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August 13, 2006

 

Wofford College: The Classical "Old Main"














I've noticed that my web site recently has had a number of visitors living in South Carolina. As an expression of gratitude to them, I'm posting this collection of thirteen pictures, many of which are of one of my favorite things in South Carolina, the historic "Old Main" building on the campus of Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

The first two are "logo-type" images. The third picture is of an oil painting of "Old Main." The fourth is an image of "old Main" during the winter season. The fifth image is an etching of The Main Building (Old Main) on Wofford College's campus. The sixth is from a rare postcard (I think from the early 1900s), and the following one is a recherche, campus landscape daguerreotype, again from the early 1900s or before. The following three are, again images of "Old Main." The next two pictures are of the newer Franklin Olin Building for academics and techology. The last is an image of the very first diploma awarded by the college. It was awarded to Samuel Dibble in 1856, who went on to represent South Carolina in the United States Congress.

A Spartanburg landmark since its construction between 1851 and 1854, "Old Main" was designed by the noted Charleston architect Edward C. Jones. The original architect's sketches, donated to the college in 1902 by Julia Chreitzberg, show that Jones conceived one of the most ambitious projects ever built in the classical Italianate style, then popular throughout the South for academic and other public buildings.

Wofford is one of only a handful of colleges and universities in the United States that were founded prior to the Civil War, which still operates and remains on its original campus. The Wofford College campus has been named a National Historic District. It has five of the six original college buildings, all of which are in use today for various purposes. The beauty of its campus has resulted in its designation as an officially registered South Carolina arboretum.

Wofford is presently becoming known in the wider academic world as a true "Phoenix rising from the ashes." It was devastated by the loss of almost its entire endowment as a result of the Civil War. However, despite its meager financial resources, Wofford proudly struggled through the next twelve decades to provide an academically challenging education to its small student body. One illustration of the sterling academic quality maintained by the college is the fact that forty-two Wofford alumni have gone on to serve as college and university presidents.

For example, through the years Wofford graduates and faculty have included the Founders or Presidents/Chancellors of Duke University, Vanderbilt University, The Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Southern Methodist University, Hendrix College, Randolph-Macon College and Mary Washington College. A former President of the college went on to become the President of Southern Methodist University, Drew University and, finally, Chancellor of The University of North Carolina (as well as head of the entire University of North Carolina educational system).

Today, gaining increasing national recognition as an academic "jewel" in the South, its endowment has been increasing rapidly and a significant new endowment drive has recently been inaugurated. There has been an unprecedented acceleration of the restoration and construction of student residence, academic, recreation and sports facilities. It is also presently distinguished by being the smallest college in the nation with sports teams competing (quite successfully) in NCAA Division I athletics.

Academically, Wofford has been focusing upon a significant expansion of its faculty, with new faculty members currently being drawn to teach at the college from some of the most prestigious universities in the country. For many years, Wofford served students who came, for the most part, from South Carolina and its immediate surrounding areas. Presently, it's become quite competitive in attracting exceptionally talented students from across the nation, as well as from abroad.

Intaminatus Fulget Honoribus
Shining with Untarnished Honor

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