Home > Newsroom

Spartanburg Colleges Form 'College Town' Consortium

Wednesday, October 15, 2003

SPARTANBURG, SC – Spartanburg Mayor Bill Barnet and presidents from Spartanburg’s six colleges today announced the new College Town consortium for collaborative social and academic programs to showcase the institutions of higher education in the community.

Barnet was joined at the announcement, held at Barnet Park, by the presidents and chancellors of the six local institutions – President Nancy Gray of Converse College; President Jerry Hardee of Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic; President Charles Teague of Spartanburg Methodist College; President Dan Terhune of Spartanburg Technical College; Chancellor John Stockwell of the University of South Carolina Spartanburg; and President Benjamin Dunlap of Wofford College.

“Spartanburg’s six colleges have greatly enhanced the value of our city for many generations,” said Barnet, who initiated the College Town concept and convened the college presidents. “As they join forces to form the College Town consortium, they greatly increase their opportunity to impact the 10,000 college students in our community as well as our community members. This is a wonderful niche opportunity to advance the identity of Spartanburg as a vibrant college town and develop a positive national image for both the colleges and our city.”

Stockwell, speaking on behalf of all of the presidents, said, “There are many factors that make Spartanburg, South Carolina, a truly unique town, but it is the fact that six institutions of higher education are located within mere miles of each other that distinguishes this town the most. Spartanburg has the highest per capita student population of any major city in the state. College Town’s mission is to capitalize on the advantages offered by the large number of diverse colleges to create educational, social and service opportunities for students; to create economic and brand development opportunities for the city; and to create and sustain partnership advantages among the colleges themselves.”

Jane Marion, president of the Student Government Association at Converse, responded. “On behalf of the students at all the area colleges in Spartanburg, thank you Mayor Barnet for the dream of ‘The College Town.’ You had a vision for this great city and the many students who come to call it home.” She also thanked other city officials and the colleges for “making this dream a reality by supporting the many events and partnerships from which we will benefit. We are excited about meeting new people at social events, learning from students and faculty at other colleges, and most of all, giving back to a community that has for generations fostered an atmosphere of higher education and developing the potential of young leaders. I am proud to call Spartanburg my college home, and I look forward to seeing future Spartanburg area college students coming together and celebrating the rich heritage we share.”

The presidents and student leaders representing their respective colleges also announced CollegeFest, a band festival for the area’s college students. It will be held on Saturday, Oct. 25, from 6 to 10 p.m. at Barnet Park, featuring three bands – Seven, Five and Dime, and Dezeray’s Hammer. CollegeFest also will feature games, prizes and refreshments. It is targeted for the college students, who may purchase $5 admission tickets on their campuses, or $10 at the gate with a college ID.

J.R. McNair, president of Wofford College’s Campus Union, said CollegeFest will be “a wonderful opportunity for students from all of our colleges to come together in this beautiful setting to meet each other and enjoy each other’s company, and this is just the beginning. We are thankful for Mayor Barnet and the presidents of our colleges, and to those on the CollegeFest planning committee, for all they are doing to highlight the importance and impact our higher education institutions have in Spartanburg, and the presence of the students in our community. We are the future, and we do not stand alone, one institution separate from the other, but as students together in this true ‘College Town.’”

College Town’s first official event was the South Carolina Humanities Festival, held last spring on the campuses. Plans for other events, such as joint service projects, a leadership summit and intramural sports activities, are under way.

Additionally, the College Town Web site at www.collegetownsc.org was officially unveiled. It provides information about the community and the colleges.