sizeable student population that struggles to have enough resources to pay for college.
Our Gamecock Guarantee is also playing an important role, providing not only financial assistance to those most in need, but also an array of programs and services that help bolster their academic achievement.
Let me add that we're proud of the diversity of our student body, and particularly pleased that more racial and ethnic minorities feel at home at Carolina. A record number of African-American high school students applied to USC this past year, and we saw a 28 percent increase in the number of African Americans who chose to enroll as freshmen this fall.
I want to make sure that you don't think I'm swell-headed about our accomplishments, but in Oliver Wendell Holmes' words: “Man's mind, once stretched by a new idea, never regains its original dimensions.”
So to my colleagues and our students, let me say that our university has been stretched, pushed, tugged on, and tested in so many ways this past year and, while I don't expect that to change any time soon, I am confident that we are more ready, more resilient, more resourceful than at any time in our past.
Carolina is bigger and better and it can only be that way when you and I -- we together -- work as one. I am confident that great things lie ahead.
But we have to be patient. The nation's best universities were not built overnight, just as athletic championships don't occur overnight.
It would be nice to be here recognizing one of our teams for winning a national title, and that day will come. I know it. I can feel it.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Coach Ray Tanner.
Before I invite Coach to help raffle these baseballs, I will remind you that he not only brought back this beautiful trophy, his student athletes won the academic award in Omaha, with the highest cumulative grade point average among the eight schools participating.
Thanks again, Ray, for a thrilling year. And now I invite Patricia to join us on stage to help raffle not only these baseballs, but also two copies of her new book, Greek Revival: Cooking for Life.
Thank you all for being here. Now, please join the coach, Patricia, and me in the lobby for a reception.
To you, the graduates, I extend my sincere and hearty congratulations on a job well done.
You are the first class to graduate following our baseball team's College World Series championship.
Sports, of course, are not why we're here today, but there is a thing or two that we can learn from a game well played. This year I learned that what Yogi Berra said is true: “It ain't over ‘til it's over.”
In game 3, in the bottom of the 12th, down by 1 run to Oklahoma, with two outs, and the count at 2 balls and 2 strikes, Jackie Bradley, Jr...well, you all know what happened next...or do you?
Most of you would say that Jackie hit a single to right field, advancing Robert Beary to home, tying the game. And you would be wrong.
With two strikes on him, Jackie watched the next pitch sail by. He didn't swing. That pitch was inside but precariously close to the strike zone – and it was thankfully called a ball. Wow.
We were that close to being out of the CWS in game 3. That's having your back up against the wall. I remember how I felt watching that at bat. We were down but not quite out; I wasn't optimistic, but I wasn't hopeless, either. And, when we won, the lesson for me was about how much can still be done when one's back is up against the wall.
I had an experience in July that reminded me what you can do when your back is up against a wall. I joined a group of other college presidents in a visit to Israel to develop relationships with Israeli and Arab universities there.
Israel has relatively little tourism, little agriculture, little manufacturing, little mineral wealth, little land, little water, and little security, yet that economy has made strides. It has become a member of OECD, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and is one of the 10 wealthiest states in the world per capita.
The question we college presidents asked over and over again was, “How did you do it?” We were told that Israel has invested mightily in its people, by investing mightily in education. I know, that sounds self-serving coming as a college president that sounds self-serving, but I believe resolutely that education IS the answer and it is the answer for South Carolina and for the United States.
I commend each of you graduating, as well as your families here today, for taking a big step, not only for yourselves but also for the benefit of our state and the United States. To our international students graduating today, we hope you have benefited from your time here and that you will speak well of our university and our state wherever you go.
So take the inspiration provided by our Gamecock baseball team and walk right into a world that I know has too few job opportunities and too much insecurity.
But know, even when your back is up against the wall, that you should hold your head high, use what you've learned, use the connections you've made, lean on your families and friends...and you'll be just fine...
A few last words to the graduates; I now refer to you as alumni and you join our other alumni who represent the University throughout the world. We welcome you into our Alumni Association and I encourage you to be involved and committed. Carolina needs you.
We look forward to the contributions you will make to our larger community in the years ahead. To everyone here, Godspeed.
Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.
Welcome to a hallowed tradition of our university, the Doctoral Hooding Ceremony.
To those receiving the doctoral degree, you are standing at the threshold of the highest academic accomplishment conferred by ours or any American university.
Our university was one of the first to confer the doctoral degree. That took place in 1891, when a Doctor of Philosophy degree was conferred on Thomas Pearce Bailey Jr. of Georgetown.
He received his bachelor's degree at USC in 1887 and stayed on, earning his masters degree in 1890, while living in Rutledge College on the Horseshoe. It took him one year to complete his program. His dissertation essay was entitled, “The Development of Character.”
Upon graduation, Mr. Bailey served as an adjunct professor at USC, then moved on to the faculties of the Universities of California, Chicago, and Mississippi, and finally Rollins College in Florida.
Although doctoral degrees aren't as rare as they were in 1807, it is still an exceptional accomplishment. You're joining a select group and to your families and loved ones, and to your university, you are one in a million...
Fulfilling the promise of your intellect does not depend as much on what you have learned as on what you do with what you know. That is a vital part of our historic mission and tradition.
These extra years of coursework and research have, I hope, also resulted in advancing your commitment to civility, citizenship, and leadership.
The University's motto, “Emollit mores nec sinit esse feros,” is translated as “learning humanizes character and does not permit it to be cruel.”
This translation implies that advancing one's education also advances one's humanity.
I believe this is true and hope you feel responsible for advancing our often troubled and always complicated world by bringing a higher level of citizenship to your community, a higher level of civility to your colleagues, and a higher level of compassion to the many you will meet who can benefit from it. Leadership, in fact, is more about service to others than giving orders to others.
You represent the fulfillment of the University's mission and the Carolina spirit throughout the world. We are delighted to welcome you into the family of more than 240,000 living Carolina alumni. We will continue to need your involvement, support, and insight as we have needed the support of all our graduates since our founding in 1801.
