Welcome to College Town

Friday, October 23, 2015

Welcome to College Town

Posted on Friday, October 23, 2015

By Meredith Hardwicke
Produced in cooperation with the HubCity Writers Project.

With seven colleges and universities and over 15,000 college students, Spartanburg has been deemed an official “College Town” – and rightly so. With the highest per capita college student population of any major city in South Carolina, Spartanburg is home to Converse College, Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic, Spartanburg Community College, Spartanburg Methodist College, University of South Carolina Upstate, Wofford College, and Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM).

The college visit is typically a whirlwind of admission meetings and hour-long group tours. Of course, academics are a priority, but for students and families looking to get a truly authentic college experience in a short time, it’s important to look outside the classroom at the intricacies of campus life.

Here’s a taste of what students and alums love about their Spartanburg alma maters. Visitors are welcome to drive through and drop by these campuses. There is plenty to see.

Converse College

Founded in 1889, this liberal arts women’s college offers something for everyone. Art lovers are encouraged to explore the breathtaking beauty of this historic campus, glittered with exquisite bronze statues of notable women. The Milliken Art Gallery features glass walls on two sides, providing a unique exhibit space with visual access to exhibitions 24 hours a day. Throughout the year, the gallery is filled with the work of a wide variety of professional artists and Converse students.

For those with a penchant for performance, the Petrie School of Music and the Converse Theatre and Dance programs present an array of entertainment, from opera and Shakespeare to musical theatre and experimental black box productions. (Fun fact: Hazel B. Abbott Theater, located in Wilson Hall, is rumored to be haunted by its namesake.)

Wofford College

Less than two miles from the Converse campus lies Wofford College, another of Spartanburg’s college crown jewels. NCAA Division 1 sports fans know that the Southern Conference-winning Terriers regularly face off against some of the biggest teams in the country, so grab your black and gold gear and take in a football game at Gibbs Stadium. Wofford is also home to the Carolina Panthers Training Camp, so visitors can enjoy watching the pros take the field each summer. Also, insiders claim that Terrier baseball games are best enjoyed from the comfy rocking chairs at Russell C. King Field.

For the less athletically inclined, a walking tour of campus reveals a gorgeous mix of historical buildings like Old Main (whose Leonard Auditorium holds a plaque honoring the slaves who built it) and newly developed student hubs like The Village. Visitors can also enjoy the dozens of innovative sculptures that adorn the campus and check out Wofford’s World Film Series, which is designed to encourage “intellectual curiosity and aesthetic sensitivity.”

University of South Carolina Upstate & The George

USC Upstate is a public, accredited, four-year school in the University of South Carolina system. In addition to its main campus, USC Upstate is also home to downtown Spartanburg’s George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics, affectionately known as “The George.”

USC Upstate is home to a myriad of fantastic performance groups spanning all musical genres, including the Commercial Music Combo, Gospel Choir, Jazz Combo, and the Upstate Vocal Ensemble. Visitors can also treat themselves to the theatrical stylings of the Shoestring Players, who present several major productions each year, plus smaller presentations and original revues.

Nature lovers – and those looking for a little relaxation – can appreciate the serene beauty of the 12-Acre Susan Jacobs Arboretum, which features a 300-seat amphitheater, lighted walkways, indigenous foliage, and a tranquil creek.

Those with entrepreneurial aspirations can visit The George, a modern facility featuring a stock trading lab where students make real-time stock trading calls based on momentum, news, and overall current-day stock market action. The George also has three art galleries which feature rotating exhibits from The Johnson Collection ranging from the 1700s to the present.

Spartanburg Methodist College

SMC is the only independent, regionally accredited, residential two-year college in South Carolina. The college's athletic teams have won numerous regional, divisional, and national titles – most notably their baseball team, which boasts a laundry list of Major League Baseball draft picks – so stop by and watch the Pioneers on their home turf.

This college began in 1911 as the Textile Industrial Institute, the first cooperative education program in the country, serving people working in the area cotton mills one week in school, one week on the job. Its beautiful granite buildings are made of stone quarried from the area. This college is the subject of the book “Common Ties,” published by Hub City Press.


This private osteopathic medical school has been named one of the top 10 most beautiful medical schools in the country. The beautifully preserved campus offers visitors a half-mile walking track and a scenic pond, as well as a 182-foot smoke stack which harkens back to the property’s historical significance as the location of the original Spartan Mills textile factory. It’s worth the time to tour this Spartanburg landmark turned state-of-the-art medical education institution.

As you pack your cars and hit the road for the all-important college visit, mark your map for Spartanburg and see all that this true college town has to offer.

Meredith Hardwicke, Produced in cooperation with the HubCity Writers Project.

Meredith Hardwicke is a writer of copy, fiction, and features. A Spartanburg native, she travels often but always comes home.

Converse College – www.converse.edu
Wofford College – www.wofford.edu
University of South Carolina Upstate – www.uscupstate.edu
Spartanburg Methodist College – www.smc.edu
Spartanburg Community College – www.scc.edu
Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic – www.sherman.edu
Edward Via College of Osteopathic Medicine (VCOM) – http://www.vcom.edu/visit/location-carolinas.html

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