Dear Campus Community:
Last weekend, we held our annual spring commencement ceremonies. There is no more important ritual in the life of a university than graduating its next class of alumni. Every year I look forward to our winter and spring commencement weekends because they represent an ending and beginning in our students’ lives as well as serve as a visual reminder that we – the College – have done our job: to educate, develop, and produce world-class graduates who will serve as leaders in our global society. I extend my sincerest appreciation to everyone who played a role in the planning, implementation, and execution of our spring commencement weekend. You all undertook a lot to ensure our students and their families, friends, and loved ones had a memorable experience.
With graduation completed, another academic year has ended. It seems like it was just 2014 and the Class of 2018 and I were beginning our journey together at this remarkable university. Together we entered, and together we depart through Porters Lodge out into the world that awaits us. While the Class of 2018 and I are at different stages in our lives, we still have that same anticipation and excitement as we marvel at the countless possibilities that lie before us. I will miss the College and all of our great students, faculty, and staff; and I know the Class of 2018 will certainly miss this place and us as well.
As I look back on my final academic year as president of the College of Charleston, I am filled with pride for our institution and for all of you as well as a sense of accomplishment. The 2017–18 academic year was a remarkable one for the College of Charleston, and I think it is important to mark the end of another academic year with a recap of just how much we have achieved over the past semester. I’ll also include toward the bottom of that list some of the many achievements that we accomplished together since 2014.
This list, clearly, is not meant to be comprehensive, but more of a touting of just some of the many, many great things that have taken place that have helped propel us forward as an institution. Please remember to visit The College Today for great stories and news about our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and donors. Currently, there are many excellent posts about commencement, particularly some incredible graduate profiles.
It is an honor to report on the many significant achievements and milestones of a tremendous spring semester and the past four years. Our successes are made possible because of all of you. It’s the strength of the College of Charleston family that is behind our momentum.
I can firmly say that we are a stronger College of Charleston today than when I arrived four years ago. We have a remarkable collection of faculty, staff and senior leadership as well as incredibly bright and talented students. In addition, we also have a proven and successful fundraising operation. We have set the table for the next president, and I hope you share my enthusiasm for the direction in which we are headed.
I thank you for all you have done and will continue to do for the College, and I wish you not only a wonderful and productive summer, but a new chapter at the College that is marked with boundless opportunities, continued forward progress and great positivity. May the sun shine bright on our beloved College of Charleston and fortune favor our world-class university this day and forevermore.
- The College of Charleston will shortly reopen the entirely renovated Rita Hollings Science Center, a center that will transform STEM education at the College for decades to come.
- The Faculty Senate approved multiple proposals for academic program revisions, including a new concentration in legal studies for the Bachelor of Professional Studies degree and a new 4+1 program for students who wish to earn both the bachelor’s degree in urban studies and the Master of Public Administration degrees. Especially noteworthy is the first major revision in many years of the Honors curriculum.
- The Division of Academic Affairs’ academic program cost study suggested that program costs at the university continue to be managed efficiently by the College’s academic and business affairs leadership, while highlighting areas for potential improvement.
- The Division of Academic Affairs is finalizing its first-ever divisional strategic plan for distance education, which will take effect next year.
- Two students were named Goldwater Scholars, one of the nation’s highest honors for undergraduates studying science, technology, engineering or mathematics.
- 17 students, participating in the Collegiate Recovery Program, attended recovery meetings on campus in the CRP Lounge, located in the Stern Student Center with 14 being regular attendees. The program graduated its first class this spring.
- Campus Recreation Services launched four new sports clubs: Kendo, fencing, baseball, and basketball, bringing our total to 29 clubs.
- Student organization Charleston Miracle (formerly Dance Marathon) raised more than $115,000 for the MUSC Children’s Hospital. Housed within the Higdon Student Leadership Center and the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, Charleston Miracle is the largest student-run philanthropic event at the College.
- Lambda Theta Phi Latin Fraternity colonized as our first culturally based fraternity.
- On May 10, the Center for Civic Engagement celebrated the Bonner Leaders Program with a 10-year anniversary gala event. In the 10 years the program has existed at the College of Charleston:
- 74 Bonner Leaders have served more than 80,000 hours and have partnered with 36 local organizations;
- 94 percent of Bonner Leaders graduate in four years and 93 percent are employed full time or in graduate school within six months of graduation;
- 39.4 percent of Bonner Leaders report being first generation, 45.1 percent report identifying as a person of color, and 28.2 percent report identifying as LGBTQ+.
- Between February and March, nearly 200 companies participated in on-campus recruiting of our students. In addition, the Career Center launched its new CRM, Handshake, through which 1,500 new companies have registered/contacted the College in regards to recruiting our students and posting open positions.
