Born: March 28, 1926
Died: March 23, 2001
Background/Significance: The first graduate of South Carolina State University to serve as its president (1968–86), Nance was serving as interim president when, on Feb. 8, 1968, three SC State students were killed by SC Highway Patrolmen during protests over a segregated bowling alley in Orangeburg. Nance, then 42, is credited with helping the school and city recover and move forward, working with then-Gov. Robert McNair to drive changes in relations between the races. He became full-time president in June 1968. Under Nance, SC State doubled its enrollment and added two dozen degree programs.
A less-known accomplishment was Nance’s leasing land from SC State’s 150-acre dairy farm to the City of Orangeburg to build the town’s first public golf course, Hillcrest, in 1974, enabling blacks (and whites) to play locally instead of driving to Columbia or Charleston.
South Carolina connection: A Columbia native who attended Booker T. Washington High, he worked at SC State for 15 years before becoming president and lived in Orangeburg until his death.