History & Traditions

History & Traditions

The video below provides a snapshot of each decade since Coastal Carolina Junior College opened in 1954; it was prepared to coincide with the institution's 60th anniversary in 2014.

1950s    |    1960s    |    1970s    |    1980s    |    1990s    |    2000s    |    2010s


Conway High SchoolOn the evening of July 23, 1954, a group of citizens met in the Horry County Memorial Library to discuss a daring proposal – the creation of a local college. The group soon becomes a nonprofit organization, the Coastal Educational Foundation, Inc. Edward Woodhouse begins his service as director of Coastal Carolina Junior College, taking the helm just nine days prior to the first day of classes on Sept. 20, 1954, when Coastal Carolina Junior College opened as a branch of the College of Charleston. Fifty-three students are enrolled, taught by a handful of part-time faculty, with classes meeting after hours in Conway High School (pictured right).


Coastal Carolina Junior College becomes independent when the College of Charleston discontinues its extension program. Horry County voters approve a referendum that raises taxes by three mills to provide funding for the college.


The South Carolina General Assembly creates the Horry County Higher Education Commission, a government regulatory agency to oversee use of Coastal Carolina's county tax money. The college's first five graduates are awarded associate's degrees on May 27, 1959.
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The Horry County Higher Education Commission is responsible for a contract that establishes Coastal Carolina Regional Campus of the University of South Carolina, effective fall 1960. The college was soon to become USC Coastal Carolina College, beginning a 33-year relationship with the University of South Carolina. George C. Rogers, who served as administrative director of Coastal Carolina Junior College from 1955 until 1960, announces his retirement. William C. Casper is named director.


1961 news photo billboard announcing future campusMembers of the Horry County Higher Education Commission and Coastal Educational Foundation, Inc., agree it is time to move to a campus suitable for institutional growth. They select the present site of the University, most of which was donated by Burroughs Timber Company and International Paper Company. A major fundraising drive raises $317,000 for construction. Coastal’s first intercollegiate athletics contest is held, a basketball game between Coastal and USC Florence.


Singleton Building Construction imageGround is broken for the campus and less than a year later Coastal Carolina's 110 students move into the first campus building, now known as the Edward M. Singleton Building.
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Edward M. "Dick" Singleton begins his 20-year tenure as director and later chancellor of USC Coastal Carolina College. Coastal baseball plays its first season in 1963.


atheneum, spring flowersWith an idea and a gift from William A. Kimbel and L. Maud Kimbel, the Atheneum, the campus symbol, is completed.


The Williams-Brice Health and Fine Arts Building is dedicated in November 1972 after a $250,000 bequest from the estate of Martha Williams Brice toward its construction. William A. Kimbel also donates $100,000 toward the construction, and the gymnasium is named in his honor. Men's tennis becomes Coastal’s fourth intercollegiate program.
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USC Coastal Carolina College adds a junior year; in 1974, a fourth year is added. Kearns Hall is completed.


USC Coastal Carolina College awards its first four-year degree.


Kimbel Library opens, replacing the library's former home on the first floor of the Singleton Building.


The 25th anniversary of the institution is celebrated on April 24 beginning with a ceremony held on the steps of the Singleton Building.
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Wheelwright Auditorium, the first center for the performing arts in northeast South Carolina, is dedicated. The $3.1 million facility is funded almost entirely by private donations, including a $1.2 million gift from the Kimbel family. The facility is named for L. Maud Kimbel's maternal grandfather, John Wheelwright, who was involved with the cotton trade in South Carolina in the early 1900s.


Under the leadership of Ronald G. Eaglin, who served as chancellor from 1985 to 1992, USC Coastal Carolina College becomes a full member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).


Founders is celebrated to recognize those who had central roles in the history of the institution, including those who are designated "original founders" during the ceremony. The first on-campus residence halls open.
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Enrollment reaches more than 4,000 students. The number of full-time faculty grows to 175.


The Campaign for Progress surpasses its goal of $5.5 million in fewer than five years, spurring growth in capital projects, the arts and academic enrichment programs.


