Charleston Southern University

Charleston Southern University

1964 –

Charleston Southern has built on its mission, “promoting academic excellence in a Christian environment,” by offering more than thirty undergraduate and graduate degree programs, thirty-five student organizations, and eighteen National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I athletic teams.

Charleston Southern University is a private, liberal arts university affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention. Its roots can be traced to the 1950s, when interest in a Baptist college for the lowcountry became apparent among the churches in that area. Baptist leaders sought support for the effort to build a new college. Action by the South Carolina Baptist Convention in 1958 assured that if sufficient funds could be raised, consideration would be given to founding a college. It was initially proposed as an affiliate of Furman University.

In 1960 a charter for a college was obtained from the secretary of state, and in 1964 the South Carolina Baptist Convention accepted the new Baptist College at Charleston as an institution of the convention. The first students enrolled in January 1965, initially meeting in church facilities and housed in a downtown hotel. In September 1966 a new campus opened north of the city in Charleston County. The first bachelor’s degrees were awarded in June 1968. Regional accreditation was received in December 1970. After a change of administration in 1984, an effort was initiated to select a less generic name that reflected both the heritage and the direction of the institution. In November 1990 the name Charleston Southern University was accepted. Its geography, its roots as a Southern Baptist institution, and its emerging role as a university were all reflected in the new name.

Charleston Southern has built on its mission, “promoting academic excellence in a Christian environment,” by offering more than thirty undergraduate and graduate degree programs, thirty-five student organizations, and eighteen National Collegiate Athletic Association Division I athletic teams. With a 2001 enrollment of some 2,600 students, the school became South Carolina’s second-largest accredited independent university.

King, Joe M. A History of South Carolina Baptists. Columbia: General Board of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, 1964.

Citation Information

The following information is provided for citations.

  • Title Charleston Southern University
  • Coverage 1964 –
  • Author
  • Keywords private, liberal arts university, South Carolina Baptist Convention
  • Website Name South Carolina Encyclopedia
  • Publisher University of South Carolina, Institute for Southern Studies
  • URL
  • Access Date October 5, 2022
  • Original Published Date
  • Date of Last Update July 20, 2022
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