We pledge to be unrelenting in building a university in which you can have increasing confidence and growing pride even in these burdened times. By your work toward completing your degrees, you have increased our own confidence and pride. We look forward to the contributions you will make to the larger community in the years ahead.To everyone here this morning, I wish you Godspeed.
Welcome, Class of 2014!
You are an impressive group...nearly 4,400 strong, the largest and the best freshman class in the history of this great university. You represent 47 states, the District of Columbia, and 20 countries.
Among you are 13 sets of twins and one set of triplets. For those of you wondering...there's no reduced tuition for multiples or a quantity discount.
As someone who has been a member of the Carolina community for some time now, I'd like to share some words of advice and encouragement with you.
Number One: Learn to love walking. Take advantage of every opportunity -- It's the easiest way to incorporate fitness into your life. I strive for 10,000 steps per day on my pedometer. Exercise keeps your mind sharp and your attitude upbeat and I know you'll discover places that would remain unnoticed if you were in a car.
Number Two: Communicate with your roommates and, when possible, do it directly. A recent article in The New York Times reported that, more and more, roommates are texting, tweeting and emailing, but they are talking less. A face-to-face approach works better for things requiring negotiation. It may seem harder to do that in person at first, but, trust me, it usually works out better that way.
Number Three: Be resilient. Resilience is defined as the ability to recover readily from adversity, illness, or the like. There will be plenty of adversity while you're in college. Some will come your way, maybe as an issue with a family member or a friend. Other times, you will bring it on yourself.
You can't prevent adversity, nor would you want to. The real challenge is how you will respond. I urge you not to fear adversity or failure, but to pledge to yourself that you will be resilient, learn from adversity, and become a better person for it. Then move on.
You have chosen a university where the faculty love to teach, and where the staff care about you. We're a big university, but every student, faculty member, and staff member is family.
In the words of the Carolinian Creed, it means that you have joined a community of scholars and learners dedicated to excellence, where learning is prized in a culture of fairness, open-mindedness, and the highest degree of ethics.
Today, this entire legacy becomes yours. Cherish it and honor it.
In everything that you do as a citizen of Carolina, do everything to guarantee that the legacy you leave will be as treasured, as worthy, and as noble as the one that is being given to you today.
And when you shake my hand at your commencement, you'll have experienced the citizenship, civility, openness, honor, compassion for others, fitness, and fun that is Carolina!
Ladies and Gentlemen, good evening and welcome.
I don't know that I could be happier today. This morning we helped move in the largest class in the history of our, or any other, college in the history of our state.
And now we have the chance to express our thanks in a tribute to our beloved Othniel Wienges, who is stepping down from our Board of Trustees after 35 years.
Continuous service on the Board since 1975 is a great distinction, Othniel, and you have lived through and led Carolina through some of the most dynamic and exciting times of its history.
No, Othniel was not the founding Chairman of the Board in 1801, but I know that he would have been if it had been possible!
Othniel and Carolina have lives and destinies that are deeply intertwined.
Let's look at the record:
Now that is just a list of hard facts. They don't begin to reveal the strength and determination of his unique personality.
Othniel has always been the champion of the South Carolina student.
He developed the “Clemson Game football ticket surcharge” to create scholarships for deserving students. That concept now includes the Georgia game as well.
Othniel knew how to be in command of the Board as its chair because, in World War II, he commanded a naval vessel.
President Palms once said, and I echo this sentiment, “I did not have the privilege of seeing Chairman Wienges preside over a meeting of our trustees. But those who did remember his knowledge of parliamentary procedure, his swift decisions, and his vigorous pursuit of completing the agenda. Usually standing to preside, he moved through a meeting with fairness but also with efficiency and without fear of using the gavel – which seldom left his hand – and using it firmly.”
Othniel's leadership extended beyond the military and the University.
His leadership of and dedication to the people of St. Matthews, Calhoun County, and South Carolina are deep and long. He served on the Calhoun County School Board, as chairman of the Rural Area Development Committee, as a member of the S. C. Commission on Higher Education, and in the S.C. House of Representatives for a decade. He was an effective and proud Guardian Ad Litem and is an active elder of St. Matthews Presbyterian Church.Then, of course, there is his professional life. You may know that we researched his official Lifetime Breeder Report in 2005 and found that he has bred 324 horses. These horses have had 20,488 starts, 2,715 wins, 5,277 races with place or show, and winnings of $17,029,864.
And with that record goes virtually every major Thoroughbred Racing Award in New England and, I am sure, every such award in South Carolina, including the prestigious award that bears his name. By the way, he also named a horse or two after Board of Trustees members Tommy Stepp and Johnny Fields!
Mr. Othniel Wienges, the University of South Carolina is forever in your debt.
You are a wonderful example for the students, faculty, and staff of Carolina. You are a warm, loving, and strong leader for your family. You are a friend to thousands. And you are a man rich in blessings, among the greatest of which is Callie, your devoted wife and dancing partner.Tonight is a simple occasion and its purpose can easily be summed up in two words – thank you.
The following editorial appeared in the The State, Aiken Standard, and Myrtle Beach Sun News newspapers in June 2010.
Spring is the best time to be on a college campus. We have awards ceremonies to honor our outstanding students and faculty. We have graduation. We have hope and optimism bursting forth in all manner of natural beauty.
And we have baseball. At The University of South Carolina, we were delighted last weekend to host an NCAA regional tournament for the first time in our first-class Carolina Stadium. We are delighted, too, to be moving on to the Super Regionals at Coastal Carolina University this weekend, where the winner earns a trip to the College World Series in Omaha.
Wins and losses often distract us from the game's positive aura and welcoming spirit. In our haste to quantify and analyze, we can get too caught up in baseball's periphery – leagues, playoffs, even quality of play— and miss the beauty of the game itself. The game itself is a gift; all else is shiny wrapping.
