Spartanburg Methodist College is a two-year institution related to the United Methodist Church and located on 110 acres in western Spartanburg County. Enrollment in the fall of 2001 was 635.
The college traces its origins to the Textile Industrial Institute (TII), founded in 1911 by David English Camak (1880–1967), then pastor of Duncan Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church, South in the Spartan Mill village. While he was a student, Camak was inspired by the description by Dr. Henry Nelson Snyder, president of Wofford College, of the plight of southern cotton textile workers and determined to devote his life to ministry among mill workers. Camak persuaded Walter S. Montgomery, president of Spartan Mill, to provide space in a vacant house near the church for an elementary and secondary school. Camak began with one student and $100 in borrowed funds. In a unique arrangement, Camak’s students alternately attended school one week, then worked in the mill one week.
In 1912 the school was adopted as a mission of the South Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The following year the present campus was purchased, and students began to erect Charles P. Hammond Hall, which at the beginning of the twenty-first century was still in use as a residence hall. In 1927 TII began to offer the first two years of college-level work, preparing students for transfer to four-year institutions or for immediate employment.
Because of the increasing availability of public schools to the families of textile workers, TII dropped high school courses in 1940. In 1942 the institution became Spartanburg Junior College, a name it retained until 1974, when it became Spartanburg Methodist College. Perhaps its most distinguished alumnus is Olin D. Johnston, a former South Carolina governor and U.S. senator. A. V. HUFF, JR.
Camak, David English. Human Gold from Southern Hills. Greer, S.C., 1960.