- Over 140 graduating seniors participated in the Lavender, Hispanic-Latino, Asian-Pacific Islander and Nia Rite of Passage ceremonies. This year represents the largest number of student participants.
- CisternYard News was recognized at the South Carolina Press Association Collegiate Meeting in April with six state awards, including First Place in General Excellence for two issues of The Yard. General Excellence is the highest award among college publications.
- In partnership with multiple areas at the College, Student Affairs continued to advance the work of the Campus Climate Education Team and the Student Food and Housing Insecurity Task Force.
- The Office of Institutional Diversity awarded 20 departmental scholarships.
- The Crossing the Cistern program completed its first year. This program 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.
- The Office of Institutional Diversity’s College Cares initiative supported the Liberian-American nonprofit Save More Kids (SMK) by bringing together various departments and sororities on campus to contribute to SMK’s Period Project.
- Approximately 182 people attended Office of Institutional Diversity workshops, with two students receiving Diversity and Inclusion Certificates (recipients had to attend six of the eight sessions offered this spring).
Philanthropy and Alumni Engagement
- Through the first three quarters of this fiscal year, the College has raised $11 million in new philanthropic commitments, a 22 percent increase from last year at this time. That amount represents new gifts and pledges from more than 5,500 donors. The forecast is to secure a total of approximately $15 million by fiscal year-end (June 30).
- Of the $11 million secured, $3.4 million was directed by donors toward scholarships and student awards; $4.3 million to academic and student enhancement; $1.8 million to facilities; and $1.3 million to annual giving funds.
- In March, the College’s Alumni Association kicked off Family Weekend with the CofC Ring Ceremony at TD Arena, during which students were presented with their College rings. The rings stayed the previous night in the College’s original classroom located on the ground floor of the President’s House at 6 Glebe Street.
- For Spring Alumni Weekend, the Alumni Association hosted more than 4,100 alumni, graduating students, and guests for events highlighting programs across campus. The Class of 1968 was inducted into the College Classics Society (for alumni who graduated at least 50 years ago) at the annual Alumni Champagne Brunch on Saturday morning. On Saturday night, the Alumni Association held its 119th reception – now known as A Charleston Affair – which welcomed the College’s newest graduates into its membership.
- The Donor Societies event, an annual gathering to celebrate the College’s GOLD, 1770 and Live Oak Society donors, was held in April with more than 360 guests in attendance.
- March saw the return of March Matchness, a month-long fundraising drive that challenges our alumni, families and friends to make their gifts to the College of Charleston and Parents’ Funds. This year, new PAC parents Johnnie Baxley ’92 and Michelle Baxley offered to give $10,000 if $30,000 was raised. That challenge was met so quickly that fellow PAC parents Chris and Terri Walker offered to give $20,000 if an additional $30,000 was raised. By March 31, the challenge was met with more than 330 parents and alumni committing over $70,000 in the month of March to the Parents’ Fund and the College of Charleston Fund. This brought the College to more than $100,000 in total!
Marketing and Communications
- Completed phase one of increased campus branding: Lamppost banners (Calhoun, Coming and St. Philip streets), updated street signs, two-story banners on St. Philip Street Parking Garage and various pride point banners (Cougar Mall and St. Philip Street).
- With the Office of Admissions, department chairs and student affairs leaders, MarComm produced a large-scale email campaign, targeting prospective students with weekly messaging and customized messaging regarding their academic and outside-the-classroom interests.
- Highlighted the activities, achievements and expertise of hundreds of students, faculty, staff and alumni and generated positive visibility for the College through The College Today, College of Charleston Magazine, CofC social media and news media placements.
- The College’s video marketing team continues to produce engaging and compelling content that combines great visuals, great storytelling and even a great sense of humor (just check out the April Fools’ Day video).
- Men’s Basketball won the CAA regular season and tournament championships, qualifying for the NCAA tournament for the first time in 19 years.
- Women’s Golf won the CAA championship for the third time in five years.
- Sophomore Michael Sass won the 2018 CAA Men’s Golf Individual Champion and was named the CAA Men’s Golfer of the Year.
- The first, formalized Strategic Plan for College of Charleston athletics was created.
- Cougar athletics signed a five-year partnership with Learfield to manage multimedia rights and corporate sponsorships.
- A sports nutrition program was created to serve all student-athletes.
- Chad Holbrook began his tenure at the College as the head baseball coach.
- Earl Grant signed a new five-year contract as the men’s basketball head coach.
- 71 student-athletes graduated in May. Of the 71 students, 21 of them graduated with honors and 47 graduated with a GPA of 3.0 or higher.
- Next fall’s freshman class enrollment numbers are strong, and we are excited about the great students coming. They represent some of the nation’s best and brightest and are one of our most diverse classes to date.
- A record number of prospective student visitors participated in Admissions’ campus tour program in April and March.