For me, a native New Yorker -- and, yes, a Yankees fan -- baseball has been a great unifying agent in my years here at Carolina. It has helped me forge friendships and removed cultural barriers. Since my wife, Patricia, and I came to this university in 1998, I have been in many business and social settings that have been, at times, challenging . . . until conversation turned to baseball. When I discover that a new acquaintance is also a fellow baseball lover, and we glide into a discussion of earned-run averages, or the lateral range of an infielder, or the arcane craft of scorekeeping, the walls of pretense and distrust tumble down. And we are fast friends.
While I love the pageantry and spectacle of college football, just as I do the charged atmosphere when our basketball teams are in action, there is something uniquely binding about the experience of a baseball game. Our backgrounds, occupations and social status all melt away, and we enjoy it communally. That is one of the sport's most appealing aspects to me: its open-arms embrace of all Americans.
We see this equality played out on the diamond as well, where the figurative "level playing field" becomes a literal one, where performance generally wins out over good fortune, and where bad hops occur indiscriminately.
And we see life lessons in microcosm. Character emerges in situations we call "clutch." Resolve is challenged when a call goes the other way. What could be more heartbreaking than Detroit Tigers' pitcher Armando Gallaraga last week being deprived of pitching a perfect game because of an umpire's missed call on what would have been the final out. What could be more heartwarming than the grace with which Gallaraga and umpire Jim Joyce met at home plate the next day, Joyce in tears over his acknowledged bad call. In these boisterous days, we may not expect civil discourse on athletic fields, yet we find it there.
We marvel at stout-hearted teams that put together comebacks from situations that seem hopeless. We admire the allegiance to Team and the common goals shared by individuals for the greater good, even at the expense of personal sacrifice. We feel for the all-star pitcher whose finest hour was for naught because, on this day, in the capricious nature of the game, the other pitcher was simply better.
We see and applaud natural talent and good effort, but we recognize that talent and effort alone do not guarantee success, that talent without application expires easily and quickly, that effort without direction and preparation is hollow theater. We watch an outfielder make a diving catch, or a clever baserunner stretch a double into a triple, and we imagine the hours of practice that made this play possible.
The game rewards, but it also renders judgment, and harsh consequences rain down not only on errors of performance but on poor decisions. As in life, one momentary lapse can do irreparable harm. Unlike life, redemption is only an at-bat away. Or possibly a game or a series away. Losing streaks can build and fester, but hope is always standing in the on-deck circle.
Baseball thrives on hope, which makes it the great American game. In it, we see the qualities of a nation that draws its strength not so much on the prosperity of the here and now as on the possibilities of the beyond. We celebrate our successes, but more importantly, we learn from our failures. When we lose, we try again. And we never give up.
We can admire the fundamental structure of this deceptively complex game, or revel in the ebb-and-flow drama, and that would be enough. But at its best, baseball is the greatest game because of what it shows us about ourselves. At its best, baseball allows us to see quietly profound moments that reveal a part of the collective human experience.
To everyone, Good Morning!
I am humbled...Urban League. I have deep respect and have for years for the work done by the UL...and I commend JT MacLawhorn, his board, the volunteers and everyone who collaborates with the Urban League to make our communities better places to live in. And good morning to you, Governor and to the many distinguished guests with us on this day of service for the U of SC and for us all. Patricia and I will be volunteering attwo different social service agencies later today with many of our students and faculty and it will be a beautiful and an important day.
I come to you as a University President of course that is why I was invited....but I am here also as an American citizen for whom our fallen brother Martin meant so much.
I don't want to dwell on the night of April 4, 1968, because it's more important to celebrate his birth than to mourn his death, but I, like many of you, do remember that night. I was 14 years old and watching television on the floor of our small living room in the three-room apartment in New York City where my immigrant family lived. Even though it was not very late, my father had gone to bed as he had to leave the house every day at 4 AM to open his shop. My mother was on the sofa, as Walter Cronkite interrupted the program and said: "Good Evening. DR MLK, the apostle of non-violence in the Civil Rights movement has been shot to death in Memphis Tennessee. Police have issued an APB for a well dressed young white man seen running from the scene." They then cut to a video of President Lyndon Johnson asking Americans not to panic.
I was startled by my mother's reaction as she shouted "no" to Cronkite and ran to the bedroom to wake my dad. Moments later he joined us, and when I asked why they loved him so much, my dad said in words very similar to these... "...because he struggled not only for civil rights for Negro people, he struggled for us all...he accepted our struggle as his own." You can find that Walter Cronkite report on YouTube, as I did. It's a hard and dark moment to relive but I think that it's important, especially for the young people here who have not seen it and I commend it to them, as I do video of Dr. King's many inspiring lectures and sermons. They are at your fingertips.
I spend most of my time these days thinking about and working for young people, especially working to provide them the opportunity to attend college. Friends gathered here, do you agree with me that a college education today is a basic tool for being a productive member of society and for having a shot at the American dream? (I know you do). A college education, whether it be a two-year or a four-year degree, is for young people today what a hammer is for a carpenter; what a shovel is to a gardener, what a map is to a taxi driver...college education today is the basic tool for being able to get a job, being able to buy or rent a decent place to live, and it's even the basic tool for becoming a good citizen. College education is no longer a luxury; it is what every South Carolinian and what every American needs. In South Carolina, only about one of every four adults has a college degree or higher and this places us 47th of the 50 states. In the highest ranking states and metropolitan areas, college has been attained by well over half of the citizens.
At the University of South Carolina...including every one of our eight campuses we must increase our minority enrollment and graduation rates, and we are stepping up our efforts. In spite of the economic times, we have enrolled more students, and more African American students than in any time in our history. We now enroll over 43,000 students at our eight campuses and approximately 40% of all South Carolinians in college today are in one of our campuses. But we cannot rest. Does our state have too much education? Of course not. And so we will not rest until we have "too much education."
