Alma Mater

When the President closes the Commencement Exercises following the awarding of the degrees, the audience is asked to rise for the singing of the Alma Mater. The words of the song were penned by Professor George Wauchope of the English Department in 1911 and were adopted in 1912 and are printed in the commencement program. The tune is that of Flow Gently, Sweet Afton. "Here's a health, Carolina!" is a phrase which is repeated in Carolina's Alma Mater. Over the years, the custom has arisen of raising the right hand, with the fingers cupped, when the phrase "Here's a health, Carolina!" occurs, as if offering a toast. The Alma Mater is always sung with heads uncovered.

We hail thee, Carolina, and sing thy high praise;
With loyal devotion, rememb'ring the days,
When proudly we sought thee, thy children to be;
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Since pilgrims of learning, we entered thy walls,
And found dearest comrades in thy classic halls;
We've honored and loved thee, as sons faithfully;
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Generations of sons have rejoiced to proclaim
Thy watchword of service, thy beauty and fame
For ages to come shall their rallying cry be;
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Fair shrine of high honor and truth, thou shalt still
Blaze forth as a beacon, thy mission fulfill;
And be crowned by all hearts in a new jubilee;
Here's a health, Carolina, forever to thee!

Alumni Association

The University of South Carolina Alumni Association is the tie that binds Carolina graduates to each other. Your Alumni Association promotes networking through alumni clubs, online directory, reunions, homecoming, alumni travel and alumni interest groups such as the Young Alumni, and Black Alumni Councils. New graduates are entitled to receive a discounted membership in the Alumni Association. For a nominal fee you will receive all the benefits of membership as well as a New Grad Gift. In addition to keeping you connected to the University, membership brings with it a subscription to Carolinian magazine; area alumni club activity mailings; privileges at Thomas Cooper Library and Blatt PE Center; discounts on hotel reservations, car rentals, golf initiation fees and Carolina merchandise; and travel opportunities like our Essential Europe Tour for graduates through the Carolina Travelers program. Stay connected by joining your Alumni Association. To join online, change your address or learn more about membership benefits, visit their website at

Appropriate Attire

We recommend that male degree candidates wear dark trousers, an appropriate shirt underneath their academic gown and dark dress shoes. Female degree candidates should wear dark slacks, dark dress, or dark skirt and an appropriate blouse underneath their academic gown. For safety and comfort, women are encouraged to wear dark, low-heeled dress shoes.

Candidates with Special Needs

The University of South Carolina wants to ensure that all degree candidates may participate in the commencement exercises. Degree candidates who have special needs, including mobility impairments due to health conditions, or unable to walk moderate distances are encouraged to contact the Graduation/Commencement staff of the Office of the University Registrar at 803.777.5555. A sign language interpreter will be provided for the hearing-impaired. The interpreter will be positioned on the platform, and may be viewed on the large overhead video screen. If you need a copy of the Commencement Book in Braille or large print or in digital format, please contact the Office of Student Disability Services at 803.777.5339.

Name Cards

Each degree candidate will have a program at their seat. Inside the program will be a card. Please pay special attention to this card. You will take it with you when called to stand and give it to the announcer to call out your name. The University of South Carolina is one of the only universities left in the country that recognizes candidates individually by name. Your card will look something like this. You will find your name listed at the top as well as your seat number. If your name requires any pronunciation notes, you can find one of the Registrar's staff on the floor and we can assist you in writing out the pronunciation of your name. If you do not have a card, please do not hesitate to ask a member of the Office of the University Registrar staff to help you.


Professional photographers will photograph each degree candidate as he/she is greeted by the University President and the dean. Complimentary photograph proofs may be sent to the degree candidate within 30 working days after the commencement exercises. Additional photographs may be purchased upon receipt of the proof. No prior arrangements are necessary for this service; all degree candidates will be photographed during the ceremony. There is absolutely no obligation to purchase any photographs. Families and guests will not be permitted on the event floor during the ceremonies.

On this special day, there will also be a professional photographer available to take posed cap and gown photographs of the degree candidates with family members and guests. Photographs may be taken before or after the commencement exercises. This photographer will be located on the Concourse Atrium level of the Colonial Life Arena.


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