Money for more than 50 scholarships for University of South Carolina Beaufort art students has been raised in a few months, and university officials and supporters are confident more will come in.
Harris Pastides, president of the University of South Carolina, visited the USCB campus in Beaufort on Wednesday to recognize former Lt. Gov. Brantley Harvey, former Beaufort County Council Chairman Colden Battey and Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling for their push to raise money for the Beaufort College Art Scholarship Fund.
Harvey, Colden and Keyserling surpassed their February pledge in February to raise 25, $1,000 scholarships for studio-art students.
They have raised $218,000.
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Pastides said the program is critical to the university because of art's ability to "help us see the human condition differently."
"It asks the complicated questions and jolts us from complacency," Pastides said.
Wednesday's announcement included a new challenge. If $120,000 more can be raised by March 15, David Lott will contribute $30,000 more. That would bring the fund to more than $350,000.
"We need to support (USCB) in every way possible. Local support is critical to its success," said Lott, a retired attorney and board member for the Beaufort-Jasper Water & Sewer Authority.
Keyserling said USCB is a community asset and fundraising will strengthen its bond with the community.
"Now there are 54 more families who have made a financial investment, who I guarantee you will participate more and take a bigger interest in things that happen at the university," he said.
The scholarships are for students pursuing a four-year bachelor's degree in studio art. The program, which was approved in 2009, combines studio-art skills with a liberal arts background.
About 40 students are in the program, including Jerry Sample Stocks, who spent years as a mother, needlework designer and airline stewardess before returning to college. Stocks, who prefers painting, said the program has introduced her to a variety of other media, such as sculpture and papier-m