The day after tomorrow, I will be presenting our University's annual budgetary request. And may I let you in on a little secret? (And of course the Governor is here). My secret is that we will not be asking for any new state money this year, new money that doesn't exist. New money that exists not even for health care, or for our environment, or for our senior services, or for providing shelter, or for repairing our roads and our buildings. (Pause) But I will be asking for something, perhaps, equally as difficult to provide. I will be asking for a pledge. I will ask that our government dig deep, not into their pockets, but into their conscience. Dig deep, government to find a way to provide hope to children working their way up from kindergarten through primary and middle school, and through high school. Make a pledge to them that, if they do their job...if they do their schoolwork and if they graduate from high school, there will be a great, accessible, high quality, civic minded public university to welcome them. A university named for the state they were reared in that wants to welcome them. Not only to say welcome to them but to be affordable to them.
I will ask for a pledge and if we get that pledge, we will do everything between now, and whenever the economy turns around, to maintain our access, our affordability, and to keep our accountability high. Does that sound ok to you friends? In the meantime, the work will be difficult if we are to both remain affordable and become even more accessible to many of our African-American families who have not yet achieved the economic heights of their white neighbors who had a long head start. We must make sure that we widen the narrow trail blazed by Henri Dobbins Monteith, James Solomon, and Robert Anderson...the three students who integrated our university on September 11, 1963, and that all who set out on it, reach their destination of a college education.
Recently, the U of SC has intensified efforts to recruit and to admit minority applicants. One thing we did, was implement a holistic review process to better identify students with strong indicators for academic success, that go beyond standardized test scores. We must get to know our applicants as persons, not only as numbers or email addresses. For that and other outreach efforts, we have hired a full-time staff member in the Office of Admissions devoted to minority recruitment.
We have also started a Summer Program for the state's top African American rising high school seniors to get to know us. And we have created A Statewide Bridge Program to help provide a transition from SC technical colleges to the University that is as seamless as possible while increasing the success of transfer students once they're enrolled at our senior campuses. And we also now created a Multicultural Outreach Student Team to engage current USC minority students in our effort to recruit minority students...not the athletes we always hear about, but all minority students who can do the work. And Each One Reach One is a commitment of our Black Faculty Staff Association to help recruit minority students.
Other programs that would take me too long to describe include Empowerment Day – these are Workshops for high school students on admission process and careers. And the Venture Scholars program, designed specifically for underrepresented minority and first generation college students who might become interested in pursuing careers in science and mathematics. Still we have a long way to go.
Beyond increasing educational access I want to tell you about our commitment to increase access to the university by minority and women-owned businesses. The University of South Carolina has launched a comprehensive, systemwide initiative to work with the African-American community to increase procurement opportunities for businesses. This is something that the Urban League and others have been suggesting for some time. In November, we held an expo for minority-owned businesses where university business officials met with business owners and led workshops on the university's procurement code. Business owners also met the university managers who make procurement decisions. The event was a win/win. More than 300 vendors attended and learned how to do business with the university.
Now, we are developing a solid index of minority business contacts, the most comprehensive in all of state government, and we plan to distribute it not just throughout the university, but to all state agencies, as well.
The changing demographics of South Carolina paint a colorful picture, and the message is clear: No longer is business the purview of a few. African American, Latinos, and women are entering and starting business and succeeding. We must support these businesses. After all, small-business owners are critical to our economy and represent our future. In this area too, there is so much more we need to do. Whenever I get tired I remind myself that Martin Luther King Jr. was only 39 years old when he was brought down. If one man can change the world in 39 years, surely an entire community...here in the midlands, or an entire state, as beautiful and diverse as our state, cannot be brought down by an economic crisis.
I‘d like to mention one final but special thing we are doing at the University these days. We are pursuing different strategies to educate our students and ourselves about the importance of civil discourse and civil debate. We simply must address the rampant disrespect and close-mindedness that we see and hear in today's political and social landscape. Wouldn't you agree that you are tired of seeing the demeaning, disparaging and vilifying tactics used by special interests and some in the media against individuals who they disagree with? We can't stop all of that but we're examining how we can provide our students with lessons and experiences about the responsibilities of citizenship, including openness and respect to others' ideas. Some have criticized me and the university for this, suggesting that the issues of the day...terrorism, the economy, health care reform, and others, are so big and so important that they demand that we express our indignation in any ways that can succeed...that we protest using all means possible, that the issues outweigh the benefits of respect and civility. Let me respond this morning by recalling the struggles and the issues that confronted Dr. King in the South and in the America of the 1950's and 60's. Would anyone agree that they were any less big and any less important than those of today? I know you would not. Yet Martin Luther King never disrespected his adversaries; MLK never punched or slapped or spat at them; MLK did not refuse to listen to his adversaries. MLK was confronted with dogs and slander and jail and finally a bullet, but he never was anything less than a heroic American citizen. If MLK could engage in discourse, debate and protest that was civil, so can we Americans today.
I close with one quote from Dr. King that I mentioned in my remarks at our USC MLK breakfast attended by hundreds of university and community members last Friday morning: "We may have come here on different ships, but we're all in the same boat." My parents took a boat from Europe in 1948, your ancestors likely wore chains on the boats that carried them, but here we are, today, in SC and in a nation that needs unity as much as it ever has. Let's come together to rekindle the flame of a fallen hero, to honor, to celebrate, but most of all, to heed, the lessons provided to us by that one great man.
In my role as president, I have spoken before many different groups, but few with a tradition as proud and a commitment as unshakable as the Urban League. Thank You to the Urban League and to this community for inviting me to be with you today.
By Harris Pastides
The issues that command our nation's attention—economic recovery, the war in Afghanistan, immigration, and health care reform—are critically important to all of us, so it's no surprise that they have elicited passionate debate and continue to dominate daily news cycles.
However, the decline in the civil tenor of our national discourse is troubling, and the long-term impact on our ability to remain a strong and resilient democracy might rest more on how we debate than on how these debates are resolved.
