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Benedict College

Benedict College
File:Benedict College.png
Former names
Benedict Institute
Motto A Power for Good in Society
Established 1870
Type Private, HBCU
Affiliation American Baptist Churches USA
Endowment US$2 million[1]
President David Swinton
Students 2,500
Location Columbia, South Carolina,
United States
Campus Script error: No such module "convert".
Colors Purple and gold
Athletics NCAA Division II
Sports football
track and field
cross country
Nickname Template:If empty
Affiliations Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference

Benedict College is a 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 four-year college.


Benedict College Historic District
Location Roughly bounded by Laurel, Oak, Taylor and Harden Sts. on Benedict College campus, Columbia, South Carolina
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Architectural style Classical Revival
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 87000809[2]
Added to NRHP April 20, 1987

Benedict College was founded in 1870 on a Script error: No such module "convert". 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 recently emancipated people of African descent 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 slave master'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 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.

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 currently 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]


Maintaining a liberal arts tradition, Benedict College now offers bachelor degree programs in twenty-nine major areas of study to meet the needs of a complex and technological society at home and worldwide as the 21st century sets new parameters for peoples across the universe.

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

Benedict College is ranked as one of the top producers of African American Physics majors in the United States.[8]

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


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).

Student activities

Greek letter organizations

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 ΓY
Iota Phi Theta Fraternity ΙΦΘ Theta Kappa ΘΚ
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity ΚΑΨ Gamma Mu ΓM
Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity ΦΒΣ Beta Mu BM
Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority ΣΓΡ Beta Epsilon BE
Zeta Phi Beta Sorority ΖΦΒ Kappa Beta KB
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity ΩΨΦ Epsilon Epsilon E2


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.

Notable alumni

  1. REDIRECT Template:If empty
  • This is a redirect from a page that has been moved (renamed). This page was kept as a redirect to avoid breaking links, both internal and external, that may have been made to the old page name. For more information follow the category link.
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 [9]
Harold A. Stevens 1930 lawyer and former judge who served on the New York Court of General Sessions and New York Court of Appeals [10]
Jack B. Johnson former County Executive for Prince George's County, Maryland
LeRoy T. Walker former U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman
Howie Bell Comedian
Waliyy Dixon Professional streetball player
Kris Bruton Basketball player who currently plays with the Harlem Globetrotters


  1. ^ As of 2007. Mindy Lucas. "Benedict's Heavy Hitter". Free Times (Columbia, SC). Retrieved January 17, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2010-07-09. 
  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". 
  7. ^ "Academics". Benedict College. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Modjeska Simkins - Notable Black South Carolinans". Retrieved 2011-01-26. 
  10. ^ Navarro, Mireya (November 11, 1990). "Judge Harold Stevens First Black on Court of Appeals". Retrieved 2011-01-25. 

External links

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