History of Midlands Technical College
History of Midlands Technical College Library

Columbia Technical Education Center
The South Carolina Area Trade School in West Columbia was established in 1947 as part of the State Board of Education in response to the need for vocational/trades training programs created by post-World War II business expansion. The State Advisory Committee for Technical Education was granted control of the Area Trade School in 1969. In 1970 the South Carolina Area Trade School was designated as a Regional Technical Education Center, providing residential facilities and offering trade courses at the secondary and post-secondary level. The Columbia Regional Technical Center, the Beaufort Technical Center and the Denmark Technical Center were designated as Technical Education Centers in 1972 under the jurisdiction of the newly created State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education.

Palmer College
Palmer College was issued a charter as a private non-profit educational institution in 1954. The institution began operating in Charleston in 1957. In 1960, the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges accredited the Columbia Campus as a Junior College of Business. By 1966, Palmer College had expanded its program offerings to become a comprehensive two-year college. In 1971 the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited Palmer College as a general-purpose junior college.

Midlands Technical Education Center
The original name of the institution was Richland Tec when it opened in 1963 as a part of the State Technical Education System. The Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accredited Richland Tec in 1968 and reaffirmed the institution in 1972. The Engineers’ Council for Professional Development accredited the Architectural, Civil, Mechanical, Industrial, and Electrical/Electronics curricula in 1969. The name was changed to Midlands Technical Education Center in 1970.

The Merger of Palmer College at Columbia, Midlands Tec and Columbia Tec
In July 1972 the State Board for Technical and Comprehensive Education and the Board of trustees of Palmer College completed a Merger Agreement, which merged Palmer College with the State Tec system. In August 1972 the Palmer College Board of Trustees and the State Board acknowledged approval of the merger by the State Budget and Control Board. Under the Merger Agreement, a feasibility study was conducted during the 1972-73 academic year. The primary recommendation of the Feasibility Study was to establish comprehensive two-year colleges in Columbia and Charleston. On March 21, 1973, after unanimous approval by the Richland County Legislative Delegation, the Lexington County Legislative Delegation, and the Richland-Lexington Counties Commission for Technical Education, the State Board unanimously approved the merger of the three institutions into a single institution, multi-campus concept with one campus to be located at the site of Columbia Tec (now the Airport Campus) and the other campus to be at the site of Midlands Tec (now the Beltline Campus).

The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education approved the merger in June 1973. In August 1973 the State Budget and Control Board and the Palmer College Board of Trustees finalized the merger.

The College now has three campuses, including the Harbison Campus, which houses the Continuing Education functions of the College. The College is a leader in Institutional Effectiveness and recognized nationally and regionally as a leading educational institution.