Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type




Director of Thesis

Dr. Andrew Berns

First Reader

James Mock

Second Reader

James Mock


Through a thorough examination of the underpinnings of Classical education, as well as the history of South Carolina College, it is clear that the classical system is superior to the later University system imposed upon the College during the Reconstruction period. Classical education began in the Greek philosophic schools, such as the Academy and the Lyceum, and was intended to enrich the soul of its students, as well as to equip them for leadership in the future. But the most important aspect of this education was its universality. It is highly ironic that the original concept of the University began with a hope for universality as well. After all, the very meaning of the word University reflects this high purpose. However, by the late nineteenth century, the University model had become polluted, and was used to promote skills-based learning, as opposed to the universal model it originally represented. When South Carolina College was forced to embrace the new system of specialized education, its set curriculum vanished, and its reputation vanished along with it.

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© 2020, Robert D Cathcart