History of Camden Military Academy

While the Camden Military Academy tradition dates back to 1892, operations on the current campus began with the 1958-59 school year.

The Academy combines the traditions of three institutions - Carlisle Military School, which operated in Bamberg, South Carolina, from 1892 to 1977; Camden Academy, which was located on the campus from 1949 to 1957; and Camden Military Academy. Camden Military Academy has operated as a non-profit, tax-exempt institution since 1974 and is governed by a self-perpetuating board of trustees.

Carlisle Military School

Carlisle Entrance Carlisle Military School was established in 1892 as the Carlisle Fitting School of Wofford College. This military school was named in honor of Dr. James H. Carlisle, who was for many years the president of Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In 1932, Carlisle was leased by Colonel and Mrs. James F. Risher and in 1938 was purchased by them. They, and later their son, Colonel William Risher, operated it as a military preparatory boarding school until it closed in May 1977.

Camden Academy

1955 Football Team Camden Military Academy in Camden, South Carolina was originally founded as Camden Academy in 1950 by a group of generous and far-sighted Camden citizens who felt that their town was an ideal setting for a private school. Colonel James F. Risher, the president of Carlisle Military School, purchased the facility in 1958, and the name was changed to Camden Military Academy. His son, Colonel Lanning P. Risher, was the military academy's first headmaster, and he served in that position for 37 years. In 1974, Lanning Risher led the military school to a reorganization as a non-profit, tax-exempt institution.

Camden Military Academy

McCain and Cadets Camden Military Academy's mission, first articulated by Colonel James F. Risher, headmaster of Carlisle Military School and founder of Camden Military Academy, is to accept young men of unfulfilled promise and lead them to a future of success. This philosophy, with its roots firmly established at Carlisle Military School, has served young men at Camden Military Academy now for half a century. Cadets learn to practice the concepts of honor, integrity, and duty as they grow in their everyday lives on campus. They learn to accept responsibility for their successes and failures in the classroom, on the athletic fields, and in their military roles. Cadets are encouraged to develop their own individual strengths and talents while at the same time to respect the rights of others.

The school's philosophy is to develop the "whole man" to the end that he is prepared not only academically, but also emotionally, physically, and morally, to face the trials and meet the opportunities that will be his after he leaves Camden Military Academy.

Please review CMA's mission statement and beliefs...

Mission Statement

Our mission is to educate and inspire our corps of cadets so that each cadet will have an opportunity to achieve his maximum potential and gain the educational foundation to succeed in college and life as a productive, contributing citizen.  We seek to imbue them with a respect for learning, to develop self-discipline, and to encourage a commitment to excellence.

Beliefs

  • Education is a process of growth that develops the whole man – mentally, physically, and morally. It is more than learning and retaining a mass of facts and figures.

  • A close relationship between the teacher and student can best be accomplished in a small school.

  • The teacher’s role is to make learning interesting, enjoyable, and challenging. We seek to engender in our cadets a genuine respect for knowledge and learning. Once achieved, the learning process will continue throughout their lives.

  • Our cadets can do their best work with encouragement, close supervision, individual attention, and small classes.  The college preparatory curriculum provides an outstanding framework to help our students.

  • Athletics are important for physical well-being of our cadets.  Through a full interscholastic and intramural program, we encourage team effort and cooperation. Winning while pleasant, is not all-important. Athletics can be and should be a means by which character and teamwork are built.

  • Self-confidence and success are inextricably related. In our military training program, as in athletics, a young man can sometimes find his first success.  Such training develops poise and self-control. Believing that American is indeed dear and that patriotism and citizenship should be deep sentiments, we feel that Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps inculcates in our cadets an awareness of duty to country and respect for our national flag.

  • Wholesome extracurricular activities give our cadets a greater sense of self-confidence and provide opportunities for leadership. Our activities open avenues for a cadet to express himself, supplement knowledge gained in the classroom, and develop personality.

  • Character development is of paramount importance. Character is shaped by our example and by good daily works.  While the Academy is non-sectarian, we accept it as our duty that each cadet attends his own church, and we try to encourage his loyalty to the tenets of his religious faith.

  • We believe in our cadets. Our task, therefore, is to develop the whole man so that he is fitted not only academically, but also emotionally, physically, and morally to face the trials and meet the opportunities that will be his after he leaves us.