The Daily Gamecock

State of University speech date set

Annual address by university president to be held during 15-minute class break

USC’s annual State of the University address resembles almost any classroom lecture: There’s a packed auditorium in front of an accomplished speaker, this time the university president, who uses PowerPoint slides, inflection, several jokes and exciting examples to keep the audience both awake and alert.
Except the seats aren’t filled by students.

OK, there are a few, typically Student Government representatives or students charged with planning the day’s events. University employees, community leaders and a smattering of reporters usually dominate the crowd.

USC’s administration wants more students to hear President Harris Pastides this year. So the Sept. 7 speech — slated for 10 a.m. — will have a little extra pep and a little less formality.

No longer will the speech come from a bland, aging auditorium deep in the law school. Pastides will need only to walk down a flight of steps from his perched Osborne office to deliver this year’s address in the shadows of the McKissick Museum. Lounging will be supported with picnic blankets available for all attendees, and there will be refreshments.

“The Horseshoe was chosen because it is open, inviting and the setting for some of the university’s most historic and memorable gatherings,” said USC spokeswoman Margaret Lamb.

Students will perform live music, and a raffle at the end of the speech will include signed baseballs from USC’s national championship team. The speech is typically held a little later in the year­­ — last year’s came during the last weekend of October. The address typically breaks little news but serves as a celebration of the university’s accomplishments in the previous year.

There’s one little problem, though. Classes are held Wednesday morning from 9:05 to 9:55. After a 15-minute break, they resume at 10:10.

“We considered all days and times and classes conflict at just about every time,” said Luanne Lawrence, USC’s vice president for communications. “Not every student has class at this time, and we were hoping that those who don’t can join us.”

And if students can’t come, maybe they can hear a few of the president’s remarks as they scurry across the Horseshoe to another lecture.