USC Upstate Welcomes its Biggest Freshman Class Ever

September 3, 2010 at 12:13 pm

By Gary Glancy gary.glancy@shj.com
Spartanburg Herald Journal
Published: Thursday, September 2, 2010 at 3:15 a.m.
Photo GERRY PATE/gerry.pate@shj.com

For the University of South Carolina Upstate, bigger has also meant better.

The Quad at the center of the ever-expanding campus was the scene of abundant sunshine and lots and lots of first-year students during the university’s annual Freshman Convocation on Wednesday.

A record 892 freshmen from 218 high schools have entered USC Upstate this fall. As a whole, the class has a 3.6 grade-point average and scored an average of 1,000 on the SAT, and 692 students have LIFE or HOPE Scholarships.

“The university is very excited to have continued enrollment growth,” said USC Upstate spokeswoman Tammy Whaley, “especially with entering freshmen of such a high caliber of qualified students.”

And this year the university, which has struggled with available classroom space, is in a better position than ever to accommodate them.

The opening of the George Dean Johnson Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg this summer has freed up significant space back at the main campus. The business school, which enrolls 850 students, has moved all of its classes and faculty offices to the new downtown building.

Other accommodations include new parking lots that have been constructed at the northern end of campus, providing additional spaces within walking distance of the residence halls where nearly 1,000 students reside.

A dedicated digital design lab in the Humanities and Performing Arts Center has also been added. The new lab provides 18 work stations, which will function both as classroom space and a lab, providing students with additional lab resources in which to complete their projects and assignments.

The Horace C. Smith Science Building, meanwhile, has undergone major renovations.

A freshman major biology lab features larger work areas to conduct complex experiments, standing height work stations for better comfort and new student seating. And a new human anatomy laboratory allows for materials to be accessed outside of class time.

Other labs allow additional sections of other courses to be offered as they free up additional laboratory spaces.

Last year, USC Upstate unveiled the Magnolia House, a 105,000-square-foot complex that can house up to 352 freshmen in its 87 suites.