Many powerful influences, from special interest groups to extremists in the media, have helped fuel a contentious and often divisive environment. Talk radio, cable TV programming, and mainstream news programs have moved from delivering information toward argument and feature conversation whose sole interest is advancing the writer's or broadcaster's own agenda and whipping up the support of a political base.
Hecklers financed by special interests have disrupted town halls and forums across the country, and universities are not immune to instances of disruptive behavior, even in the classroom.
As the state's flagship university with campuses across the state, Carolina wants to make a difference by engaging our students and our citizens on this important topic. Therefore, I am committing the eight campuses of the University of South Carolina to an initiative that seeks to elevate the tenor of public discourse in our state by educating our students and involving our citizens in this endeavor.
This initiative reflects the very foundation on which our university was founded in 1801. We were created to bring harmony and unity to the state and ameliorate the divisiveness that existed then between the Lowcountry and the Upstate. Our current plans also exemplify our commitment to community engagement, for which we have been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching
I have created a group of university and community representatives to recommend how reasoned and civil debate can become the norm for resolving some of society's most polarizing issues. We will begin by examining how we can teach our own students to practice civil discourse. We will aim to elevate the topic in the curriculum, especially in first-year classes such as our nationally recognized University 101 course. We will review our Carolinian Creed, which obligates each member of our community to a code of civil behavior, and consider amending it with a new tenet on civil discourse.
When we invite speakers whose views and topics might ignite debate, we will encourage discussion with a goal of instilling an appreciation for the importance of fair-mindedness, personal responsibility, and respect for differing opinions.
At such occasions, students and audiences will always be strongly encouraged to observe common standards of decorum and intellectual discussion, and to display a respectful tenor. We will also consider appropriate steps to be taken when members of our community do not respect these standards.
My proposal is not a response to any one event. It is a recognition that I believe civil discourse must be restored to the lives we live together. If we dig in our heels, close our minds, and clench our fists, we cannot be an enlightened society. If we comport ourselves in that way, compromise, a fundamental tenet of democracy which is usually reached through debate and discussion, will be jeopardized further.
The people of this nation deserve better. As Mahatma Gandhi said, "We must become the change we want to see in the world" That change can take on new life at universities and we will work hard to have that refreshed environment begin at the University of South Carolina.
Thank You Mr. Loadholt and members of the Executive Committee.
A new day, and a new way forward, has arrived for Innovista and I start with some background.
In 2003 the University of South Carolina stepped beyond the campus walls, and into the community further than most universities venture. We stepped out, and we stepped up, to help drive our state's economic development efforts and to improve the quality of life for our citizens.
We believed it was the right thing to do...for our state and our university. We also knew it would be a huge challenge, and we knew that it would take time. How challenging would it be? Well, in fact, it would have been a lot easier to raise the height of the brick wall that surrounds the Historic Horseshoe, the wall that was built to protect the campus from the town and the town from the University; it would have been easier for our faculty to stay in their offices and write their papers than to file patents or create start-up companies; it would have been easier to not collaborate with our sister research universities on the Centers of Economic Excellence, and to not collaborate with the Department of Commerce, the South Carolina Research Authority, the Central SC Alliance, EngenuitySC and other private and public sector allies in helping to create higher paying jobs in our region and state; and it would have been easier to ignore the business community and all the Chambers of Commerce who have voted their confidence in Innovista.
It would have been easier, and it would have been wrong.
t would now be easier to turn away from Innovista because of several problems in our execution, specifically the delay in construction of the Horizon II building. That, too, would be wrong.
It is unfortunate that media attention has focused almost exclusively on the private building, which is only a part, albeit an important one, of the Innovista concept.
Innovista is also about the Centers of Economic Excellence and the Endowed Chairs; we already have recruited 19 chairs in collaboration with MUSC and Clemson. Innovista is about start-up companies; we are incubating companies at a rate that is comparable to the leading public and private universities in the United States. Innovista is about faculty, students and technicians who have broken past records, each year in the last 10, with the externally funded projects they have successfully applied for. Non-state dollars, and research jobs, have come to Columbia at a record pace.
Just as an example, the Public Health Research Center in Innovista is fully occupied by nationally recognized researchers whose work ranges from studies on childhood obesity and exercise to nutrition and the environment. Their recent grant funding has pushed $27 million into our economy. Discovery I is occupied by grant-funded researchers whose work is focused on the prevention and control of cancer. This fall, that facility will house 10 additional scientists and their assistants who are doing research on the brain. We eagerly await news about another $22 million of funding that will be decided later this fall. Two floors of Horizon I will be completed this fall and will house top researchers on fuel cells and energy, who together received more than $13 million in grant awards last year. All of these researchers pay taxes, shop, send their children to school and contribute to the growth of Innovista and the betterment of the region and the state. Many were attracted to South Carolina because of Innovista and they are a major reason why the Carnegie Foundation has cited the university as a top-tier research university. Nevertheless, we are at a juncture where we must address certain matters and put them behind us before we can move forward and renew our commitment to our city and our state.
Today, we address the questions regarding delays with the building of Horizon II. We are here to provide answers regarding the vetting of developers, and our commitment to improve our execution. You will hear no excuses or finger pointing at the past, only a determined administration committed to advancing within a new framework of improved processes and practices for doing business at the University.
The Board has asked me about the vetting of the individuals who are part of Innovista Holdings, LLC.
At my request, university General Counsel Terry Parham conducted personal interviews and examined notes and minutes to determine who had knowledge of Mr. Roscoe's felony tax evasion guilty plea in 2002 and whether any formal vetting process was followed.
Mr. Parham interviewed Former President Andrew Sorensen, Former Chief Financial Officer Rick Kelly, John Parks, Ed Walton, and me.
This is what he found.
In Spring 2008, the university began looking for additional developers for Innovista.
Mr. Parks was familiar with Mr. Roscoe as a result of their professional affiliation at the Coldstream project while Mr. Parks was employed by the University of Kentucky.