On July 23, 1991, the Coastal Educational Foundation and the Horry County Higher Education Commission vote to seek legislative approval to establish an independent Coastal Carolina University. USC System President John Palms recommends to the USC Board of Trustees that Coastal Carolina pursue independence from the university in name and administration. The trustees adopt President Palms' recommendation in June 1992. The 1991 men's basketball team becomes the first Coastal athletic program to reach an NCAA championship. The Athletic Hall of Fame is founded to recognize the outstanding contributions of former student-athletes, coaches and staff.
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The South Carolina Legislature passes legislation establishing Coastal Carolina University as an independent, public institution, effective July 1, 1993. Gov. Carroll Campbell signs the bill during a ceremony at Coastal Carolina on May 14, 1993. The University’s first Board of Trustees meets for the first time July 1, 1993. Ronald R. Ingle is named the University's first president. Coastal Carolina University begins offering its first graduate programs in education in Fall 1993. The E. Craig Wall Sr. School of Business Administration Building is completed and dedicated in honor of Mr. Wall, who was one of the University's original founders. The University seal is introduced as well as other important traditions.


The Eldred E. Prince Building, funded by the Horry County Higher Education Commission, is completed and dedicated. New projects include plans for a humanities building, residence hall/dining facility, athletic administration complex, printing services facility and renovations to existing buildings. The University's first formal inauguration is held to install President Ronald R. Ingle.


A $68 million campus master plan is unveiled that will guide development of the University to the 50th anniversary of the institution, to be celebrated in 2004.
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The Board of Trustees adopts A Journey of Excellence, a plan to guide the University into the next century. The South Carolina General Assembly approves $11.7 million for the new Humanities and Fine Arts Building. The University mace makes its debut at the May commencement ceremony. The first class of Wall Fellows is named after Craig Wall Jr. establishes the program designed to prepare top students for high-level careers in major U.S. and international organizations.


The R. Cathcart Smith Science Center is dedicated, and a $2 million campaign to upgrade the facility is announced. Coastal Carolina University offers baccalaureate degree programs in 36 major fields of study through its four academic schools, graduate programs in education, and seven cooperative programs with other South Carolina universities. The E. Craig Wall Sr. School of Business Administration gains accreditation by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business.


The South Carolina General Assembly approves the final funding for the new humanities and fine arts building. Nobel Laureate Archbishop Desmond Tutu visits the campus as part of the Kimbel Distinguished Lecturer Series. The School of Education gains accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The Board of Trustees approves the sale of revenue bonds to begin construction of a 350-bed residence hall, expansion of the dining facility and construction of University Hall, now known as Baxley Hall. Football will be added to the intercollegiate mix in 2003; marking Coastal's 17th NCAA Division I intercollegiate program.
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To reflect the growth of academic programs and the maturity of the institution, the four academic schools of the University are renamed colleges. A statewide awareness campaign bolsters the University's visibility. The University endowment tops $12 million, reflecting a more than 300 percent increase since 1993; the total number of donors increases by 17 percent in one year. A new residence hall opens, expanding on-campus residence capacity by 35 percent to more than 1,000 students. Commencement in May recognizes 492 graduates, the largest graduating class in the University's history.


University enrollment increases to almost 5,000 students from 47 states and 50 countries. The average SAT for entering freshmen tops the national average. A major construction boom is highlighted by the opening and formal dedication of the Thomas W. and Robin W. Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts, the largest building on campus. A $1.8 million gift from the estate of Rebecca Randall Bryan marks the largest single cash gift in the University's history. In collaboration with the Georgetown community, the University brings the Freedom Schooner Amistad to Georgetown; the Amistad attracts more than 16,000 visitors, including more than 8,000 schoolchildren from Horry and Georgetown counties.
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The University's enrollment rises to a record of nearly 6,000 students. A baccalaureate degree program is offered in management-international tourism. State appropriations fall to approximately 23 percent of the total current funds, and tuition and fees represent nearly half of the University’s $63 million operating budget. CCU receives a Certificate of Achievement from the S.C. Commission on Higher Education for its Comprehensive Permanent Improvement Plan. The first class of recruits for the new football team begins practice in preparation for intercollegiate play in Fall 2003.


