Coker University

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Coker University
Linvile Dining Hall at Coker College, Hartsville, SC, US.jpg
Susanne G. Linvile Dining Hall
Former names
Coker College for Women, Coker College
TypePrivate, co-educational, baccalaureate degree
Established1908; 112 years ago (1908)
Founder James Lide Coker
Endowment$45.7 million (2019) [1]
PresidentNatalie Harder [2]
Vice-presidentTracy Parkinson
DeanSusan Henderson
Academic staff
67 full-time
70 adjunct
Studentsapprox. 1,200 (Fall 2012)
Location, ,
United States

34°22′36.4″N 80°04′10″W / 34.376778°N 80.06944°W / 34.376778; -80.06944
ColorsNavy and Gold
Affiliations South Atlantic Conference
5A OfficialSecondaryWordMark

Coker University is a private, co-educational four-year student-focused, comprehensive university with a strong liberal arts core in Hartsville, South Carolina. Coker University was founded in 1908 and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. [3] Coker's sports teams, nicknamed the Cobras, compete in NCAA Division II.


Coker refers to the academic program for the four-year undergraduate degree as the Trans4mations Program, with the first year being foundational, the second year requiring service and attendance at cultural events, the third year requiring at least two weeks of study off-campus, and the final year called a "capstone". [4] The Liberal Arts Studies Program (LASP) is divided into Core Skills, Knowledge of the Arts, Knowledge of the Behavioral Sciences, Knowledge of the Humanities, Knowledge of the Natural Sciences, Knowledge of the United States, and Knowledge of the Wider World. [5]

Coker offers 29 majors and 23 minors of study. The college also offers individual majors and double majors, self-designated degree programs, specializations and pre-professional programs.


Rear of Davidson Hall, building on the NRHP
Memorial Hall, building on the NRHP

Coker University began in 1894 as Welsh Neck High School, founded by a local businessman and American Civil War veteran, Major James Lide Coker (1837–1918). In 1908, when South Carolina created a statewide public school system, Coker led the effort to convert the school to Coker College for Women. Davidson Hall and Memorial Hall are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [6]

From the 1920s until just after World War II, it was the only college between Columbia and Charleston accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Coker was once affiliated with the South Carolina Baptist Convention, but has been non-denominational since 1944. It officially became co-educational in 1969, although men had been attending since the end of World War II.

The South Carolina Governor's School for Science and Mathematics was located on the Coker campus from 1988 until moving to its own campus in 2003. [7] [8]

Effective July 1, 2019, Coker College adopted the name Coker University. [9]


  • James Lide Coker
  • Dr. E. V. Baldy (1909–1911)
  • Dr. Arthur Jackson Hall (1911–1914)
  • Dr. Howard Lee Jones (1914–1915)
  • Dr. E. Walter Sikes (1916–1925)
  • Dr. Carlyle Campbell (1925–1936)
  • Dr. C. Sylvester Green (1936–1944)
  • Dr. Donald C. Agnew (1944–1952)
  • Dr. Joseph C. Robert (1952–1955)
  • Dr. John A. Barry, Jr. (1955–1959)
  • Dr. Fenton Keyes (1960–1968)
  • Dr. Wilfrid H. Callcott (1968–1969)
  • Dr. Gus Turbeville (1969–1974)
  • Dr. C. Hilburn Womble (1975–1980)
  • Dr. James D. Daniels (1981–2002)
  • Dr. B. James Dawson (2002–2009)
  • Dr. Robert L. Wyatt (2009–2019)
  • Dr. Natalie Harder (2020- )


The 15-acre (6.1 ha) main campus contains mostly Georgian-style brick buildings, some of which (such as Davidson Hall, home to the college's round table classrooms) are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Alumni House (Drengaelen), The President's House, The Dean's and President's Offices (David and May Coker House) and The Registrar's Offices (Lawton-Wilson House) are all located in old mansions along the northern edge of campus.

Hartsville and Coker University owe much to the generosity of the Coker family, founders of Sonoco and Coker's Pedigreed Seed Company. The Coker family's patronage of the college has led to the vast majority of buildings on campus having Coker somewhere in the name. Students often joke to freshmen or visitors that they'll meet them "in the Coker" building as a way to gently initiate newcomers to campus.