Craig Davis Properties agreed to accept Mr. Kale Roscoe and Tim Heath as partners, and in May 2008 Mr. Rick Kelly, as president of the Research Campus Foundation, proposed to the Executive Committee of the Board that the University's contractual arrangement with CDP be modified to add Roscoe and Heath as partners. Financial due diligence requested by the Executive Committee affirmed that the developers had sufficient resources.
No formal discussions on Mr. Roscoe's background, beyond his apparent success at Coldstream, were ever held.
John Parks was the only university employee who had knowledge of Mr. Roscoe's felony tax conviction before the meeting of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees on May 16, 2008, at which time the Committee approved the Implementation Agreement authorizing Craig Davis Properties to assign its contractual relationship with the university to Innovista Holdings, LLC. Mr. Parks had learned of Mr. Roscoe's tax conviction in late 2004 or early 2005 while employed at the University of Kentucky.
Andrew Sorensen, Rick Kelly and I learned of Mr. Roscoe's felony tax conviction in August 2009 upon publication of a local newspaper article.
In March 2009, Mr. Kelly learned that Mr. Roscoe had a previous tax issue, but the information presented was general in nature and did not include mention of a felony tax conviction. That meeting included Mr. Parks; Ed Menzie, an attorney with Nexsen Pruitt; and a representative of BB&T, the bank that was considering a financing plan.
Ed Walton, Associate Vice President for Resource Planning, learned of Mr. Roscoe's felony tax conviction in May 2009 at a subsequent meeting with Mr. Menzie and a representative of BB&T.
I believe that this review has led to better organizational structures and more effective business practices. During the past month we have focused much energy and time on this process.
Today, I say that USC could have done much better. I have concluded that the proper processes were not in place to assure that we had full information. But today I am confident that we have taken action to ensure that this will not happen again.
Mr. John Parks will be leaving the university. He has submitted his resignation and will leave the University 90 days from today and I am moving forward with a new organizational plan to oversee Innovista and to accelerate our progress.
I am creating a new Economic Development Council that will comprise university, community, and business leaders from the region and the state. This council will provide oversight, especially in the identification and evaluation of future private entities that propose to partner with us in the development of buildings and in the broader arena of job creation. I can assure you that partnership decisions will incorporate careful scrutiny of all candidates' performance records, borrowing abilities, and character.
Its members will recommend performance and accountability standards, and they will also monitor performance. They will also assist in reviewing the role of current market forces that have seriously eroded the progress of commercial real estate ventures, locally and nationally. I will name the members of this group in the coming weeks.
The group also will be asked to increase communications with the many Innovista-affiliated organizations with which we already have close ties, including EngenuitySC, the Central SC Alliance, the Greater Columbia and the State Chambers of Commerce, and the Midlands Business Leadership Group at the regional level; and groups such as New Carolina, the Palmetto Institute, the Palmetto Business Forum, and the SC Department of Commerce at the statewide level.
As I have said before, I will seek advice and participation from those organizations who know and love South Carolina best, our own local, regional and state partners. And we will work with the community to ensure that all of our citizens have an equal opportunity to be involved with the diverse opportunities provided by Innovista.
We will also increase the opportunity for the general public, especially through the press, to keep up with developments in an environment that fosters open communication and information-transfer. We already have an excellent relationship with all of our Foundations, and their unique relationship with our university puts them in a position to help facilitate private development, as well.
The day to day operational logistics of Innovista will be overseen by the university, including its Capital Planning Committee, the Office of Business and Finance, the Office of the General Counsel, and the Vice President for Research and Graduate Education, all of which operate with public accountability.
One of the most positive elements that emerged from this process is that we were reminded how much has changed since we created the vision for Innovista. As a result, we are moving forward today with efforts to explore how we can better serve the larger mission of economic development and job creation.
Clearly, Innovista will remain at the center of our economic development efforts, and with the expanded role of The Darla Moore School of Business in entrepreneurship we must explore new goals, new strategies and new partnerships to bring them to fruition. South Carolina needs its research universities more than ever before, and it needs Innovista to succeed more than ever.
Standing before you today, I am reminded of Thomas Edison, who said that nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. We will not allow that to happen.
We will continue to refine our fresh approach for moving forward with Innovista and accelerate the university's role as a powerful economic engine that helps create higher paying jobs and improves the quality of life for all South Carolinians.
We look forward to sharing these plans with you in the coming weeks.
Good afternoon. ... I am delighted to be here today. I have found our program to be stimulating, and I hope you have, as well.
We are here today, on the historic Horseshoe, the intimate core of our campus ... and that's how I think of you, the Horseshoe Society, aptly named because you, too, are the intimate core that supports our university.
The Horseshoe Society was established when John and Norma Palms lived in this house and, I note, that they are members.
Unfortunately, they could not be with us today but I am very pleased to welcome President Emeritus Andrew Sorensen and Former First Lady Donna Sorensen, also Horseshoe Society members, back home. (Welcome home, A and D).
I hope you enjoyed your time in the garden ... although more and some are referring to it as a farm. Growing around and throughout the attractive plantings you can see herbs, including oregano, mint, thyme, sage, bayleaf, and basil. ... But you'll also see cabbage, broccoli, kale, cauliflower, potatoes (2 kinds), onions (2 kinds), tomatoes, squash, eggplant, beans, two fig trees, and carrots; the carrots found at the east side of the garden were only allowed because their very orange bodies remain underground till harvested! But you can see their green tops amidst the pansies and snap dragons in the East garden.
I've been eating more greens this spring but I have told Patricia, "No, we cannot change the school colors to Garnet, Black and Green."
Some of you may recall the recent news coverage about the reunion of Doolittle Raiders in Columbia. The Doolittle Raiders, of course, did not do little, they did a lot. ... In fact, they waged the first air attack in Japan in retaliation for Pearl Harbor.
What you may not know is our connection to one of the Raiders. ... How many of you recognize the thorougfare, Farrow Road, right here in Columbia? Well, Billy Farrow of Darlington was a student at Carolina. Before his senior year, he left USC and his education behind to become an Army aviator. World War II had just begun.
