Wofford College began in 1851, designed to be different than the elitist universities throughout the rest of the South and sectarian colleges with narrow admissions sponsored by other denominations. Instead, Bishop William Wightman, who delivered the keynote address as the cornerstone was laid by local Masons, said that the school would offer liberal education with moral principle through scholarship.
The college is named for Benjamin Wofford who was born in Spartanburg County on October 19, 1780. He joined the Methodist church and served as a circuit rider for many years. After marrying Anna Todd in 1807, he settled on her family farm on the Tyger River. The couple had no children but began to accumulate great wealth. Mrs. Wofford died in 1835 and, at the age of 56, her widower married a much younger woman from Virginia, Maria Barron. The couple moved to a home in Spartanburg and, when Mr. Wofford died in 1850, he left a bequest of $100,000 to establish a college of literary, classical and scientific education to be located in his native district and controlled by the Methodist Church. The college was chartered in 1851.
Construction began in 1852 with original structures that included the president’s home, four faculty homes and the Main Building. Admission was selective, but seven students began attending college in 1854. They studied English, arithmetic, algebra and geography. In addition, they were required to know Latin and Greek classics. The first degree was awarded to Samuel Dibble in 1856 who later became a United States Congressman.
Wofford struggled during the Civil War as many students and young alumni died in the Virginia battles of 1862. As General Sherman approached Atlanta in 1864, the trustees invested in Confederate bonds and securities, which are still in the college vault, that became worthless with the surrender of the South. However, the school did not close as South Carolina Methodists determined that higher education would be critical in the New South.
Today, Wofford College is an independent liberal arts college with more than 1,600 students enrolled. The college offers undergraduate degree programs and professional certifications in many different fields of study.
Wofford College Accreditation Details
Wofford College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Accreditation indicates that the college meets or exceeds criteria set forth by the accrediting agency that indicate excellence in education. In addition, specific programs may also be accredited by industry specific organizations and associations.
Wofford College Application Requirements
First-year students must complete the Common Application and pay the applicable fee unless they qualify for a waiver. Students must also submit a school report and a high school transcript as well as ACT or SAT scores. Transfer students must submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended. If they have been out of high school for more than five years, high school transcripts, ACT and SAT scores are not required.
Tuition and Financial Aid
Full-time undergraduate tuition at Wofford College is $51,880 per year or $1,605 per credit hour. Wofford College does not offer graduate degree programs.
Financial aid is available in the form of scholarships, grants and loans. Wofford College has distributed as much as $51 million in one year in financial aid. All new first-year students are considered for the Wofford Merit Scholarship based on their admission file. In order to be eligible for financial aid, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
Transfer students who are members of Phi Theta Kappa are awarded a $10,000 scholarship per year of study at Wofford. Other scholarships are based on the strength of their application. Students must have a 3.5 GPA from a two-year or 3.0 GPA from a four-year school.
Degree Programs Available
The Art History program at Wofford College immerses students in the study of visual culture, focusing on painting, sculpture and architecture. However, students also develop an understanding of prints, textiles and body adornment. The program is cross-disciplinary and students develop an understanding of art in historical context as well as its role in politics, economics, literature and religion. Students develop skills in visual analysis, familiarity with different approaches to the interpretation of works of art, training in the techniques of research in the humanities and the ability to write persuasively about art. Students may elect to include a concentration in Studio Art as well.
The Computer Science program at Wofford College prepares students for careers in computing or fields that focus heavily on computers. Students develop an understanding of hardware and software technology as well as how they change over time. Students focus on the fundamental concepts in evolving technologies, including programming, discrete mathematics, representations of data, algorithm analysis, computer architecture and software engineering. Students develop teamwork skills by solving problems in small teams. The program offers flexibility, allowing students to combine their study with a second major.
Wofford’s Psychology program provides students with exciting research opportunities both on and off campus. Students are also provided the opportunity to complete an interdisciplinary program in neuroscience. The program differs from other Psychology programs as it is well-established in the natural sciences curriculum which includes other recognized disciplines such as biology, chemistry and physics. Students complete a set of courses which provide a strong basis for understanding the various ways people are influenced, including genes, hormones and experiences. Students develop an understanding of how knowledge is obtained in all areas of psychology. All students must complete a senior thesis which requires them to conduct research and defend the findings. Thesis research is often published in journals and presented at national conferences. Internships are available for students who plan careers in applied psychology.
Wofford College has been providing outstanding education to students for more than 165 years, even during the rigors of war. Today, Wofford College offers students the ability to advance in a current career or move into a new career that will benefit them emotionally and financially. Although the college does not offer online courses, many of those offered are arranged in a flexible format that allow working adults to achieve their higher education goals while still meeting their work, family and social obligations.