The Department of Military Science was established at South Carolina State University (formerly South Carolina Agricultural and Mechanical College) during School Year 1947-48. The first graduating class in 1949 consisted of six cadets: five received Regular Army commissions and one received a Reserve commission. Since the establishment of ROTC at South Carolina State University, over 2000 students have received commissions in the Armed Forces.
The Army ROTC program was initially branch material, producing only Infantry officers. The program was supplanted in 1954 by the General Military Science Program enabling graduating cadets to select the branch of the Army in which they were most interested and qualified. From 1947 until 1968, enrollment in the ROTC program was mandatory for all able-bodied freshman and sophomore male students.
A cross-enrollment program was initiated in 1968 to permit students from other local institutions, without an ROTC program, to receive training at South Carolina State University and remain at the institution of their choice. To date, South Carolina State University has a cross- enrollment agreement with Claflin University, Voorhees College, Denmark Technical College and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College.
During academic year 1972-73, the Department of the Army initiated, on a trial basis, a five-year program of enrolling women in ROTC. South Carolina State University was one of ten institutions selected nationwide to participate in this program. The first females graduated in 1976.
As of this date, 18 South Carolina State University graduates have achieved the rank of General Officer with fourteen commissioned thru the Army ROTC Program: Brigadier General (Retired) George B. Price, ’51; Brigadier General Amos M. Gailliard (Retired), ’51, Major General (Retired) James R. Klugh, ’53; Lieutenant General (Retired) Henry Doctor, Jr. (Deceased) ’54; Major General (Retired) Arnold Fields, ’68, (United States Marine Corps); Major General (Retired) George F. Bowman, ’69, ; Brigadier General (Retired) Julius J. Lawton, ’69,; Brigadier General (Retired) Clifford L. Stanley, ’69, (United States Marine Corps); Major General (Retired) Harold L. Mitchell, ’72 (United States Air Force); Major General Larry Knightner ’72 ; Brigadier General (Retired) Nolen V. Bivens, ’76; Brigadier General Frederick J. Johnson, (Deceased) ‘76, ; Major General (Retired) Abraham J. Turner, ’76; Rear Admiral John W. Smith, Jr. ’80, (United States Navy); Major General Stephen M. Twitty, ’85; Brigadier General Bruce T. Crawford, ’86; Brigadier General Norman Green, '85; and Brigadier General Richard Dix, '86.
The Bulldog Battalion currently averages approximately 120 cadets and is still recognized as one of the largest producer of minority officers for the United States Army.