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Professor Leads Effort to Re-Activate Oratory Society

The Euphradian Society at the University of South Carolina (USC) was an old and storied society who heard many famous speakers in its hallowed halls, including the Marquis de Layette and his son, George, from France. However, as happens to many things over the course of time, membership and financial support of the society dropped. By 1978 it had stopped functioning completely. One of Averett's own, Dr. Gene Steadman Jr., department chair of the business administration program for the Adult Professional Program, was a member of this society while an undergrad at USC. So when he learned several years ago that the society had stopped functioning he took on the task of bringing it back.

"When I addressed this with Dr. Harris Pastides, president of USC, we both agreed that the lack of civility in today's society warranted the re-activation of this historical society," Steadman said. "By reactivating it, students could have a formal, but civil way, to express perspectives about issues of the day locally as well as nationally."

After working for two years with the president of the debate team, the president's office and the Honors College, Steadman had located alumni and secured enough financial contributions to successfully re-activate the Euphradian Society. The society held a formal ceremony, inducting seven new members, on April 15.

"The re-activation of the Euphradian Society is a key academic achievement that has enabled the preservation and continuation of a major historic organization in the state of South Carolina, and specifically the University of South Carolina," said Steadman, who is the Society's alumni president.

The Euphradian Society was an oratory group that was formed in 1806; one year after the college opened its doors on January 10, 1805. It met in the historical chambers above Harper College, a registered historical landmark on USC's famous Horseshoe beginning in 1848.

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