SC State Class reunions give nearly half a million for deserving students

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

South Carolina State University alumni have given nearly $500,000 to the university to help new and returning students.  The alumni classes in reunion presented the university with a check at their annual alumni weekend celebration which was observed May 9 – 11.

Nearly 400 SC State University alumni returned to their alma mater for this year’s observance.

Each spring, classes celebrating reunions in five-year intervals return to the university to show support for their beloved institution and reconnect with fellow classmates.

To cap off the weekend, the reunion classes, along with other SC State supporters, donated a gift of nearly half a million dollars to help fund the educational needs of new and returning students, many of whom have financial difficulties paying for tuition and other college fees.

Approximately 97 percent of SC State students receive financial aid.

“South Carolina State University alumni continue to ‘rally to the call’ of this institution,” said SC State President, Thomas J. Elzey.  “They are investing in the hopes and dreams of our students and ensuring that the viability of SC State continues for generations to come,” said Elzey. “Alumni are a valuable asset to this institution, and we greatly appreciate their contributions,” he said.

Throughout the weekend, loyal sons and daughters of the university gathered for class related-events throughout Orangeburg, while the university’s campus played host to a number of events for classes in reunion.

The featured classes for Alumni Weekend 2014 were the Sensational Silver Class of 1989, celebrating 25 years, and the Grand and Glorious Golden Class of 1964, celebrating 50 years. Other classes that were in reunion were the following: 1954, 1958, 1959, 1969, 1974, 1979 and 1984.

The culminating event for all alumni was the Honors and Awards Banquet, held that Saturday evening. The Smith-Hammond-Middleton Memorial Center was awash in garnet, blue and gold. Dr. Judith Salley, an SC State alumna and chair of the Department of Biological and Physical Sciences, served as the mistress of ceremony for the event. The band Oasis led by Roland Haynes provided music

In preparation for Alumni Weekend, classes fundraise to honor SC State University with a monetary gift, vying for bragging rights as the class making the largest gift. The Devine Class of 1959 led the competition, presenting $169,353 followed by the Great and Glorious Golden Class of 1964 with a gift of $100,164. Each class received the Garnet and Sapphire award for their efforts.

Other notable gifts were received from the class of 1974 in the amount of $62,000. The class of 1954 donated a gift in the amount of $53,100, and the class of 1969 donated a gift in the amount of $50,500. Each class received the Platinum Award. Bronze awards were presented to the class of 1958 for their donation of $6,775 and to the class of 1979 for their gift of $6,000. 

Also presenting gifts to the university were the Class of 1984 in the amount of $1,410 and the class of 1989 in the amount of $1,000.

The class of 1975 has made an annual contribution at each reunion since celebrating their 35th reunion in 2010. Their gift of $22,975, with all other class gifts produced a total of $473,277.

An additional $1,534.52 was raised during the Honors and Awards Banquet after Salley challenged the guests to join the 100 Percent Club. The goal was to have 100 percent participation. As a result, contributions for the evening totaled $474,811.52.

“SC State alumni demonstrated the spirit of generosity through their continuous contributions to the university,” said Patricia Salley, director of alumni relations, who engages the nearly 30,000 alumni worldwide.

“Our alumni give knowing that their financial gift, assist our students. Some of our alumni themselves received scholarships that made an impact on their lives and want to reach back and help someone else.  It’s a ‘pay it forward’ way of thinking,” she continued.

To view Alumni Weekend photos, visit and click on the 2014 photo galleries link.

Please join the SC State University Foundation’s efforts to provide much needed dollars for deserving students by contacting the SC State University Foundation at (803) 536-7190.