Benedict College

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Benedict College
Benedict College.png
Former names
Benedict Institute
MottoA Power for Good in Society
TypePrivate, HBCU
AffiliationAmerican Baptist Churches USA
Endowment$23 million[1]
PresidentRoslyn Clark Artis
Location, ,
Campus110-acre (45 ha)
ColorsPurple and gold
AthleticsNCAA Division II
AffiliationsSouthern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
track and field
cross country

Benedict College is a four-year historically black, liberal arts college located in Columbia, South Carolina. Founded in 1870 by northern Baptists, it was originally a teachers' college. It has since expanded into a full four-year college offering a variety of majors in the liberal arts field.


Benedict College Historic District
Benedict College is located in South Carolina
Benedict College
Benedict College is located in the United States
Benedict College
LocationRoughly bounded by Laurel, Oak, Taylor and Harden Sts. on Benedict College campus, Columbia, South Carolina
Area3.9 acres (1.6 ha)
ArchitectUrquhart, James B.
Architectural styleClassical Revival
NRHP reference #87000809[2]
Added to NRHPApril 20, 1987

Benedict College was founded in 1870 on a 110-acre (45 ha) plantation in Columbia, South Carolina. Under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society, Mrs. Bathsheba A. Benedict of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, provided the amount of $13,000.00 to purchase the land to open Benedict Institute on December 12, 1870.[3] This new school was established for the recently emancipated people of African descent.

Benedict's first class consisted of ten freedmen and one teacher, the Reverend Timothy L. Dodge, D.D. He was a college-trained preacher from the North, who became president of the Institute. Benedict Institute set out from humble beginnings in a dilapidated former slaveholder's mansion to prepare men and women to be "powers for good in society". The dilapidated mansion, built in 1839, served as the first schoolhouse, where grammar school subjects, along with Bible and theology, were taught. Eventually other subjects were added to the curriculum to address the original objective of the school: to train teachers and preachers.

On November 2, 1894, the institution was chartered as a liberal arts college by the South Carolina Legislature and the name Benedict Institute was changed to Benedict College.

From 1870 to 1930, Benedict College was led by a succession of seven northern white Baptist ministers, all college trained. On April 10, 1930, the Reverend John J. Starks, who earned his bachelor's degree from the college in 1891, became the first African-American president of the college. Five African-American presidents have succeeded him.

Late 20th century to present[edit]

In 1994, with a strategic planning process in place, Benedict College set an enrollment goal of "2000 by the year 2000". The goal was achieved in 1996 with an enrollment of 2,138 students. The fall 2002 enrollment was 3,000. Benedict College is engaged in an ongoing strategic planning process, which will guide the College in the 21st century.

The college is implementing a $50 million campus improvement plan, which includes land acquisition and the completion of a comprehensive athletics complex. Campus facilities improvements over the past nine years[when?] have included installation of air-conditioning, fire sprinkler systems, and security systems in residence halls; completion of an activities field and community park; renovation of historic Antisdel Chapel, Bacoats and Alumni Halls, and restoration of historic Morgan, Pratt, and Starks halls, including the Student Leadership Development Center. During this period, new construction has included three residence halls, a parking garage, a campus center/dining hall, an Administration Building, and a Business Development Center. Additionally buildings were acquired to house a fitness center, and the Division of Community Development/Center for Excellence. Three apartment complexes have been purchased for student housing. As a part of the college's community development thrust, more than 50 dilapidated properties in the adjacent community have been renovated.

The Benedict College Historic District was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.[2] It encompasses five buildings constructed between 1895 and 1937: Morgan Hall (1895), Pratt Hall (1902), Duckett Hall (1925), Antisdel Chapel (1932), and Starks Center (1937).[4][5]


Benedict offers 29 degrees from 12 departments.[6][7]

In addition to offering traditional education, the college also offers continuing education for those "non traditional students".

Benedict College has a 24% graduation rate.[8]


Benedict College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate degrees.

The Teacher Education Program is fully approved by the South Carolina Department of Education and the Program in Social Work is accredited by the Council on Social Work Education. The Environmental Health Science Program is fully accredited by the National Environmental Health Science and Protection Accreditation Council (EHAC).


Benedict College has been criticized for its lack in providing sufficient academic standards, especially because of its so-called Success Equals Effort (SE2) policy, which awards grades on the basis of effort and knowledge to all freshman and sophomore students. In 2004, two untenured professors were dismissed for refusing to adopt the policy which would have forced them to give a passing grade to students who had actually failed their exam.[9] The SE2 policy has been abolished since the fall semester of 2017.

