A History of the University of South Carolina, 1940-2000

By Mohr, Clarence L. | South Carolina Historical Magazine, April 2004 | Go to article overview

A History of the University of South Carolina, 1940-2000


Mohr, Clarence L., South Carolina Historical Magazine


A History of the University of South Carolina, 1940-2000. By Henry H. Lesesne. (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 2001. Pp. xvii, 471; $39.95, cloth.)

Between 1900 and 1940 research became a central preoccupation in some fifteen to twenty of America's leading universities. Fewer than six of the new research universities were state institutions and, with the exception of Johns Hopkins, none of them was located below the Mason-Dixon line. Like most southern schools, the University of South Carolina entered World War II as a provincial enterprise, inwardly focused and far removed from the rigors of first-class science and scholarship. The return of peace found the university ill prepared to face a Cold War world in which higher education would be mobilized in a global struggle of technology and ideas. All this was destined to change during the next half century. Well before the turn of the twenty-first century, academic life on the state's flagship campus would be outwardly oriented and responsive to the norms of graduate education and advanced research. Carolina would enter the new millennium as "a genuine research university committed to a public service mission in addition to teaching" (p. 327).

Henry Lesesne's carefully researched account of the University of South Carolina during the past six decades chronicles the school's metamorphosis in a narrative that provides regional context and comparison even as it emphasizes how the university's destiny was tied to the political and economic history of a single state. Like most institutional histories, this one gives scant attention to the content of specific academic disciplines as manifested over time in the work of university faculty. Prominent professors are mentioned, but the substance of their work is rarely discussed. Intellectual forces, as such, play little role in Lesesne's analysis which focuses instead on issues of presidential leadership, statewide educational politics (including turf battles with rival schools and reactions to civil rights and campus protest), program development, fiscal and demographic patterns, and changing modes of campus life. The resulting book is a candid chronicle of dreams deferred, uneven leadership, and eventual triumph over a generation of largely self-inflicted setbacks. Apologia is notably absent from Lesesne's work; purposeful assessment based upon hard statistical data is much in evidence.

Beginning in the 1940s, every decade of the postwar era witnessed efforts to move the University of South Carolina from the lower rungs of institutional status toward a position of greater academic strength. During 1944-45 the university established a scholarly press, secured outside support for a Bureau of Public Administration, and began doctoral work in the field of southern history. Proposals for increased support for research and graduate education went unheeded, however, and faculty morale sagged beneath the combined weight of high teaching loads and low pay. Administrative leadership was lackluster at best. The school's first postwar president, engineer and retired navy admiral Norman M. Smith, was a politically inept figure who became intensely unpopular with returning veterans. Smith took office just in time to witness the legislative defeat of an ambitious proposal for relocating and expanding the USC campus.

The stillbirth of this plan for a "new and greater university" owed much to destructive infighting among South Carolina's four white public universities, but perhaps even more to the state's fixation with the past and its diehard defense of racial segregation. Instead of admitting black graduate and professional students to programs in Columbia during the late 1940s, state lawmakers squandered painfully scarce higher education dollars by creating a separate law school and graduate school of education at historically black South Carolina State College in Orangeburg. Realistic observers knew that South Carolina's rear guard defense of white supremacy was doomed to ultimate failure. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

A History of the University of South Carolina, 1940-2000
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.