USC Aiken looks ahead in honoring past

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The University of South Carolina Aiken is looking to its future as it celebrates its past.

"In 2011, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of USC Aiken," Chancellor Thomas Hallman said in his recent State of the Campus address. "This is more than a milestone; it is a commemoration of five decades of educating the citizens of our area to be leaders of tomorrow."

Planning during the next four years will focus on student body and academic culture, campus framework, partnerships, traditions and campus pride.

Student body proposals include raising enrollment to 3,700, a slight increase from the 2002 peak of 3,416.

The school, which will add new freshman dorms in 2008, would also like to increase freshman retention rates to 72 percent. To help reach that goal, the school will expand the First-Year Experience Program to include a full-semester course for freshmen.

Expansion of the campus framework also includes initiatives on the fiscal side. Goals include increasing salary equity so faculty and staff can be competitive with other colleges across the state. Other initiatives include getting more alumni to donate to the endowment.

The campus will improve safety with additions to the emergency action plan. It includes code blue emergency call stations in more parking lots and emergency alert systems to text message students.

With the 50th anniversary only four years away, Dr. Hallman also focused on growing traditions and campus pride. Initiatives include increased efforts to bring alumni back for homecoming and other annual events.

"Although our campus is relatively young, we are beginning to build traditions," he said. "We are setting traditions for our campus' future and defining who we are."

Reach Julia Sellers at (803) 648-1395, ext. 106, or julia.sellers@augustachronicle.com


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