- The Admissions Visitors Center received upgraded technology in the presentation room to welcome our visitors.
- The Division of Enrollment Planning released admissions decisions with merit-scholarship offers at the same time for the first time ever. Scholarships were out to admitted students six to eight weeks earlier than usual.
- The Offices of Admissions and Financial Aid received more than 13,000 admissions applications and 21,500 FAFSA forms for fall 2018.
- Cougar Card Services implemented an online photo submission functionality that allows new students to submit photos online. This will end long lines of new students waiting to have their pictures taken at orientation sessions.
- The U.S. State Department approved Mail Services as a Passport Acceptance Facility. Mail Services began processing passport applications in January.
- In January, Human Resources launched a new, 12-month Leadership Education and Advanced Program (LEAP) to enhance the development of future leaders and to improve the retention of high-potential talent at the College. Upon completion, the 18 emerging leaders from across the campus will have increased their confidence, their capabilities and their supervisory competencies.
- With the arrival of John Morris, vice president for facilities management, the grounds department, the departments of campus planning and the physical plant, and environmental health and safety/emergency management have combined to form the new Division of Facilities Management.
- Facilities Management employees significantly contributed to the successful response and recovery from a major snowstorm in January 2018 and Hurricane Irma in the fall of 2017.
- Two newly renovated facilities were awarded two Green Globes: Rita Hollings Science Center and 176 Lockwood (a.k.a. CofC WestEdge). In addition, the Jewish Studies addition has been certified as LEED gold and the Rutledge Residence Hall has been certified as LEED silver.
- The College of Charleston has been accepted as a NOAA Weather-Ready Nation Ambassador.
- On campus, there are numerous newly renovated spaces including:
- Lightsey Transfer Center (the official name is the Transfer Resource Center)
- Lightsey basement (New consolidated location for several Academic Experience offices and expansion of the Registrar’s Office)
- Avery Research Center’s envelope and mechanical (to be completed in early fall 2018)
- Lesesne House renovation (for the Office of Sustainability)
- 92 Wentworth (to be complete this summer)
- City Bistro Courtyard
- Squash Court renovation in Silcox Center (to be completed this summer)
- Addlestone Flex Room 127 conversion
- Arnold Hall kitchen renovation
- Jewish Studies Southern Jewish Culture Centers renovation
- 9 1/2 Glebe Street was refreshed as the new home for the English Language Institute
- Completed the Voice-over-IP migration.
- Expanded Office 365 to support conferencing and expanded collaboration support.
- Replaced all classroom computers.
- Upgraded the campus wireless to the latest standard.
- Connected the residence halls and houses to the fiber network.
- Migrated to Eduroam to provide faculty, staff and students an easy and secure network access when visiting an institution other than the College of Charleston.
- Business and Auxiliary Services and Aramark partnered with Alumni Affairs and Student Affairs in support of the Swipe Away Student Hunger campaign to allow students to donate meal swipes and dining dollars. More than 10,000 meal swipes and approximately $2,800 dining dollars were donated this year. In addition, nearly $5,000 was donated by students, alumni and parents. All of these funds and meal swipes will be used to provide meals to students with emergency needs.
- The Office of the President launched College Coffee, a monthly event to help the campus community connect with the president and the College’s senior leadership team. The College Coffee events will resume during the fall semester.
- The College officially unveiled a historic marker and portrait of Civil Rights activist and educator Septima P. Clark at her birthplace, 105 Wentworth Street.
- Peace Corps named the College the 13th volunteer-producing institution among medium-size colleges and universities across the country.
- The College joined the Universities Studying Slavery, a consortium of colleges and universities working together to research higher education’s specific relationships with the institution of slavery.
- U.S. News & World Report ranked the School of Business MBA program as first in the country for job placement.
Some Accomplishments from 2014 to 2018
- We secured additional millions of dollars in recurring monies from the state for our education and general expense account.
- We completed BOUNDLESS, the most successful comprehensive fundraising campaign in our history, creating more scholarship money for our students.
- We developed the College of Charleston’s first terminal degree, the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing, and new degree programs or concentrations in African American studies; meteorology; community planning, policy, and design; data science and analytics; digital media; theatre studies; sustainable urbanism; public policy; hospitality operations management; and South Carolina’s only undergraduate majors in supply chain management and commercial real estate finance.
- We secured our ten-year reaffirmation of SACSCOC accreditation, with no recommendations or focused reports.
- We launched our Quality Enhancement Plan on Sustainability Literacy, which is another differentiator for the College in South Carolina and the higher education landscape.
- We launched the Race and Social Justice Initiative, which supports community outreach programs that foster dialogue surrounding social inequities. The program – made possible by a Google grant and other community partners – has put on events and brought to campus national speakers, such as Ta-Nehisi Coates, Marian Wright Edelman and Bryan Stevenson.