Lander University Opens to Record Enrollment, New Degree Programs and Expanded Services
Tuesday, Sep 01, 2020
student on first day of classes
Lander students returned to class Monday, August 17. Pictured, a student pauses for a photo in the Grier Student Center while making her way to class. Photo by Laura Brown

The Fall 2020 semester at Lander University has kicked off with another record-breaking enrollment, new bachelor’s and master’s degree programs being offered, and expanded food and dining options for students.

Classes began Monday, Aug. 17, and as of the first week, Lander’s total enrollment was at 3,511, representing an 8.9 percent increase over last year’s enrollment – and the largest enrollment in the university’s 148-year history.

Additionally, on-campus housing is at 100 percent capacity, and Lander worked with local hotels to secure temporary housing for students until residential spaces open on campus.

Lander also broke a nearly 30-year record for retention at 75 percent, topping the previous record of 71 percent set in 1992.

“In what has been a challenging year for higher education across the nation, it is clear that Lander remains a university of choice for students,” said President Richard Cosentino.

“Students and their families made it clear from the beginning that they wanted to return to campus for their education as quickly as possible,” he added. “Over the last five months, Lander’s faculty and staff have worked diligently to honor that request by implementing public health guidelines for cleaning and social distancing, requiring masks, limiting capacity in classrooms, offering more online options, and reminding students and employees of their responsibility to help keep our campus safe.”


Growing Enrollment and Retention

student in library
A student finds a quiet place to work in the Jackson Library on the first day of classes at Lander University. Photo by Laura Brown

Dr. Todd Gambill, Vice President for Enrollment and Access Management, attributed the growing enrollment and retention to Lander’s high-quality programs, people, opportunities and community.

“Throughout the spring and summer, Lander’s faculty and staff worked hard to help our students navigate the challenges presented by the pandemic, to ensure they were prepared for the next step in their education,” Gambill said. “Our students prefer the types of interactions and opportunities that only Lander can provide. They are voting with their feet, in choosing to come to Lander when they could have attended other campuses virtually.”

Those students aren’t just choosing Lander – they are choosing Greenwood, as well.

“With residence halls at capacity, a significant number of our students reside off campus in the local community. Whether they live on campus or off, they are contributing to the Lakelands’ economy through shopping, dining and other living expenditures,” said Dr. Boyd Yarbrough, Vice President for Student Affairs. “Lander students have chosen Greenwood as the place where they want to live and study, and their presence will have a positive impact on our community.”


New Degree Programs and Campus Dining Options

student at Chick-fil-A
When students returned for classes on August 17, they had new dining options available on campus, including an expanded Starbucks coffee shop (pictured), a new Chick-fil-A restaurant, and a remodeled Which Wich sandwich shop and POD convenience store. Photo by Laura Brown

When students arrived in mid-August, they were greeted with new and expanded dining options.

Over the summer, construction was completed on Lander’s new Chick-fil-A restaurant in the Grier Student Center; the campus Starbucks, next to Jackson Library, was doubled in size; and a new Which Wich sandwich shop and remodeled POD convenience store, with expanded foods, snacks and grab-n-go items, were unveiled in the Carnell Learning Center. Additional tables and chairs were also added throughout campus, to provide diners with options to safely spread out or take their meals on-the-go.

Another sign of growth at Lander: new degrees in business, health, and the arts and humanities. Among those programs:

  • The College of Business is offering new bachelor’s degree programs in business administration with emphases in sports management, hospitality management and information technology; as well as a Bachelor of Applied Science degree in business administration.
  • New bachelor’s degree programs are being offered in human services, international studies and paralegal studies in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences.
  • The College of Arts and Humanities is offering a bachelor’s degree in graphic design and interactive media, and a master’s degree in visual art.
  • The School of Nursing is enhancing its programs with a bachelor’s degree in health promotion and wellness.

“These programs not only enhance the academic reputation of Lander, but they provide students with more career choices,” said Dr. Scott Jones, Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.


Focused on Health and Safety

student in library
Masks and social distancing guidelines are in place throughout the Lander University campus. Pictured, students spread out in the Jackson Library for study between classes. Photo by Laura Brown

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, daily life at Lander features new health and safety protocols to protect those on campus.

Lander increased its online and virtual course offerings for the fall semester, and many of the University’s face-to-face classes use a flexible, hybrid model that blends in-person instruction with synchronous video and online activities. In-person classes have been capped to meet CDC and DHEC guidelines for social distancing in classrooms, labs and facilities. Masks are required in all Lander buildings, in accordance with local and state ordinances, and enhanced cleaning and sanitation is taking place throughout the campus.

“Our safety plans remain flexible, adaptable and versatile,” said Megan Varner Price, Assistant Vice President for University Relations. “They will continue to be updated as the pandemic evolves, and as we receive additional health guidance and feedback.”