History of Presbyterian College

Presbyterian College (otherwise known as PC) was founded in 1880 by Dr. William Plumer Jacobs. Dr. Jacobs arrived in Clinton, South Carolina in 1864, following the devastation of the Civil War, and he dreamed of building an orphanage in the area. In October of 1875, Thornwell Orphanage opened its doors to 10 orphaned children. Five years after establishing the orphanage, Dr. Jacobs was faced with another challenge; sending those children to a proper college to continue their education.  The institution—first called Clinton College—was organized under the ownership and management of local Presbyterians. Clinton College was coeducational from the beginning and its founding purpose was to care for young men and women from the local area. After operating its first 25 years under the sponsorship of the Clinton First Presbyterian Church, PC officially became the Presbyterian College of South Carolina in 1904 with the synod’s vote to assume ownership. By 1909, Presbyterian College offered a curriculum leading to a B.A. degree, post-graduate work for the M.A., and a B.S. degree.


The Honor System was established at PC in 1915. In an article in the 1931 edition of PaC SaC, the Honor System is described as “a consciousness on the part of the individual student of the relationship he bears to the larger group, viz., the Student Body, and sensitiveness to the honor of the College of which that Body is the living part.”


The first facility built for PC was Recitation Hall, erected in 1886 on four acres on the present-day Thornwell campus. Next came the land for PC’s present-day campus. Alumni Hall was built in 1891, followed by a small dining hall and kitchen that provided food for $6 per month.

In 1906 construction began on PC’s landmark building: Neville Hall. It took eight months to complete at a cost of $35,000. Originally called the Administration Building, its name was later changed to honor former president William G. Neville. Not a student has passed through PC’s campus who does not remember Neville Hall.


Some of PC’s first alumni were ministers, doctors, educators, lawyers, and business leaders. The College expanded its academic program and raised entrance requirements in the early 1900s. Even as the College has grown, it has maintained its focus on the following five aims, which were listed in the college catalog around 1914:

  • To do high-grade, honest college work
  • To furnish preliminary preparation for university work and for entering the several professions
  • To build a strong moral and Christian character
  • To develop all sides of a student’s nature
  • To place a college education in reach of every deserving young man desiring it


It’s hard to imagine life at PC without the Blue Hose. Here is a quick rundown of when some of your favorite Blue Hose teams were formed:

  • 1895: Baseball
  • 1913: Men’s basketball
  • 1913: Track
  • 1913: Tennis
  • 1913: Football
  • 1915: Cross-country
  • 1976: Volleyball
  • 1977: Women’s basketball
  • 1977: Men’s Soccer
  • 1989: Women’s Soccer
  • 2019: Men’s Wrestling and Women’s Wrestling
  • 2019: Acrobatics/Tumbling