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University of South Carolina Beaufort (2009)

Brief Description:

The University of South Carolina Beaufort (USCB) is a senior institution of the University of South Carolina system serving the southeast coasts of Georgia and South Carolina. The university’s two campuses, located on the waterfront in historic Beaufort, S.C. and at the gateway to Hilton Head Island in Bluffton, S.C., serve a diverse student body of nearly 1,650. USCB offers students an exceptional place to learn and live in an environment focused on growth, preservation and opportunity.

Mission Statement:

With its mission of teaching, research and service, USCB responds to regional needs, draws upon regional strengths and prepares graduates to participate successfully in communities locally and across the globe.

President's Quote:

“The University of South Carolina Beaufort stands at a pivotal point in its history.  Since 1795, community leaders in our historical and ecologically sensitive region of the U.S. have been committed to higher education.  This year’s Golden Jubilee celebrates our 50-year partnership with the University of South Carolina system to tailor their mission of teaching, research and public service to the unique strengths of the South Carolina Lowcountry.

However, the momentum of the last 10 years, in which USCB earned baccalaureate status as a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited institution, more than doubled its degree programs and faculty and built a state-of-the art campus on 200 acres at the gateway to Hilton Head Island, is creating opportunities for students, for our state and our coastal region that were never before envisioned.  Our roots are deep and our potential to serve is exciting.” -- Jane T. Upshaw


Major Accomplishments:

Major accomplishments in 2009 

  • USCB awarded Epscor grant:
    USCB received a portion of a $20 million research award, the largest National Science Foundation award of its kind in South Carolina history. The consortium-based project could result in tissue biofabrication. USCB’s grant money will help to establish a computational science program at the school, one of only a few in the country.

  • Campus Center and dining facility opens:
    USCB officially unveiled a new phase of growth at the university with the new Campus Center on the Hilton Head Gateway campus. It contains a full-service dining facility, multi-use space, a new bookstore and fitness center.

  • USCB introduces new studio art degree:
    The Studio Art degree program provides students with a focus in studio arts (visual arts primarily, but graphic and media arts as they become feasible), and in the history of art, within the context of the liberal arts. The program prepares graduates both for professional careers in the arts and graduate programs in fine arts. The studio art degree is the first step in transforming USCB’s Historic Beaufort campus into an arts-based college.

  • USCB nursing program earns accreditation:
    USCB’s RN to BSN and baccalaureate RN programs earned five-year accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The accreditation is retroactive to November 2008. USCB’s department of nursing chose to seek accreditation from CCNE because of the organization’s commitment to baccalaureate and higher degree programs.


Fun Facts:

  •  USC Beaufort has one of the oldest traditions of higher education in the nation.
  • In 1795, a preparatory school and college was chartered as the Beaufort College to serve the families of local planters. Classes began in 1802 and the college reached a prominent status in the community during the antebellum period. The college was forced to close in 1861 at the beginning of the Civil War and the Beaufort College building, constructed in 1852, was occupied by Union forces as a hospital.

  • The college building was used by the Freedman’s Bureau – one of the first government funded schools for African Americans -- during Reconstruction and later as an elementary school from 1909 to 1959.

  • In 1959, an act of the South Carolina legislature created the Beaufort campus of the University of South Carolina on the original Beaufort College site on the banks of the Beaufort River to offer USC courses.

  • In 1994, International Paper gave eighty acres of land to build an additional full-service campus of USC Beaufort in the region's highest growth area, just outside the bustling, internationally known resort community of Hilton Head Island, SC.

  • In 2002, USCB was granted four-year status by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education, and in 2004 USCB was accredited as a Level II baccalaureate degree granting university.

  • In 2007, after conducting an online survey and hosting numerous mascot steering committee meetings, USCB announced its new mascot would be the Sand Sharks and the university’s official colors would be navy, sand and garnet. USCB was the nation’s first university to use Sand Sharks as a mascot.

  • On January 31, 2008 the inaugural Sand Sharks baseball team played their first-ever game against the Southern Wesleyan Warriors.

  • In July 2008, USCB and the Town of Bluffton signed an agreement to place a water quality testing lab on the Hilton Head Gateway campus of the University. The town committed $325,000 over the course of three years to fund the lab. The university’s primary responsibility to the lab is to provide a staff member who will serve as the lab’s full-time water quality analyst.



“At USCB I have been given the unique experience of being part of a larger system with an established reputation and the added benefit of a personalized experience. My courses are tough and rigorous, and I feel challenged on a daily basis. My professors know me by name and are dedicated to my academic and personal success. I was given the opportunity as a sophomore to work with my professor on his personal research in his lab, an option my friends at larger colleges fight for and are rarely given before their senior years. I am encouraged and expected to get involved and to help shape the future of my University. Because USCB is a smaller school, there are infinite possibilities for involvement. I have grown immensely as a leader and as a student and I owe my success to my experience here.”
-- Rachel Sopp, USCB Student Government President 2009-10 


  • Kellee Edmonds
    Vice President of Communications and Public Relations
    (202) 478-4662