Tri-County Technical College Celebrates 50 Years

TCTC Then and Now

Then (1962) ...

  • Tri-County Technical Education Center (now Tri-County Technical College) was founded when tri-county leaders pooled resources to plan college shortly after Act 323, Section 23, of the S.C. General Assembly established the State Committee for Technical Education and provided for the establishment of regional centers.
  • The legislative act was prompted by Governor Ernest Hollings and efforts made locally by Senators J.B. Lawson of Anderson County, Marshall Parker of Oconee County, and Earle Morris, Jr., of Pickens County.
  • Governor Hollings signed Act 905 on April 7, creating what would eventually become Tri-County Technical College.
  • Senators Lawson, Parker, and Morris joined Senator John C. West of Kershaw County, representative of the State Committee, when funds were requested from the General Assembly to acquire original funding of $500,000. They were successful and construction began on 23 acres of land donated by Clemson University.
  • Tri-County TEC opened September 10, 1963, with Bill Yarborough as director. It attracted 919 students during its first year of operation. The curricula included electronics technology, machine tool, welding, and other engineering technologies.
  • Tri-County was the first of the State's 16 technical colleges designed to serve multiple counties.
  • Dewitt Collins, Route 1, Mountain Rest, was the first student.
  • Tri-County's first commencement exercise was on the lawn in front of Pickens Hall on Sunday, August 15, 1965, at 7 p.m. Forty-five graduates received their awards in Electronics Technology, Technical Drafting and Design, Industrial Electronics, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration, Automotive Mechanics, Machine Shop, and Welding. Bonner Manly, of Dearing-Milliken, delivered the commencement speech.

Now (2012)...

  • Tri-County Technical College is a comprehensive two-year community and technical college.
  • Located in Pendleton, S.C., Tri-County also has three community campuses in Anderson, Easley, and Seneca.
  • More than 9,000 students enroll each year in more than 70 major fields of study.
  • Majors include business, computer and information systems, criminal justice, general engineering technology, industrial electronics, management, medical laboratory technology, nursing, surgical technology, university transfer, veterinary technology, and more.
  • Approximately half the student body is enrolled in the university transfer division with the remaining half divided among business and public services; health education, and industrial and engineering technology programs.
  • Tuition is the lowest in the area and nearly eighty percent of students receive some form of free financial aid, including Pell Grants, Lottery Tuition Assistance, LIFE scholarships, and Foundation scholarships.
  • The Corporate and Community Education Division enrolls more than 12,000 non-credit students annually in personal and professional development non-credit classes.
  • The College offers a vibrant campus life experience for students, including festivals, concerts, student-led clubs, and an athletics program sanctioned by the National Junior College Athletics Association (NJCAA) that includes men's soccer, men's golf, women's soccer, and women's basketball.
  • The College operates an economic development center on its Pendleton Campus and quick-jobs workforce and industry training centers at two of its community campuses.
  • Tri-County Technical College's vision is to be the role model for community college education through dedication to high standards, a nurturing environment, community alliances, and innovative leadership.
  • In 2007, Tri-County Technical College embarked on a journey to become a true "learning college" by adopting the guiding principles developed well-known educator Terry O'Banion.
  • In 2010, Tri-County was the only college in South Carolina to receive a two million dollar U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Title III Strengthening Institutions grant, which is allowing the College to implement thematic, linked, and integrated learning communities and a comprehensive academic support network.
  • Tri-County Technical College is also home to the nationally-known Bridge to Clemson program, a unique invitation-only program that blends the traditional academic experience at Tri-County with the social and cultural experiences of being a Clemson University student.
  • The College operates a drop-out recovery program for youth between ages 17-21 in conjunction with surrounding school districts.
  • Collaboration with local four-year colleges and universities in developing bridge and articulation agreements is an important priority of the College.