Camden Military Academy

Camden Military Academy

Address: 520 Hwy 1 North, Camden, SC 29020

Grades: 7-12

Teacher Ratio: 1 to 8

Students: 300

Camden Military Academy

In the heart of the South, there is an old historical town that is the fourth oldest city in America. The town is Camden, South Carolina, and it is the home of Camden Military Academy.

The academy is classified as a Regular Institution, and it is non-denominational. Restricted to males only between grades 7 through 12, Camden Military Academy is considered one of the top rank military academies with the least expensive tuition.


Camden Military Academy’s primary vision is to accept boys with unfulfilled talents and to shape them into outstanding men for the future. Therefore, their program is centered on helping the boys master their lives successfully. The faculty and staff are committed to excellence and are focused on building up self-confidence and changing the student’s perspective on how he grasps the world around him. To educate and inspire each boy to achieve and become the best he can become is a part of the academy’s motto.


The State Congress of South Carolina appointed Camden Military Academy to be the official state military academy under Act number 56 in 2001. The military academy is also designated as a military institute for the Junior Army Reserves Officer Training Corp and has consistently maintained its rating as an Honor Unit with distinction by the United States Army.

Residence and Location

Located between Columbia and Florence, when traveling Interstate 20 going east, Camden Military Academy can be reached by exiting Interstate 20 and driving the 520, known also as Highway number 1 North. The address is 520 Hwy 1 North, Camden, South Carolina 29020. The academy is spread out over forty acres of land and is mixed into the town setting.

Faculty and Students

Fifty percent of the teachers at Camden Military Academy have achieved their advanced degrees. There are approximately 300 students, and the dress code is formal during school hours with the exception of free time. The students are allowed to wear civilian clothing during this free time. With a teacher/student ratio of 8:1, the average class size is 15, and classes held on Saturdays are less than once a month. All students are required to live on campus.

Camden Military Academy’s accreditations are as follows:

  • Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS)
  • National Association of Colleges and Schools (NAIS)
  • American Military Schools and Colleges of the United States (AMSCUS)

We are excited to announce that graduates of Camden Military Academy can now attend college for free! Central Carolina Technical College in Camden is offering every graduate of a Kershaw County high school free tuition at the college.

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


Although the founding date of Camden Military Academy is listed as 1950, the school has a rich historical past, because it emerged successively out of two institutions. It began under the name of Carlisle Military Academy. The academy, which was established in 1892 as the Carlisle Fitting School of Wofford, was named in honor of Dr. James H. Carlisle who served as president of Wofford College in Spartanburg, South Carolina.

In 1932, Colonel and Mrs. James F. Risher leased the Carlisle Military Academy and later purchased it in 1938. From 1938 to May 1977, the school functioned as a military preparatory boarding school.

Meanwhile, visionary citizens of Camden who believed that their town needed its own school founded Camden Academy in 1950. Camden Academy operated on its own until 1958, when Col. Risher, the owner of the Carlisle Military Academy purchased the school and aligned both schools together under the name of Camden Military Academy.

However, it was under the leadership of Col. James Risher’s son, Col. Lanning P. Risher, who served for thirty-seven years as the school’s first headmaster that the military school was reorganized and became a non-profit, tax-exempt institution.


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 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’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 respecting 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…


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.


  • 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 cadet’s 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 the 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 a 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.

Camden Military Academy

520 Hwy 1 North, Camden, SC 29020


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