When the BOUNDLESS Campaign started nearly seven years ago, it was the most ambitious fundraising initiative in the College’s history. An effort of passion, vision and dedication from alumni, students, friends and supporters culminated this summer with a total of $138.7 million raised, making BOUNDLESS the College’s most successful philanthropic and engagement effort to date.
Together, we surpassed our most ambitious goals. Together, we delivered results that are both immediate and long-lasting. And, together, we set in motion a bold new course for the College of Charleston. This June, when the BOUNDLESS campaign concluded, it marked the momentous finale to a comprehensive fundraising initiative, which, over the course of nearly seven years, advanced the institution for years to come. Its impact is already tangible, and it will extend and expand for many, many tomorrows.
The funds raised represent a historic level of giving at the College; however, those totals are but a part of the achievement. It is also the story of a remarkable collective effort. BOUNDLESS shined an inspiring new light on what it means to be part of this extraordinary community. It gathers longstanding philanthropists alongside enthused students, many of whom are making their first step toward a lifetime of involvement. It embraces both engaged, ardent alumni and treasured friends. It encompasses esteemed foundations with a seasoned eye on giving, as well as world-class corporations whose stock-in-trade is making sound investments. BOUNDLESS has helped to further galvanize a growing legion of lifelong champions of the College. This legion is vast and varied, yet by virtue of this impressive breadth, so strikingly singular.
This campaign reinforced something distinct and deep in our campus culture. Here, the individual passions run wide and far, and yet, the heartfelt commitment of those who support the College remains the same. While our walks of life greatly diverge, each of us who stepped forward walks the walk for the continued enrichment of the College. Whether a donor looks to the College to bolster scientific research or to further talks on social justice, each has recognized this institution as the most compelling inroad to a better, brighter future. That investment may focus on a single student, or may well aspire to the betterment of nothing short of our entire world.
On the following pages, we offer deeper insight into the many ways that the BOUNDLESS giving of this campaign has led to BOUNDLESS impact. You’ll see it in record-breaking numbers. You’ll see eye-opening facts. And you’ll also gain a sense of the scope of the BOUNDLESS community, through spotlights on just a few of the tens of thousands of its supporters. We hope you’ll begin to grasp this campaign’s BOUNDLESS reach, as our beloved College of Charleston community continues to come together to stand apart.
Some people can spot possibilities that the rest of us cannot see. Take Steve ’89 and Emily Molony Swanson ’89. They were keen to attract the best and brightest to their beloved alma mater, and to do so in a way that carried well into the future. With this in mind, they created the Swanson Scholars Program for Honors College students. But the Swansons’ vision did not stop there. To gain maximum momentum behind their gift, the couple also set up the Swanson Challenge, encouraging others to give by matching their Honors College scholarship gifts.
The first class of Swanson Scholars graduated last May, with each recipient ready to take on the world as a thoughtful, committed professional who appreciates how philanthropy shapes the future. After all, the Swansons have had their eyes on the long run ever since they first met at the College. And Steve knows a thing or two about increasing returns. As an Honors College student himself, he worked with his statistics professor Jim Hawkes and classmate Jonathan Butler ’86 to envision Automated Trading Desk, which took off on Wall Street and became a multimillion–dollar company. In addition to the Swanson Scholars Program and other gifts to the College, Steve also saw the potential of the BOUNDLESS Campaign from the start, committing to its success by serving as the co-chair of its steering committee: another testament to his exceptional vision.
Advocating for Change
In order to lift up those in need, we must first lift up ourselves. For the stronger we are as leaders, the stronger our chances will be of bringing about meaningful change. Fortunately, the College has energized individuals like Linda Ketner to raise the tide. Elevating opportunities for women with the potential to lead is the driving force behind the unique scholarship program she created at the College. The Ketner Emerging Leaders Scholarship program aims to empower high-achieving young women to develop leadership skills and to advocate for important community causes and social issues.
Ketner herself is an acclaimed community leader and businesswoman who has long given voice to those who most need it. In her wide-ranging leadership roles, including as president of KSI Corporation and a 2008 candidate for Congress, she has championed underserved communities around causes such as homelessness, affordable housing, racial justice and LGBTQ equality. And, as a former member of the College’s women’s and gender studies program advisory board, Ketner is keenly aware of the gender disparity that can work against women who have the potential to lead. Her own voice resonates loud and strong when it comes to the scholarship program: “My hope is that the scholarships reward and encourage students who think deeply, think long term, think inclusively and then take action on behalf of a better community, state and world.”
