|Converse College (1889–2021)|
|Endowment||$77.6 million (2020)|
|Campus||Urban, 70 acres (28 ha)|
|Colors||Purple and gold|
|NCAA Division II – Conference Carolinas|
|Mascot||Val the Valkyrie|
Converse University is a private university in Spartanburg, South Carolina. It was established in 1889 by a group of Spartanburg residents and named after textile pioneer Dexter Edgar Converse. It was originally a women's college but now admits men.
Converse College Historic District
|Location||580 E. Main St., Spartanburg, South Carolina|
|Area||20 acres (8.1 ha)|
|Architectural style||Late Gothic Revival, Romanesque, Richardson Romanesque|
|NRHP reference No.||75001706|
|Added to NRHP||November 12, 1975|
Converse College opened on October 1, 1890, with a student body of 168 women and 16 faculty members. The college only admitted women students and operated as a "stock company" with the board of directors composed entirely of residents of Spartanburg. Dexter Edgar Converse, a native of Vermont who had settled in Spartanburg before the American Civil War and had become a successful pioneer in the cotton mill industry, served as the head of the first board of directors. On January 2, 1892, fire destroyed the college's main building. The building was enlarged during its reconstruction. In 1896, the college was incorporated in South Carolina and a self-perpetuating board of trustees was named. In 1964, the college introduced graduate programs.
The Converse College Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. It encompasses eight contributing buildings dated between 1891 and 1915. They are the Main Building (Wilson Hall) (1892), Annex (Pell Hall, 1891), Twichell Auditorium (1898–1899), Carnegie Library (1905), Cleveland House (c. 1905), Judd Science Hall (1915), Dexter Hall (1899) and Towne House (1898). The buildings are representative of the Romanesque Revival, Gothic Revival, and Neo-Classical styles.
The college changed its name to "Converse University" in the summer of 2021. The college also "expanded its undergraduate residential program from single-gender to co-ed" by admitting male undergraduate students in the fall of 2020.
|Benjamin F. Wilson||1890–1902|
|Robert Paine Pell||1902–1932|
|Edward Moseley Gwathmey||1933–1955|
|Oliver Cromwell Carmichael, Jr.||1956–1960|
|Robert T. Coleman, Jr.||1961–1989|
|Ellen Wood Hall||1989–1993|
|Sandra C. Thomas||1994–1998|
|Nancy Oliver Gray||1999–2005|
|Elizabeth A. Fleming||2006–2016|
|Krista L. Newkirk||2016–2021|
|Jeffrey H. Barker||2021–2021|
|Boone J. Hopkins ||2022–present|
Converse University has an undergraduate enrollment of about 750 students and a graduate enrollment of about 645 students.
|Conference||Conference Carolinas (primary)|
|Athletic director||Jenn Bell|
|Location||Spartanburg, South Carolina|
|Varsity teams||21 (6 men's, 12 women's, 3 co-ed)|
|Basketball arena||Weisiger Center/Tom and Tracy Hannah Gym|
|Softball stadium||Tyger River Stadium|
|Soccer field||Hayden Abney Fulp Field at Weisiger Stadium|
|Lacrosse stadium||Hayden Abney Fulp Field at Weisiger Stadium|
|Tennis venue||Sally Abney Rose Complex|
|Colors||Purple and gold|
Converse athletic teams are known as the Valkyries. The university is a member of the Division II level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), primarily competing in the Conference Carolinas.
Women's sports include acrobatics and tumbling, basketball, cross country, equestrian, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, track and field (indoor and outdoor), golf, tennis, swimming and volleyball.
The inaugural men's sports are basketball, cross country, soccer, tennis, track and field (indoor and outdoor) and volleyball. Converse's equestrian program is coeducational, though only women participate in NCAA-recognized competition. The university also has a coeducational varsity esports team.