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Anderson University
Anderson University, South Carolina seal.svg
Former name
Anderson College
MottoHumanitatem per crucem alere (Latin)
Motto in English
To nourish humanity through the cross
Religious affiliation
South Carolina Baptist Convention
PresidentEvans P. Whitaker, Ph.D.
Location, ,
United States

34°30′54″N 82°38′24″W / 34.51500°N 82.64000°W / 34.51500; -82.64000Coordinates: 34°30′54″N 82°38′24″W / 34.51500°N 82.64000°W / 34.51500; -82.64000
Campus305 acres (123 ha), 36 buildings
Colors   Black & gold
Sporting affiliations
MascotTroy the Trojan
Anderson University, South Carolina logo.svg

Anderson University is a private university in Anderson, South Carolina. It offers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees in approximately 78 areas of study. Anderson is affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention and is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[1][2] Anderson participates in NCAA Division II athletics and is a member of the South Atlantic Conference.[3]

Anderson was the 19th fastest-growing private master's university in the United States from 2006 to 2016, more than doubling its enrollment during the decade.[4]

Re-established in 1911 as Anderson College, it is the successor to Johnson University, which was founded in 1848 by local Baptist leaders. Anderson was initially a female college until 1931 when it became co-ed, and in 2006 it was re-styled Anderson University. It consists of nine distinct colleges and schools: South Carolina School of the Arts, Clamp Divinity School, Arts and Sciences, Business, Christian Studies, Education, Health Professions, Interior Design, and Public Service & Public Administration.[5]

In July 2020, Anderson announced that a new college of engineering has been created. Pending pertinent accreditation approvals, it will offer bachelor programs in mechanical and electrical engineering, and will welcome its first class in fall 2021.[6]


Johnson Female Seminary was established in 1848 at the present-day site of First Baptist Church of Anderson which is also an affiliate of Anderson University[7]
Johnson Female Seminary was established in 1848 at the present-day site of First Baptist Church of Anderson which is also an affiliate of Anderson University[7]


Anderson University traces its heritage and initial founding to 1848 in the form of Johnson Female Seminary (later renamed Johnson University) which was located in Anderson, South Carolina. The seminary was founded by Anderson citizens Daniel Brown, J.P. Reed, and Stephen McCulley. Johnson Female Seminary was named for the Rev. William Bullein Johnson, an early Baptist statesman, a founder and first Vice President of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, and the first president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Johnson served as the first chancellor of Johnson University.[8] By 1857 Johnson University had around 600 students taking courses in calculus, Latin, and Greek. In 1858 Johnson's health declined and in 1862 he died.[9] Johnson's home still stands in Anderson and his portrait hangs in perpetuity in the Truett Cathy Old Common Room in Merritt Hall on the Anderson University campus. Johnson was buried in the cemetery of First Baptist Church of Anderson.

The university closed its doors due to the combined impact of Rev. Johnson's untimely death and the onset of the Civil War. The main building of Johnson University became a Confederate treasury and printing press during the civil war until 1865 when Union forces occupied the building. After the war the Carolina Collegiate Institute and Patrick Military Institute used the buildings of the seminary for educational purposes until 1920. The buildings of Johnson University were then demolished around 1920.[10]

Anderson College

Anderson College in 1911
Anderson College in 1911

Shortly after the turn of the century, those who fondly remembered the impact that Johnson University had on the region developed a compelling vision of resurrecting the institution in the form of Anderson College in 1911. The name Anderson comes from Robert Anderson an American Revolutionary War veteran and the namesake of Anderson, South Carolina. The Anderson Chamber of Commerce raised $100,000 and secured 32 acres (13 ha) for the new campus. The land and funds were given to the South Carolina Baptist State Convention to establish the college.[11] The Merritt Administration Building was the first building constructed on the land. For a time this was the only building dedicated to academics. It would eventually house only the president's office and the Merritt Theatre.[12]

At the outset there were financial problems until Dr. Annie Denmark became president in 1929. Denmark became the first female college president in South Carolina. Denmark's inauguration as president on February 14, 1929, established the tradition for Anderson College as Founder's Day celebrating the day of chartering the institution.

In 1931 Anderson College became a co-educational junior college. In the 1990s Anderson returned to its status and offerings as a four-year institution.