Brooks Stadium during first football game September 6, 2003The University now offers master's degrees in education, instructional technology, and coastal marine and wetland studies. A growing array of international programs take students to places such as Australia, Costa Rica, Cuba, England, Ecuador, Galapagos Islands, Germany, India, Japan, Russia and Spain. The University anticipates its anniversary in 2004 with plans for the 50th Anniversary Initiatives, an ambitious campaign to raise private funds to support the academic, physical and athletic needs of the University. A $1.5 million gift from Burroughs & Chapin Company is announced to support the construction of an education and research facility at the University’s Waties Island/Tilghman ‌Point property. A $2 million gift from Loris native Bob Brooks marks the largest single gift in the history of the University and places the Brooks name on the new football stadium. More than 8,000 fans pack Brooks Stadium on Sept. 6 for the inaugural game of the Chanticleer NCAA I-AA football squad. On-campus resident students total 1,862. 
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Coastal Carolina University offers baccalaureate degree programs in 38 major fields of study and 36 undergraduate minors. The University serves students and the community with a new location, the Waccamaw Higher Education Center in Litchfield, and sites in Georgetown and Myrtle Beach. The 50th anniversary celebration officially begins on Founders Day, Sept. 20, with a formal convocation to honor the three educational institutions that had pivotal roles in the shaping of Coastal Carolina University: Horry County Schools, the University of South Carolina and the College of Charleston. The Spadoni College of Education is named for William L. "Spud" Spadoni and members of his family through a $1 million gift to the 50th Anniversary Initiatives. To coincide with the 50th anniversary, History Professor Emeritus Roy Talbert Jr., authors Coastal Carolina University: The First 50 Years. The book describes the institution's hardscrabble beginnings, the long and arduous road toward independence, and the realization and progress of an emerging University. The Jackson Family Center for Ethics and Values is established in the Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts.


Enrollment reaches 7,613 students; to accommodate the growth, the University continues to extend its physical presence to the East Campus, located in the Atlantic Center on U.S. 501. The campus now comprises 52 main buildings on 302 acres. The long-awaited MBA degree gains approval, and the Wall College of Business begins accepting MBA students for Fall 2006. New baccalaureate degree programs are approved in communication and in recreation and sport management, bringing the total number of undergraduate degree programs to 40 fields of study. The 50th Anniversary Initiatives campaign raises $3 million more than the $10 million goal, reflecting the growing community support for the University.
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The University continues record growth with 8,049 students from 44 states and 32 foreign countries enrolled in Fall 2006. The freshman class has an entering SAT score of 1,047 and an average high school GPA of 3.32, topping national averages in both categories. The University’s operating budget tops $110 million, 12 percent of which comes from state appropriations. Ground is broken for the Athletics Field House.


David A. DeCenzo takes office as the second president of Coastal Carolina University on May 7, 2007. His formal inauguration – built around the theme "Dawning of a New Tomorrow" – is held Sept. 14. The new president appoints a Strategic Planning Steering Committee comprising all University stakeholders to examine and refine the University's mission, establish priorities, and link strategic direction to budgeting and assessment. The total number of alumni since 1993 reaches 10,129. The annual economic impact of the University tops $225 million. The University hosts the Big South Undergraduate Research Symposium, the first academic conference for Big South member schools.
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Coastal Carolina University receives its largest grant, $2.3 million, from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish a program that partners graduate students and Horry County K-12 teachers in coastal science research. For the first time, a Coastal Carolina University faculty member is named the Governor's 2008 Professor of the Year. A building campaign is underway to expand Kimbel Library, build an annex to the R. Cathcart Smith Science Center, as well as to construct a student recreation and convocation center, among other projects. Horry County voters approve a penny sales tax to provide funding to be divided among the Horry County public schools, Horry-Georgetown Technical College and Coastal Carolina University; the tax is expected to provide approximately $120 million during the next 15 years for facility improvements for the University. Chanticleer alumni earn accolades in the U.S. Olympics, the NFL and Major League Soccer, and on the PGA Tour.


