As President Glenn F. McConnell ’69’s retirement date nears, he has begun addressing student and faculty groups for the final time.
On April 3, 2018, McConnell gave his last talk to the Student Government Association. In his remarks to the students, McConnell reflected about the role public service has played in his life, leadership, and the value of the SGA’s work on behalf of their fellow students and their College. McConnell also touched on the College’s upcoming 250th anniversary in 2020.
“The sestercentenial is like the great hinge of history for us,” said McConnell. “It closes the door on the past 250 years, and opens the door on the future 250 years. It begins our journey to full global engagement in one of America’s gateway cities. The power of our past, the power of our place, and the power of our possibilities gives us a boundless future.”
On April 10, 2018, McConnell gave his final address to the College’s Faculty Senate. McConnell touted many of the College’s achievements under his tenure. Some of those highlights include:
- Securing millions of dollars in recurring monies from the state for CofC’s education and general expense account.
- Completing the most successful comprehensive fundraising campaign in our history, creating more scholarship money for our students.
- Amending the College’s mission statement, which identifies the College of Charleston as a comprehensive university and the College’s University of Charleston, South Carolina, as a research university.
- Developing the College of Charleston’s first terminal degree, the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and new degree programs or concentrations in meteorology (B.A.); community planning, policy, and design (M.A.); data science and analytics (M.S.- approval pending); digital media (concentration); theatre studies (concentration); sustainable urbanism (concentration); public policy (concentration); hospitality operations management (concentration) and South Carolina’s only undergraduate majors in supply chain management (B.S.) and commercial real estate finance (B.S.).
- Supporting significant growth in undergraduate distance-education offerings in both the regular academic year and the summer sessions, with the majority of summer sessions revenue now coming from online course offerings.
- Approving a new Bachelor of General Studies, what is essentially the first entirely online undergraduate program at the College of Charleston.
- Redeveloping the Master of Education in Languages, with the concentration in English as a Second Language to become the first entirely online graduate program at the College of Charleston.
- Securing our ten-year reaffirmation of SACSCOC accreditation, with no recommendations or focused reports.
- Launching our Quality Enhancement Plan on Sustainability Literacy, which is further distinguishing the College as a university in South Carolina and in the country.
- Launching the first Collegiate Recovery Program (CRP) in the state of South Carolina. The CRP is designed to provide a structured, healthy community where students recovering from substance and addictive disorders can thrive academically and socially while actively pursuing their recovery. Five students in the program will graduate in May.
- Supporting the Office of Institutional Diversity in launching the Crossing the Cistern program, which is a new one-year scholarship and mentor program for rising sophomores and juniors that awards up to $4,000 and helps at-risk students stay on the path to graduation.
- Supporting and launching the Avery Research Center’s Race and Social Justice Initiative, which supports community outreach programs that foster dialogue surrounding social inequities. This initiative is made possible by a Google grant and funding from other community partners.
McConnell emphasized that none of the College’s achievements over the past four years could have been accomplished without collaboration between the faculty, administration and Board of Trustees.
“Through the hard work, talent, and dedication of exceptional co-workers like Provost Brian McGee, our deans, our chairs, other academic leaders, staff, and, above all, you, my faculty colleagues, we have accomplished a lot,” said McConnell. “It is clear that the work we have done together has strengthened our university, particularly our student-focused approach to education.”
McConnell said he will look back fondly at his time as president of the College of Charleston. His last day in office will be July 2, 2018.