Anderson University

Anderson College was re-styled Anderson University in 2006.[13] On the occasion of the first commencement as Anderson University, S. Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A, and his son Dan Cathy received honorary degrees from Anderson University for "exemplifying the character and vision Christian businessmen should possess".[14] In June 2011 Anderson University became the host of the Palmetto Boys State. In 2012 Anderson University joined the University Center of Greenville (UCG) becoming the first educational institution in approximately 20 years to join. In 2013, Anderson University received a $143,000 grant from the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education to duplicate the success of its groundbreaking MLI in South Carolina public schools.[15] A new 60,000 square foot library was opened in 2006. Five new residence halls were constructed and a student townhome complex was acquired. A new 90,000 square foot student center was opened in fall 2016.[16]


Front view of Anderson University and the Merritt Administration Building
Front view of Anderson University and the Merritt Administration Building

Most of the buildings on the main campus are red brick, built throughout the 20th century in the Georgian architectural style. The Merritt Administration Building, Denmark Hall, and Pratt Hall were the original buildings on the Anderson University campus, being built at the time of the university's founding in 1911. One of the main educational facilities at the heart of campus, Watkins Hall, was dedicated in 1967.[17] Other marked points of interest include the Sullivan Music Building, and the Abney Athletic Center.[18][19]

The front lawn is called "Alumni Lawn" (sometimes referred to as the "Sacred Six" acres) of Anderson University and is heavily wooded with large oak trees, as is the interior of the main campus which is landscaped in a series of rising terraces. Alumni Lawn and many early buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Anderson College Historic District.[20]

In 2008, the university purchased the nearby Anderson County Fairgrounds comprising 77 acres, and simultaneously accepted a gift of 125 adjacent acres on the Rocky River from benefactors John and Marie Pracht. These acquisitions quadrupled the campus acreage from 68 to 270. The Fairgrounds property is being transformed into the university's Athletic Campus. Facilities include a swimming pool, tennis center, softball stadium, soccer stadium, intramural gymnasium, and practice fields with plans for the addition of a baseball stadium, track, fitness center and field house, and athletic administration facility. The Pracht property includes 40 acres of healthy wetlands. Subsequently, the university joined with other wetlands property owners to form the Rocky River Conservancy. The combined properties are being developed into a protected ecological park with trails, boardwalks, and discovery center. The university has reserved a portion of the Pracht property uplands for future development.

Thrift Library
Thrift Library

Anderson University created a special partnership in 2012 which operates within the former Duke Energy Service Center which is approximately one mile from the main campus and which was a partial gift to the university from the former Duke Energy Carolinas (now Duke Energy Progress). The facility is the home of the university's graduate program in criminal justice otherwise known as the Command College of South Carolina. The facility also houses undergraduate criminal justice programs.

In 2013, the university acquired the first floor of the historic Chiquola building in downtown Anderson, less than a mile from the main campus. The 11,000 square foot facility is a multi-purpose space for the university's graphic design degree program, student activities, and a center for the study and practice of entrepreneurship. The facility features three storefront retail spaces in which student-initiated and run businesses will operate.

The Anderson University year-round student population stands at approximately 3,848 students, with a student to faculty ratio of 17:1.[21] About three thousand of those students are traditional undergrads, while the remainder are graduate students.[22]


Johnston Hall
Johnston Hall

College of Arts and Sciences

Watkins Teaching Center
Watkins Teaching Center

Undergraduate programs under the College of Arts and Science consist of biochemistry, biology, communication, creative writing, English literature, history, liberal studies, mathematics, political science, psychology and Spanish. The program challenges students to critical thinking, communication, and rhetoric. The Center for Undergraduate Cancer Research is also part of the college and was established in 2009 to facilitate undergraduate research in search for a cure for cancers. Working under the direction of full-time faculty, students conduct studies and publish results. The center is located on the nearby campus of AnMed Health Medical Center.[23]

College of Business

The College of Business conducts undergraduate and graduate programs. Undergraduate programs consist of business administration, accounting, human resource administration, and marketing. Highly selective internships, most of which are paid, are required for undergraduate and graduate programs of at least 150 hours. The student business group called Enactus helps students practice skills learned from the College of Business to better the community. The University Center in Greenville consists of undergraduate and graduate degrees from South Carolina's top universities including Anderson University. The Anderson University MBA program is exclusively at the University Center.[24][25]

College of Christian Studies

Undergraduate and graduate programs prepares ministers to preach the Gospel. Undergraduate majors have a choice of concentrations in apologetics, biblical studies, youth ministry, preaching, pastoral ministry, missions, women's ministry, or theology and philosophy. The Clamp Graduate School of Christian Ministry was launched in 2009, and became the Clamp Divinity School in 2014; the Divinity School offers several graduate degree programs: Master of Divinity (M.Div.), Master of Ministry (M.Min.), Master of Ministry Management (M.M.M.), Master of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies (M.A.B.T.S.), Doctor of Ministry (D.Min.) in Biblical Preaching, Doctor of Ministry in 21st Century Ministry, and the Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership (ministry track). The purpose of the Clamp school is to offer training in ministry in preparation for leading churches. The school is named after David T. Clamp who contributed an $8 million naming gift in 2008.[26][27]