JLC III Residence Hall

Residence halls

On-campus residence halls include Memorial (1914), Belk (1916), Coker (1916) and Grannis (1969), which all adjoin the Linville Dining Hall (1916). Richard and Tuck Coker Hall (1988), commonly called the RTC, and James Lide Coker III (2009) occupy separate buildings near Memorial Hall. Most of the older residence halls have been remodeled since 2005 and are fully modernized. A new residence hall, the Betty Y. and Charles L. Sullivan Jr. Residence Hall at The Village at Byerly Place, opened in 2013. [10] In 2011, Coker opened the Coker Downtown Lofts and in 2012 the Downtown Flats, both located just off campus in downtown Hartsville. [11] [12] The Dining Hall, with services provided by Sodexo, offers cafeteria-style dining with several options (including vegetarian selections) at each meal. Memorial Hall houses the Drawing Room, a ballroom/dining hall for special events. [13]


In January 2008, students began using the 40,000 sq ft (3,700 m2) Charles W. and Joan S. Coker Library-Information Technology Center. The new library was built entirely from donations from a capital campaign and is an example of Coker alumni generosity to the college. [14] [15] The former James Lide Coker Memorial Library is now James Lide Coker Memorial Residence Hall. [16]


Adjacent to the main campus is a 22-acre athletics complex with baseball, softball, soccer and tennis facilities. Near the athletics complex is the DeLoach Center, which contains a 1,908 seat gymnasium, an auxiliary gym, interactive classrooms, a student-athlete only weight room, a fitness center, athletic offices and more.

The college has 21 varsity athletics programs, which compete in The South Atlantic Conference. [17] They include Women's Basketball, Men's Basketball, Baseball, Softball, Women's Volleyball, Men's Lacrosse, Women's Lacrosse, Women's Tennis, Men's Tennis, Women's Golf, Men's Golf, Women's Soccer, Men's Soccer, Women's Field Hockey, Women's Cross Country, Men's Cross Country, Women's Track and Field (Indoor/Outdoor), Men's Track and Field (Indoor/Outdoor), and Wrestling.

In the 2013 season the Coker baseball team won the Conference Carolinas Tournament title, earned the team's first-ever postseason bid, won the NCAA Southeast Regional and advanced to the NCAA DII Baseball National Championship. They finished the year with a record of 38–16. [18]

Notable alumni

See also


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2019. "U.S. and Canadian 2019 NTSE Participating Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2019 Endowment Market Value, and Percentage Change in Market Value from FY18 to FY19 (Revised)". National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. Retrieved September 14, 2020.
  2. ^ "Coker University Names Dr. Natalie Harder as Its 17th President". May 7, 2020. Retrieved November 27, 2020.
  3. ^ Commission on Colleges Archived January 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ Coker College, Academics, Trans4mations Program, Year 1: Personal & Academic Exploration Archived July 11, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, Year 2: Service & Cultural Engagement Archived July 11, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, Year 3: Study Away Archived July 11, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, Year 4: Capstone Experience Archived July 11, 2017, at the Wayback Machine, retrieved June 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Coker College Academic Catalog, 2015–16 Archived May 27, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, pp. 97–108.
  6. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  7. ^ "S.C. Governor's School for Science & Mathematics: 2002-2003 Accountability Report" (PDF). September 26, 2003. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  8. ^ Ray, Rusty (October 6, 2010). "Governor's School brings the best and brightest to Hartsville". SC Now.
  9. ^ "COKER COLLEGE TO BECOME COKER UNIVERSITY JULY 1, 2019". January 28, 2019. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  10. ^ Arvidson, Ardie (August 15, 2013). "Coker opens, dedicates Betty Y. and Charles L. Sullivan Jr. Residence Hall at The Village at Byerly Place". SC Now. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  11. ^ "Ribbon Cutting Set for Coker's Downtown Lofts". SC Now. August 2, 2011. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  12. ^ Arvidson, Ardie (August 16, 2012). "Coker College celebrates opening of The Downtown Flats". SC Now. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  13. ^ Coker College Administration Building Archived January 7, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Coker College: Library-Information Technology Center". Archived from the original on August 30, 2008. Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  15. ^ "SCNow". Retrieved June 28, 2015.[ dead link]
  16. ^ Faile, Jim (December 31, 2008). "2008; The year in review part I". SC Now. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  17. ^ "South Atlantic Conference".
  18. ^ Haselden, Mark (December 27, 2013). "2013 Year in Review: Coker's remarkable baseball run tops 2013 sports stories". SC Now. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  19. ^ "Terrance Hayes". Retrieved June 28, 2015.
  20. ^ "Family comes first, Marian says". Spartanburg Herald. September 11, 1956. p. 1.
  21. ^ Dicke, William (September 23, 2013). "Ruth Patrick, a Pioneer in Science and Pollution Control Efforts, is Dead at 105". The New York Times. Retrieved August 22, 2018.

External links