When it comes to education, Orangeburg County offers rich choices.

Four institutions of higher learning are located in the county: Clafin University, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College, South Carolina State University and Southern Methodist College.

S.C. State, OCtech and Claflin have a special partnership to educate and enrich students, preparing them for an ever-changing work force. Southern Methodist offers an online-only program of Christian-based higher education.

S.C. State

South Carolina State University was founded in 1896 as a land-grant college with a mission of providing education and service to the citizens of the state. The university has played a key role over the years in educating African-American students from around South Carolina and the nation.

S.C. State is the state’s only public historically black college or university. The university enrolls about 2,900 students.

S.C. State is notable for:

• The only bachelor of science program in nuclear engineering in South Carolina and at an HBCU.

• The only master of science in transportation and the only master of business administration with a concentration in agribusiness in South Carolina.

• The only doctor of education degree in the state with a concentration in educational administration. S.C. State is ranked third in the nation in graduating minorities with a degree.

• A bachelor of science in physics with an option or concentration in medical physics. Graduates of the program are prepared to enter employment in the field or go to graduate school.

• A top-10 ranking for most enrolled ROTC cadets (No. 1 HBCU) and No. 1 ranking in social mobility for three years (2006, 2007, and 2009) from Washington Monthly.

• The only HBCU to be ranked as an over-performing college in the United States and No. 5 among national public HBCUs by U.S. News and World Report.

• S.C. State’s Beta Gamma Sigma chapter was named an Exemplary Chapter International Honor Society in fall 2012.

• Identified as the exclusive HBCU for research in the state of South Carolina by Forbes Magazine.

With the various activities on campus and the thousands of people who visit S.C. State, the university significantly impacts the economy of the City of Orangeburg, as well as the state. In the Orangeburg community, S.C. State supports 1,558 jobs and has a $152.5 million impact, with a statewide impact of $181.5 million.

James E. Clark is the university’s president.


Officially opening in 1968, Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College is a comprehensive two-year technical college, offering 60 programs of study.

With an enrollment of about 2,500 students, OCtech is a member of the American Association of Community Colleges and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award Associate in Arts, Associate in Science and Associate in Applied Science degrees, diplomas and certificates. The college provides training for jobs in new and expanding industries, upgrading programs for workers already employed and university transfer opportunities.

OCtech also offers online and evening classes, adult education and the opportunity for high school students to earn college credits through its Middle College program.

Established in 1977, the Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College Foundation is a non-profit organization, separate from the college, with a purpose to further the educational aims of the college and its students and employees. The foundation raises financial support in the community to assist the college through capital campaigns, annual fund drives and special events.

Annual fund donations provide scholarships to assist students with tuition, books and supplies. Annual gifts also support professional development for faculty and staff, alumni functions, mini-grants, and other special projects initiated by faculty and staff.

Endowed scholarships enable a number of students to complete their degrees. Money is also raised through memorials and honorarium gifts.

Dr. Walt Tobin is the college’s president.


Claflin University is a private liberal arts, historically black institution affiliated with the United Methodist Church. Founded in 1869 by Methodist missionaries, it is the oldest HBCU in South Carolina.

Nearly 150 years ago, the school broke down racial barriers when it became the first S.C. university open to all regardless of race.

The school’s 43-acre campus is known for the neo-classical design of its buildings, with three listed for architectural and historical significance.

With an enrollment of about 2,000 students, Claflin has a student-to-faculty ratio of 14:1. Offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees, the university has 117 full-time faculty members with nearly 80 percent holding terminal degrees in their respective fields.

Claflin has four academic schools encompassing a wide array of disciplines and offers 35 undergraduate majors and two graduate degrees including the master of business administration and the master of science in biotechnology.

Claflin's Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College provides an academically rigorous learning environment for select high-achieving undergraduate students.

For the seventh consecutive year, Claflin has earned a place among the top 10 in U.S. News and World Report’s annual ranking of the nation’s top 20 historically black colleges and universities. Claflin is ranked ninth in the 2018 ranking, which includes 74 HBCUs.

Dr. Henry N. Tisdale is the university’s president.

Southern Methodist

Southern Methodist College is a private institution offering online courses toward a bachelor of arts in Bible/Christian ministries double major, a master of biblical studies, an associate of arts in general and religious education and a certificate in biblical studies. The college opted to move to online-only classes in 2016.

The 50-acre campus, with its six major buildings, occupies the lands and residence of the former Frederick A. Adden estate, given to the Southern Methodist Church in 1961 by the late Mrs. Adden for the purpose of developing the college on the site.

Recognizing the need for a strong Christian education to prepare Christian leaders and workers, church leaders established the college as a center of highest academic standards and Christian culture, where men and women would receive education and training to go forth as Christian leaders, rendering service throughout the world for the glory of God.

The college moved into the modern age in 2016 when its classes went online, offering instruction to students as far away as Nigeria. Classes are no longer taught on campus and students no longer live in the dorms. The school’s facilities, along with the recently renovated Carrier Conference Center, are now used for board meetings, seminars and conferences.

Dr. Vic Reasoner is the college’s president.

PreK-12th grades

Orangeburg County has three public school districts serving the educational needs of local students. There are also more than 30 other institutions of elementary and secondary education, consisting of Christian, private and charter schools.

• Orangeburg Consolidated School District 3 serves the townships of Elloree, Eutawville, Holly Hill, Santee and Vance. The district is comprised of six schools: Lake Marion High School and Technology Center, Holly Hill-Roberts Middle School, Elloree Elementary School, Holly Hill Elementary School, St. James-Gaillard Elementary School, and Vance-Providence Elementary School.

Dr. Jesulon Gibbs-Brown is the superintendent.

• Orangeburg Consolidated School District 4 serves students living in the towns of Cope, Cordova, Norway, Orangeburg, Springfield, Neeses and Branchville. The district consists of 10 schools: Branchville Lockett Elementary School, Edisto Elementary School, Edisto Primary School, Hunter-Kinard-Tyler Elementary School, Carver-Edisto Middle School, Branchville Lockett High School, Cope Area Career Center, Edisto High School, Hunter-Kinard-Tyler High School and the Star Center for Learning.

Dr. Tim Newman is the superintendent.

• Orangeburg Consolidated School District 5 is the Orangeburg County’s largest public school district, with an enrollment of about 7,000 students coming from the communities of Orangeburg, Bowman and North.

OCSD5 is comprised of 14 schools and is also home to a charter school, the High School for Health Professions. Other schools in the district are: Bethune-Bowman Elementary School, Bethune-Bowman Middle/High School, Brookdale Elementary School, Dover Elementary School, Marshall Elementary School, Mellichamp Elementary School, North Middle/High School, Orangeburg-Wilkinson High School, Rivelon Elementary School, Robert E. Howard Middle School, Sheridan Elementary School, The Technology Center, Whittaker Elementary School and William J. Clark Middle School.

Dr. Jesse Washington III is the superintendent.

• Other school choices include Felton Laboratory School at S.C. State, Andrew Chapel Christian Academy, First Southern Methodist Church Kindergarten, St. Andrews United Methodist Church Kindergarten, Vanard J. Mendinghall Seventh-day Adventist Junior Academy, Pecan Grove Child Development Center, Orangeburg Christian Academy, Orangeburg Preparatory Schools and Wesley Christian School in Orangeburg, and Holly Hill Academy in Holly Hill.

Contact the writer: chuff@timesanddemocrat.com and 803-533-5543