For starters, our community and our world are already far better places by virtue of this committed, considerate agent of change.
Ever since Jean Wayland Johnson and Tapley O. Johnson Jr. first rallied around the College as basketball fans in the late 1980s, they have animated the campus with their cranked-to-eleven enthusiasm for the College. Their giving today has become as broad and magnanimous as their perma-smiles. They are equally generous with their time and talents, serving on numerous College of Charleston boards and even hitting the road to show their support at championship games.
Together, the Johnsons have created scholarships in men’s basketball that have been transformative to team members. However, that represents only part of their giving to the College. They have also generously supported the arts, business and education. What’s more, the Johnsons are also rousing proof that it doesn’t take a CofC degree to consider the College your home team. Though not graduates, they have adopted the College with such devotion that, in 2015, they became the first couple to receive the College’s Alumni Award of Honor. Thanks to this powerfully positive pair, the entire campus has more to cheer about. In fact, each time you are greeted by the proud Cougar statue at TD Arena, you can thank the Johnsons for their gift, a fitting tribute to their cheer-out-loud Cougar spirit.
No one can better broadcast the power of learning and teaching than a seasoned education professor. And, when that professor is both personally and professionally invested in ensuring equal access to education, the statement is all the more powerful.
As an associate professor in the Department of Health and Human Performance, Andrew Lewis Sr. is keenly aware of the education gap that can limit opportunities for African Americans who want to enter the education field. To address this, he and his wife, Josephine, created the Dr. Andrew and Josephine Lewis Endowed Scholarship for the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance.
Lewis has experienced firsthand the challenges African American students face, as well as what it takes to overcome those challenges. In 1991, he made history as the first African American chair of the College’s Department of Health and Human Performance. The purpose of his family’s scholarship is to provide African American students majoring in physical education or within the Department of Health and Human Performance with life-changing resources. As an educator and philanthropist, Lewis is addressing an issue that has long challenged South Carolina – and that continues to challenge so many South Carolinians. We all have much to learn from him and his example.
The Matching Game
To light a fire, it always helps to have a match. Just ask Jeff Kinard ’77, who was eager to galvanize young alumni around annual giving to the College. To do so, this devoted alumnus came up with a unique method to motivate fellow alumni to collectively help the College. In doing so, he also proved there’s nothing he won’t do to help the College thrive.
In March 2015, Kinard put the “fun” in fundraising through a high-energy, offbeat matching gift initiative to inspire first-time giving among young alumni. The month-long challenge, dubbed “March Matchness,” took its cue from the annual NCAA college basketball tournament every spring and spotlighted Kinard’s sporty antics alongside his favorite mascot, Clyde the Cougar. All gifts supported the College of Charleston Fund, the unrestricted annual giving fund for scholarships and other institutional needs. Putting up a matching pledge of up to $20,000, this seriously funny Cougar fan doubled the original participation in its very first year, creating an annual tradition. “I was hoping to make a gift that had some leverage and impact with new donors,” says Kinard. “Enter March Matchness.”
The College is honored to have found a match in Jeff Kinard, whose contagious enthusiasm is mobilizing the next generation of philanthropy.
Schooled in Giving
Though she has yet to walk in white along the Cistern Yard, senior Hannah Robinson is already walking her walk for the legacy of her future alma mater. She does so by supporting the College of Charleston Fund as a donor and by taking on a leadership role in Committed to Charleston (C2C).
An officially recognized student organization, C2C raises awareness about the impact of giving back annually to the College of Charleston Fund. As current C2C Executive Board president, this communication and Spanish double major is also instrumental in conveying to fellow students just how transformational philanthropy can be.
Her gift and those of hundreds of other students were also matched through the Baxley Challenge, the program initiated by Johnnie Baxley ’92. When she’s not raising awareness and funds for the College, Robinson is raising the bar on the College’s equestrian team and advocating for the Center of International Education’s study-abroad programs. With such stellar Cougar pride out of the gate, Robinson is already working to further a lifelong championing of the College in everything she does.