He found himself flying a B-25 bomber as a member of the famed Raiders. Sadly, Billy didn't make it home, but his story is most inspiring. While at USC, he had written what he called a creed ... setting forth his view of how to live a proper life, unusual for a student, I will say. After his death, it was discovered by his mother and brought to the attention of President Franklin Roosevelt, who proclaimed it An American's Creed. It was printed in newspapers and church bulletins coast to coast and beyond.
Let me share with you Billy Farrow's point # 9. ... He said, "Fear not for the future--build on each day as though the future for me is a certainty. If I die tomorrow, that is too bad, but I will have done today's work!"
Now, let me share with you a lighthearted story that tested my own ability to "fear not for the future." On April 18, I joined the ranks of the USC Skydiving Club ... jumping from a plane into the clear, blue sky from 14,000 feet. ... This is how it happened.
Started in November; insurance; weather; Hickey; Chester; dozen; What do I need to know ... not much, just sign here! Introduced to my tandem partner friendly, large young man. Old blue plane (think Doolittle's Raiders) We hail thee ... troubled me ... clipped to me ... 14,000 feet, door opened ... "game" ... "cocks" ... "game" ... I was next. ... What do I do? ... "Nothing."
Forward Roll ... 120 mph ... videographer ... little idea how fast you are going ... until the chute was pulled! Got down and I gave a grateful hug to my tandem buddy and he said, nice jumping with you Mr. President. ... And I said, see you on campus. ... He said, oh, I don't think so, I'm a Clemson student!
So, here, with both feet back on the ground, with Billy Farrow's creed in mind and the Horseshoe Society at my side, I feel perfectly safe and sound.
And Carolina is safe and sound thanks to you. Just a few examples of your impact.
Two years ago your gifts helped us recruit an Endowed Chair from Connecticut, Ken Reifsnider (AAS will remember that), who has advanced our global standing in future fuels and, just this week, he received notice of one of the largest competitive awards in USC history, a $12.5 million award to establish an Energy Frontier Research Center; USC is leading a university group that includes Princeton and Georgia Tech.
And what about the Arnold School of Public Health, the first SPH in a public university to be named for a benefactor? Experts have been spending this week making recommendations to state and other officials about how to prevent the spread of swine flu in SC.
Your gifts have also helped to expand our rare books and special collections, bringing treasures of F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway to our scholars and students (Arlyn, we will always remember our friend Matt Brucolli) ... and we also are now building the new Ernest F. Hollings Special Collections Library.
... And your support of scholarships helps us recruit outstanding students and we have had a banner year for student awards. ... Marshall, Truman, Madison, Goldwater, and multiple Fulbright and Rotary awards. Our applications are at an all-time high at Columbia and across our campus system, 18,000 and 35,000, respectively.
In closing, I remind you that the Horseshoe is also a symbol of luck, and you know now why I feel lucky to be your president, even in these turbulent times. Please remember that the intimate core we call the Horseshoe is reflected in each and every one of you, the members of our Horseshoe Society.
I would like to raise a glass in thanks to all of you for your generous contributions to the University of South Carolina. Here's a health Carolina!
Good afternoon. I'm pleased to be with you on this warm and special occasion. We come together as peaceful beings at a historic university for one reason only--to foster a deeper understanding of our diverse cultural, ethnic, and spiritual lives. As Albert Einstein said, "Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding" (Notes on Pacifism). We spend a great deal of time in a university praising the importance of academic freedom. Perhaps even more important is religious freedom. In fact, the word "tolerance" barely begins to express our need for deeper understanding.
This year's theme focuses on our particular time in the world, which seems like a chaotic place.
"Voices of hope" is a positive and uplifting note from a number of the major religious faiths represented here today. I'm so pleased we've come together now, when there are so many pressures and needs in our communities. Religion can be a great source of comfort and hope, a light illumining the darkness, and a way forward in the midst of a fearful future. Together we can lessen the chaos and increase understanding and respect in our world.
While the University is a place for education, it also is a place of faith and spiritual development, as many people view religious faith as an underpinning for their total lives. We have a great diversity of faiths represented at USC, as evidenced by the wide variety of religious and spiritual organizations supported on campus by our students, faculty and staff.
In the context of the Barnes symposium (Muslim/Christian dialogue), the USC Celebration of Faiths broadens the dialogue to incorporate other paths and voices. Today's program is one of eleven programs offered this week as part of the University's Creed and Diversity Week. As I look at the variety on today's program--undergraduate and graduate students, alumni, faculty and staff--and the different faith traditions represented, I am so pleased to see the diversity that it represents.
The students on this year's planning committee very much wanted to do more than "just pray" or "talk" during this very special week. They felt the best expression of religious faith was through service. The work they are planning at Harvest Hope Food Bank melds faith and service and helps people in our community, as well.
Thursday, February 12, 2009, commemorated the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). The NAACP is the oldest continuing Civil Rights organization in the United States. It was founded in 1909 by approximately 50 people--white, black, male, female, Christian, and Jewish--to address issues of segregation, political disenfranchisement, and racial injustice in America. Since its founding in 1909, the organization's membership has grown to over 500,000 members, and today addresses issues of providing quality education, equal justice, and bridging the continuing gap of economic disparities that exist in housing and employment with respect to race, color, sex, religion, age, and national origin in America today.
As President of the University of South Carolina, I salute the student chapter here on the campus for its continuing efforts to address issues of mutual concern on the USC campus and for its leadership in helping to create a culture within our University which promotes diversity within our faculty, staff, and student body. I also salute the many members of this organization here in South Carolina on the commemoration and celebration of 100 years of service as the lead Civil Rights agency in America. Because of the continuing efforts of the NAACP, America has made great progress in the area of race-relations and has made significant progress to promote equal justice for all and to end discrimination against all persons with respect to race, color, sex, religion, age, and national origin. Every step of the way over the past 100 years the NAACP has been in the forefront of leading this fight and advocating on behalf of disenfranchised people: black, white and other. On behalf of the University of South Carolina, I join with our many state leaders and mayors around the state of South Carolina in commemorating the 100th Anniversary of the NAACP and wish its many members "God's speed and best wishes on 100 years of service."