College of Education

The College of Education prepares students to become public educators with Judeo-Christian values. Undergraduate programs consists of early childhood education, elementary education and secondary education. Upon completion of the undergraduate program the teacher licensure can be initiated through South Carolina Department of Education. The graduate program in education prepares teachers to become principals or certified teachers. The Teaching Fellows program of the College of Education annually sends students to teach in China and host a storytelling event on campus. Up to $6,000 in annual scholarships are provided under the Teaching Fellows program for students planning to teach in South Carolina.[28]

Vandiver Hall
Vandiver Hall
Denmark Hall
Denmark Hall

College of Engineering

In 2020, the university's board of trustees established a college of engineering which will offer majors beginning fall 2021 in electrical, mechanical, and computer engineering.[29]

College of Health Professions

The School of Nursing, School of Physical Therapy, School of Allied Health, and the School of Human Performance comprise the College of Health Professions. The schools offer undergraduate programs in nursing, kinesiology, and human services. Graduate programs are offered in nursing (MSN and DNP) and physical therapy (DPT). The Center for Medical Simulations offers realistic experience for students in nursing or physical therapy. The Center provides human-scale replicas of patients that simulate a variety of conditions.[30]

Johnny Mann Center for Commercial Music

The Johnny Mann Center is the home of The South Carolina School of the Arts' degree program in commercial music. Commercial music at Anderson University includes pop, rock, jazz, bluegrass, and country music genres. The center also serves as a library for a number of Mann's musical arrangements, compositions, and memorabilia. The Mann Center is named for the two-time Grammy Award-winning American arranger, composer, conductor, entertainer, and recording artist, Johnny Mann (John Russell Mann). As bandleader with the Johnny Mann Singers, the group recorded approximately three dozen albums, hosted the TV series titled Stand Up and Cheer (1971–1974), and was the musical director for The Joey Bishop Show.[31] He was also musical director of The Alvin Show, and was the voice of Theodore. Mann was also choral director for the NBC Comedy Hour. The Johnny Mann Singers' cover version of "Up, Up and Away", rather than the hit version by The 5th Dimension, became the hit version of the song in the UK Singles Chart.[32] The version also won a Grammy Award in 1968 in the Best Performance by a Choir of Seven or More Persons category. In total, Mann was nominated for five Grammys, two of which he won.

Mann and his wife, Betty, retired to Anderson, South Carolina in the early 2000s and immediately developed admiration for the university and a personal friendship with its president and wife. At the President's request, Mann wrote the university's Centennial Alma Mater, "The Sounds of Anderson." In 2010, the university awarded Mann an honorary doctor of humanities degree. In April 2014 at the age of 85, he was a guest conductor of The South Carolina School of the Arts,[33] at Anderson University's spring gala where he led the university choirs in performing the Johnny Mann Singers arrangement of "Up, Up and Away." At the song's conclusion, the audience of about 1,000 stood in Mann's honor.[34] It would be his last public performance. On June 18, 2014, Johnny Mann died at his home in Anderson.[35][36]

School of Interior Design

The School of Interior Design is one of only nine such programs offered at Christian colleges and universities in the United States that offers a Bachelor of Interior Design. The undergraduate program prepares students to become a designer in many settings such as in an architectural firm or interior design firm.[37]

School of Public Service and Administration

The School of Public Service and Administration educates law enforcement officers, private investigators, federal agents and prospective law students. The school also offers programs in emergency management. Undergraduate programs prepares students for the local, state and federal law enforcement, corrections and emergency response. The graduate program in criminal justice prepares those experienced in law enforcement to advance their careers into management or senior-executive positions with a commitment to Christian values.[38]

The South Carolina School of the Arts

Rainey Fine Arts Center
Rainey Fine Arts Center

In 2013, the College of Visual and Performing Arts was re-organized as The South Carolina School of the Arts, in recognition of its history of national awards and its vision to place focused attention on the professional preparation of graduates for competitive artistic performance and production roles. The School emphasizes a hybrid liberal arts-conservatory instructional approach. Degree programs and emphases within the School include Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Fine Arts, Bachelor of Music, Bachelor of Music Education, and Master of Music Education. The School is housed primarily within the Rainey Fine Arts Center which features a 1,000-seat performance hall, a 225-seat recital hall, a 125-seat black box theatre, numerous music and art studios, and an art gallery. The School also has an additional art gallery within Thrift Library, and additional graphic design facilities off-campus on the court square in downtown Anderson.[39]

Specialized accreditation

The following organizations approve or accredit individual degree programs at Anderson University:

Anderson has been granted "Candidate for Accreditation" status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE). The program is making satisfactory progress toward compliance with accreditation criteria but is not assured of receiving accreditation.[40]


Main article: Anderson Trojans

Nicknamed the Trojans, Anderson competes in NCAA Division II athletics as a member of the South Atlantic Conference. Anderson announced the addition of football starting in the 2024 season.[41]

Notable alumni


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