William G. Neville, 1904-1907
William Gordon Neville, a graduate of Adger College and Princeton Theological Seminary, had been a pastor at several South Carolina churches before becoming the seventh president of Presbyterian College. He served twice on the Pan-Presbyterian Council in Washington, D.C. and London and had been a trustee of both Columbia Seminary and Davidson College.
During the first year of his presidency, Dr. Neville was faced with a dilemma shortly after the college was brought under full control of the Synod of South Carolina. Several towns felt that their communities had more to offer to the college than Clinton could offer. Four towns submitted bids to relocate Presbyterian College to their respective communities: Bennettsville, Chester, Sumter, and Yorkville. Each town, including Clinton, made compelling presentations and monetary offers to the college Board of Trustees in September 1905. After reviewing each proposal, the Board voted that the college would remain in Clinton, which allowed President Neville to concentrate on fundraising for the college (Hammet, 23-24).
A plan for a new administration building was developed and the building completed in 1907 would later be renamed Neville Hall in Dr. Neville’s honor in 1944. Recitation Hall was sold to Thornwell Orphanage and all college activities took place on the 30 acre campus on the East side of Broad Street. The old bell from the Academy building was brought to the campus from Thornwell and served as a class bell until an electronic system was installed after World War II (Hammet, 25). Dr. Neville also made plans for a new dining hall and a dormitory. Unfortunately, he was taken ill during commencement on June 5, 1907, and died three days later at the age of 51.
President Neville’s widow, Virginia, remained in Clinton after his death to raise their children. Six Neville sons and daughters received degrees from PC, their noble service to Church missions and to PC continued the Neville tradition and was passed to a third generation.