President, University of South Carolina
Good Morning, and Happy New Year.
This year will be like no other for the General Assembly, just like this academic year has been like no other in our university's history.
While I could never have imagined the current economic crisis, I know that, together, we will persevere ... as a state and as a state flagship university, just like families do in times of crisis.
I'm acutely aware that USC is not alone and recognize that every state agency and every other college is wrestling with ways to manage the budget. As for us, we are re-shaping the university following our 23.3 percent or $52 million budget reduction between last fiscal year and this one.
Going into next year, the university will not be recognizable as its former self, yet we pledge to persevere and to preserve most of the best that we have. But we unfortunately cannot retain our breadth and we cannot be as comprehensive as we have been.
By way of background, let me restate that we are by far the largest university in the state. We serve more than 41,000 students, over 6,000 faculty and staff and we have one quarter of a million alumni, about half of whom live in our state. I also point out that we take our economic development mission very, very seriously. We contribute about $4 billion annually to our state's economy and support about 50,000 jobs.
We are a flagship university because we have the name of our state in our very own name. We are one of only 23 public universities and one of only 31 public or private universities placed in the Carnegie Foundation's highest ranking in both research and service to their communities.
These and other figures are in the fact sheet that you have received. The handouts include headcount enrollment, tuition and financial aid comparisons, and capital projects. So the question before us now is what kind of university will we be as we progress into our third century?
I know I don't need to remind this body that, in 1801, your very predecessors determined that there should be a public university for South Carolina and they appropriated public funds for that purpose.
The beginning of our second century (the early 1900s) saw a troubled period that followed the Civil War and Reconstruction and that was a tremendous challenge. So here we are starting our third century.
Already, we have closed hundreds of class sections; many specialized programs of study have been frozen pending further review; many positions have been eliminated through attrition; and many adjunct, part-time, and full-time instructors are not being renewed.
Of course, these decisions will affect the teaching, research and service mission of the university for as long as it takes for our budget to be restored.
Targeting Lancaster, Union and Salkehatchie, or any campus in the University of South Carolina system, without fully understanding the stakes--economic and social--is something that I oppose. Well beyond this budget crisis, the citizens of our state must have access to the many educational opportunities that the University of South Carolina provides.
However, I do support a careful, in-depth review of the full system, including each of its campuses, to ensure that we are doing everything we can to deliver a quality education, as efficiently as we possibly can, to as many South Carolina citizens as possible.
After all, it's only through an educated work force that we will be able to improve our communities, get our economy moving and compete in the knowledge-based economy.
Furloughs have been avoided so far on most campuses, but that may not be possible in the future. USC Sumter has enacted a furlough this semester, and some other campuses may do so, as well.
We recognize that furloughs are less than ideal because they create only a one-time costs savings and must be applied across-the-board on each campus. They also affect people in non-state-funded positions, such as faculty on research grants. Most important they impact the lower-paid members of our university family more adversely ... those who maintain our classrooms and grounds and who cannot afford days of lost pay.
We have severely restricted hiring, travel, equipment purchases, and even the purchases of books for our libraries. To compensate for all these steps, many staff members have taken on additional responsibilities and many are working harder with fewer resources.
We have adjusted to these cuts in the way that a physician would respond to a physical laceration--we have applied a tourniquet, tended the patient well enough to know that they will live. In our case, the university (that is the patient) will not finish in the red and we are now trying to gauge how to manage the cuts longer term and determine our ultimate prognosis.
We're embarking on a thorough analysis of the mission and purpose of each one of our campuses across the state, as well as each college and service unit on each campus. Everything is being reviewed including how we deliver our product, price our product, our budgeting model, our organizational structure, our admissions policies and enrollment management.
At stake is much more than the University of South Carolina. At stake is the well-being of South Carolina, where only 15 percent of the population have college degrees.
We can't allow the current budget crisis to shrink these numbers, and we must remain accessible and affordable to the families of South Carolina.
The future of South Carolina, particularly as we strive to compete in the global knowledge-based economy, depends critically on the education of our own people ... this means K-16, not just K-12.
We're working to expand future revenue streams including philanthropy and research dollars, but this will take time.
While tuition is a valuable and valid source of revenue, I've pledged to keep it steady or to increase it just moderately. I'm keenly aware of the large burden that a tuition increase would put on students and their families.
Let me ask you not to view the budget of the University of South Carolina as a part of the problem, but to look to our university as a part of the solution to help drive South Carolina forward out of the economic crisis and into a brighter future.
College education is key to the future of the entire state--we are the University of South Carolina, we comprise eight universities in an efficient and effective system.
We take our commitment to the state as the most important mission of the university. In a rank ordering of our priorities, commitment to South Carolina would be number 1, 2 and 3.
Let me close by reiterating that I know the plight of the state's economy and I pledge to do all I can to preserve the best that we have and, as we wait for our economy to revive, I only ask you to protect us and to encourage us to a degree commensurate with our value to the great Palmetto State.
I don't know if the current financial climate would support a bond bill this year, but I would like to express my fervent hope that a reasoned debate will take place. On the eight campuses in our system, with locations throughout our state, there are new capital projects and needed renovations that are critical.
I also ask that you protect merit scholarships that help keep our best South Carolina students in South Carolina. Education is key to the future of our entire state. We ask that you protect it as we move into this New Year.
|May 6||Allendale, S.C.|
|May 7||Spartanburg, S.C.|
|May 8||Sumter, S.C.|
|May 9||Aiken, S.C.|
|May 13-14||Mexico City, Mexico|
|May 23-24||New York City|
|May 29-June 1||Destin, Fla.|
|June 3||Washington, D.C.|
Office of the President
University of South Carolina
Osborne Administration Building
Columbia, SC 29208