How can the College help change the world? The first step is to change a worldview. Greater cultural awareness gives students a deeper understanding of themselves and others and serves as a springboard to solving contemporary social issues. Thanks to philanthropists Harry and Reba Huge, Cougars today are roaming to some fascinating, far-flung places, such as Estonia.
Through the Harry and Reba Huge Foundation, the Huges are finding ways to help fund scholarships to the College by way of the prestigious Harry and Reba Huge Scholarships in the Honors College. They are also providing special mentoring as well as summer study-abroad trips. Students return to campus with a new understanding of today’s complex global challenges – a perspective that will inform their studies and perhaps even their career paths. The Huges’ generosity is far-reaching, too, as the couple has also provided support for international scholars, as well as awards for music students, faculty exchanges and participants in the Network Globally, Act Locally (NGAL) program.
As honorary consul of Estonia, Harry Huge has seen how transformative this cultural awareness can be. That’s why he also helped with an internship at the U.S. Embassy in Estonia’s capital of Tallinn. Honors College student Zach Sturman (last year’s Student Government Association president) worked as a U.S. Department of State intern there
and says, “The Huges are some of the most selfless and generous people I’ve met in my whole life.”
That experience with BOUNDLESS philanthropy is certain to stay with this student and many others long after they venture out into the world.
The Role Model
Chanele Jackson ’87 has always put her family first, even if it meant setting her own dreams aside. The single mother raising three daughters was 31 years old when she enrolled at the College and faced the daunting prospect of simultaneously managing coursework and parenthood. But Jackson found the support she needed right on campus, enrolling her toddler in the N.E. Miles Early Childhood Development Center (ECDC) with a waived fee. Still, the pressures seemed overwhelming at times. But Jackson found an extended family in the College, first receiving a scholarship and then, later, professional inroads that launched her lifelong career in banking.
Now, Jackson gives back to the community that had her back when she needed it most. She has contributed to the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance, the College of Charleston Fund and ECDC on an annual basis for 15 years. And, most recently, she has made a planned gift toward an ECDC tuition for a child of a single mother who is also a first-generation college student. Always family focused, Jackson says, “I wanted to help someone like me, so that they may have a wonderful, safe environment for their children. The Early Childhood Development Center gives children a foundation of knowledge, of love.”
A Family Affair
As parents of two students at the College, Christopher “Chris” and Terri Walker are doubly committed to the institution, both today and tomorrow. And they have demonstrated that commitment in many meaningful ways.
As members of the Parent Advisory Council (PAC), the Connecticut-based couple has made significant contributions to the Parents’ Fund, even using their gift to challenge other parents to give. As part of their PAC efforts, they have personally picked up the phone to welcome incoming freshmen. The Walkers have also supported the Grant M. Eney Memorial Scholarship, for which they have hosted fundraising movie nights. By supporting the College, they feel they are supporting their children, Britt, who is currently working full time in Charleston after graduating last year, and Christopher, who is now a junior at the College. “By being involved, we feel a closer connection to our kids and have a better understanding of their pursuits and challenges,” the Walkers explain. “Also, it’s a great and stealthy excuse to spend more time with the kids.”
Sometimes, talking the talk is the best step toward transformation. And, when it comes to race and social justice, honest and courageous conversations can reveal the ways we are disconnected – ways that we may not have even realized.
Leave it to Google to power the crucial exchange to ensure that everyone in our country is heard. After all, the groundbreaking technological company is renowned for connecting us all to a world of information as much as it is for embracing both ideas and ideals.
So, in the wake of the June 2015 tragedy at Charleston’s Mother Emanuel Church, Google connected with the College to power a program fostering frank talks in the community about race and reconciliation. Under the guidance of Lilyn Hester, Google’s head of Southeast public affairs, the Race and Social Justice Initiative represents a collaborative effort led by the College’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture along with other campus and community partners. Lining up speakers such as social justice advocate Bryan Stevenson, education activist Marion Wright Edelman and journalist and National Book Award–winner Ta-Nehisi Coates, the program exemplifies the College’s forward-looking ethos and is reflective of the many ways we can all strive for a better future.
As the College of Charleston sets the stage for the days and years to come, it moves forward with a shining abundance of community and connectedness. As BOUNDLESS culminates, some stars sparkle brightly for all to celebrate. Still others are just now beginning to gleam, promising brightness on the horizon. Together, we illuminate the future for the College and ensure that it holds a BOUNDLESS tomorrow.