Mid-Carolina Commission for Higher Education
In 1965, by an act of the state legislature, the Sumter County Commission for Higher Education (now known as the Mid-Carolina Commission for Higher Education) was created. The purpose of the Commission is "the encouragement of higher education in Sumter County and adjacent areas and, more specifically, the establishment in Sumter County of facilities to offer standard freshman and sophomore college courses, and such other courses as deemed desirable." To fulfill this purpose and objective, the commission entered into a long-term contract with Clemson University to operate the new educational facilities.
In August 1966, Clemson University at Sumter opened its doors to its first class. On July 23, 1973, after negotiations between the Sumter County Commission for Higher Education and officials of Clemson University and the University of South Carolina, operations of the Sumter campus were transferred to the University of South Carolina. At present, the University of South Carolina operates the Sumter Campus under contract with the Commission, paying $1.00 per year for the privilege. In 1996, by an act of the state legislature, the Sumter County Commission for Higher Education was restructured as the Mid-Carolina Commission for Higher Education representing Sumter, Lee, and Clarendon Counties. Kershaw and Williamsburg Counties declined to be represented on the expanded Commission. The nine commission members are appointed by the Governor upon recommendation by the respective county legislative delegations, with one each coming from Lee and Clarendon Counties, and the remaining seven members from Sumter County.
The University of South Carolina Sumter, a regional campus of the University of South Carolina, has as its mission to provide higher education and intellectual leadership for the Sumter area. In order to support the vision and mission of USC Sumter, the Mid-Carolina Commission for Higher Education, as provided by the Act which created it, may, with approval of a majority of the members, be allowed to "enter into contracts, make binding agreements, negotiate with educators and educational institutions and, generally, to take sure actions in its name as are necessary." The commission is permitted to solicit and accept appropriated funds and donations from various sources, and to lobby elected and appointed governmental officials, to realize its objectives.
The University of South Carolina Sumter greatly appreciates the time and resources given by the members of the Mid-Carolina Commission for Higher Education to encourage higher education in a five-county service area.
Joseph S. Sublette, Chairman, Sumter County
Austin E. Floyd, Vice Chair, Sumter County
Robert B. Smith, Treasurer, Sumter County
James C. Black, Clarendon County
John M. Brabham, Jr., Sumter County
R.J. "Chic" Mathis, Sumter County
Angus F. McDuffie, Sumter County
William H. Price, Sumter County
William W. Wheeler III, Lee County