Student activities[edit]

Greek letter organizations[edit]

The university currently has chapters for all nine of the National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations:

Organization Symbol Chapter Chapter Symbol
Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority ΑΚΑ Psi Ψ
Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity ΑΦΑ Gamma Pi ΓΠ
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority ΔΣΘ Gamma Upsilon ΓΥ
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity ΙΦΘ Theta Kappa ΘΚ
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity ΚΑΨ Gamma Mu ΓΜ
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity ΦΒΣ Gamma Lambda Gamma ΓΛΓ
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority ΣΓΡ Beta Epsilon BE
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority ΖΦΒ Kappa Beta KB
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity ΩΨΦ Epsilon Epsilon EE


Official athletics logo.

Benedict College, known athletically as the Tigers, competes as a member of the NCAA Division II's Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). The sports the school sponsors are: football, men and women's basketball, baseball, softball, track and field, cross country, golf, handball, soccer, tennis, volleyball, cheerleading, and marching band. The college has built the Charlie W. Johnson Stadium for its football games on-campus, which opened in 2006. Basketball games are played at HRC Arena. The college's cheer is "Break an arm, break a leg, Benedict!" The Benedict's Tigers Tennis Team won the SIAC Conference in 2015.

Marching Tigers "Band of Distinction"[edit]

Benedict's Marching Tigers "Band of Distinction" was founded in the 1960s under the direction of Roy McCollough. The band performs at most football games, home basketball games, and several special events throughout the year. In 2017, the band made its first appearance at the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational in the Georgia Dome of Atlanta, Georgia. The band is currently under the direction of Henry Wade Johnson.[10][11]

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Modjeska Monteith Simkins 1921 leader of African American public health reform, social reform and the civil rights movement in South Carolina [12]
Harold A. Stevens 1930 lawyer and former judge who served on the New York Court of General Sessions and New York Court of Appeals [13]
Jack B. Johnson former County Executive for Prince George's County, Maryland
LeRoy T. Walker former U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman
Waliyy Dixon Professional streetball player
Kris Bruton Basketball player who currently plays with the Harlem Globetrotters
Bennie Lewis 2009 Professional basketball player
James Maxie Ponder First African American physician in St. Petersburg, Florida [14]
Charles L. Purce 1879 President of Selma University and Simmons College of Kentucky
Mary Rice Phelps 1885 Teacher and writer [1]


  1. ^ As of 2007. Mindy Lucas. "Benedict's Heavy Hitter". Free Times (Columbia, SC). Archived from the original on 2012-07-31. Retrieved January 17, 2012.
  2. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  3. ^ Betsey, Charles L. (2008). "Grading for effort: the success equals effort policy at Benedict College". Historically black colleges and universities. New Brunswick, N.J.: Transaction Publishers. pp. 149‒164. ISBN 9781412812191. Retrieved 2013-05-27.
  4. ^ J. Tracy Power (February 1987). "Benedict College Historic District" (pdf). National Register of Historic Places - Nomination and Inventory. Retrieved 2014-01-07.
  5. ^ "Benedict College Historic District, Richland County (Columbia)". National Register Properties in South Carolina. South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Retrieved 2014-01-07. and accompanying map
  6. ^ "Degree Programs and Majors". Archived from the original on 2005-06-29.
  7. ^ "Academics". Benedict College. Archived from the original on 2005-09-01.
  8. ^ "School | College Scorecard". Retrieved 2019-05-30.
  9. ^ Grading system spurs controversy at South Carolina college, Brown Daily Herald, September 29, 2004.
  10. ^ "Band Membership Requirements - Benedict College". Archived from the original on 2018-06-30. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  11. ^ "2018 Honda Battle of the Bands - Benedict College The Marching Tiger Band of Distinction".
  12. ^ "Modjeska Simkins - Notable Black South Carolinans". Archived from the original on 2011-07-16. Retrieved 2011-01-26.
  13. ^ Navarro, Mireya (November 11, 1990). "Judge Harold Stevens First Black on Court of Appeals". Retrieved 2011-01-25.
  14. ^ Arsenault, Kathy (17 September 2001). "The Ernest Ayer Ponder Collection" (PDF). University of South Florida St. Petersburg: Digital Archive. Retrieved 28 January 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 34°00′47″N 81°01′13″W / 34.012947°N 81.020345°W / 34.012947; -81.020345