At the start of the twenty-first century, Coastal Carolina had an enrollment of more than 4,600 students and some 200 full-time faculty. While more than half of the students are South Carolina residents, the remainder come from all over the United States and more than forty countries.
Located in Horry County between Conway and Myrtle Beach, Coastal Carolina University is a public comprehensive liberal arts institution granting bachelor’s degrees in forty fields of study and master’s degrees in education. Coastal Carolina began in 1954 when concerned citizens met at the Horry County Memorial Library to discuss establishing a local college. At a subsequent meeting the group voted to become a nonprofit organization, Coastal Educational Foundation, Inc. On September 20, 1954, they opened Coastal Carolina Junior College as a branch of the College of Charleston. There were fifty-three students in that first term, taught by part-time faculty after hours in Conway High School. Coastal Carolina Junior College became an independent institution in 1958 when the College of Charleston discontinued the extension program. At that time a voter referendum in Horry County approved funding for the college by a four-to-one margin. Coastal Carolina became a regional campus of the University of South Carolina (USC) in 1960.
In 1961 Coastal Carolina acquired a large tract of land between U.S. Highways 501 and 544 in Horry County, most of which was donated by Burroughs Timber Company and International Paper Company. After a major fund-raising drive, ground was broken for the present campus in 1962. As enrollment grew, the college added a third year to the curriculum in 1973, followed by a fourth year in 1974. The first bachelor’s degrees were awarded in 1975. By 1989 enrollment topped four thousand and Coastal Carolina began to consider becoming an independent institution, separate from the University of South Carolina. In June 1992 the USC Board of Trustees endorsed USC president John Palms’s recommendation that Coastal become independent. On July 1, 1993, by an act of the legislature, Coastal Carolina University became an independent, state-supported institution. Robert R. Ingle, who was chancellor when the university attained independent status, became the first president.
At the start of the twenty-first century, Coastal Carolina had an enrollment of more than 4,600 students and some 200 full-time faculty. While more than half of the students are South Carolina residents, the remainder come from all over the United States and more than forty countries. The campus consists of some forty buildings on the 260-acre main campus, plus 1,062 acres on Waites Island, a barrier island north of Myrtle Beach used for marine science and wetland biology study. The college also maintains the Center for Marine and Wetland Studies on U.S. Highway 501. Coastal Carolina University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The E. Craig Wall, Sr., College of Business Administration is accredited by the International Association for Management Education, and the College of Education is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education and by the South Carolina Board of Education.