Coastal Carolina University is named one of America's 100 Best College Buys by Institutional Research & Evaluation Inc. The University is ranked in the top 15 percent of the nation's four-year undergraduate institutions in "America's Best Colleges," compiled by Forbes and the Center for College Affordability and Productivity. Fall 2009 enrollment is approximately 8,300 students from 45 states and 38 foreign countries. One of the largest gifts in University history will support health science education and the new science addition – Kenneth E. Swain Hall – will be named in honor of the donor. The E. Craig Wall Sr. College of Business Administration is named one of the 300 best in the world by AACSB-International. The Burroughs & Chapin Center for Marine and Wetland Studies joins the State Energy Office, Santee Cooper, Clemson and North Carolina State University to conduct research on wind power for commercial use.
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The Coastal Carolina University Student Housing Foundation purchases a residential facility near campus and combines it with University Place, increasing the on-campus resident capacity to 3,379. The Athletics Field House is completed and becomes the home of the Sasser Athletics Hall of Fame. Groundbreaking is held for two major campus additions: the Student Recreation and Convocation Center and the Bryan Information Commons. A total of 891 graduates participate in May Commencement. The University is named a "Military Friendly School" by two national organizations. The baseball team is recognized by the NCAA for having the highest winning percentage among Division I baseball programs and hosts the NCAA Super Regionals for the first time. Fall 2010 enrollment is 8,706 students. With the purchase of Quail Creek Golf Club, the campus now comprises 69 main buildings on 633 acres.


U.S. News & World Report ranks the University 26th of Top Public Schools in the South in the Regional Universities category. CCU is also ranked among the top 15 regional public universities in the South in the Great Schools, Great Prices category in the U.S News & World Report rankings. Also, for the third consecutive year, CCU is named one of America's Best Colleges by Forbes and one of America’s 100 Best College Buys by Institutional Research & Evaluation Inc. The new state-of-the-art baseball/softball hitting facility opens in May. Quail Creek Golf Club is renamed the General James Hackler Golf Course at Coastal Carolina University in honor of the Grand Strand golfing pioneer and CCU benefactor. Fall 2011 enrollment is 9,084. Campus residence halls are dedicated to honor University leaders Ronald G. Eaglin, chancellor from 1985 to 1992, and Ronald R. Ingle, president from 1993 to 2007. The Commons is renamed Fred W. Hicks III Dining Hall; Hicks served as chancellor from 1983 to 1985.
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Coastal Carolina University initiates the largest building program in its history. In accordance with the Campus Master Plan, there are 30 active building projects in some stage of planning or construction on campus. Altogether, CCU’s building program adds up to more than $244 million in capital-funded projects. Coastal Carolina University is named to the 2012 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, an annual recognition program sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service that celebrates exemplary commitment to service and volunteering from institutions of higher education.


For the fourth consecutive year, Coastal Carolina University is named one of America’s 100 Best College Buys and for the second consecutive year is ranked in the top tier in Regional Universities (South) category in U.S. News & World Report’s annual Best Colleges and 29th in Top Public Schools-Regional Universities (South). Coastal Carolina University scientists unveil a new hurricane outlook model system – the Hurricane Genesis and Outlook (HUGO) Project – to offer outlooks for both the U.S. East Coast and Gulf Coast. Women's lacrosse competes in its inaugural season to become the Chanticleers' 18th NCAA Division I sport.
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Coastal Carolina University begins offering its first doctoral program, the Ph.D. in coastal and marine systems science. The University establishes the Institute for Leadership and Public Policy, named for longtime Coastal Carolina University administrator Edgar L. Dyer. The Conway Innovation Center, a technology incubator that Coastal Carolina University co-sponsors with the City of Conway and Clemson University, opens. The University's combined athletic facilities are named the TD Sports Complex and dedicated in September.


The expanded Lib Jackson Student Union is dedicated on March 2. The Senator Clementa C. Pinckney Scholarship is created in June to honor the civic leader slain in the Charleston mass shooting incident. Fall enrollment exceeds 10,000 students for the first time. Two new residence halls, Tradition and Chanticleer, open as the first phase of a large-scale, four-building community that will accommodate a total of 1,274 first-year students. Coastal Carolina University announces its decision to join the Sun Belt Athletic Conference, effective July 1, 2016.
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The University now offers 72 undergraduate programs and 21 graduate programs. With the opening of two new residence halls, CCU accommodates 4,600 students in University housing. The Board of Trustees adopts a new strategic plan, High-Impact Engagement: The Coastal Carolina University 2016-2021 Strategic Plan, to guide the University and its growth by 2.5 percent to 3 percent annually toward 12,500 students by 2023. The largest fundraising campaign in the institution's history – I’M IN – The Endowment Campaign for Coastal Carolina University – is launched in April 2016. The baseball team wins the national championship at the College World Series, marking CCU's first national title in any sport.

Note: A significant trove of local history, including more than 1,000 old photographs, journals, Civil War-era letters, and maps is available online through CCU's Horry County Archives Center.