Buoyed by loyal donors and alumni, the College of Charleston Foundation reached a new fundraising record in fiscal year 2021, garnering more than $20 million in philanthropic gifts.

The wave of giving, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic, makes this achievement even more meaningful, says College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu.

“The dedication of our alumni and the community during the pandemic shows just how much people value the College,” says Hsu. “The fact that more than 50 percent of the funds came from alumni serves as testament to the quality and benefits of a CofC education.”

This banner year of giving, which includes six seven-figure gifts, will enable the College to establish a variety of new programs and scholarships designed to enhance the student experience.

Among the new programs funded through major gifts is the John Edwin Mroz Global Leadership Institute (Mroz Institute), which honors the legacy of John Edwin Mroz, founder of the EastWest Institute (EWI), a global organization dedicated to finding sustainable solutions for major political, economic and security issues through candid discourse among world leaders.

EWI’s Board of Directors gifted more than $2 million to form the Mroz Institute in partnership with the College to preserve Mroz’s legacy. In addition, the Bennett Family Foundation gave nearly $500,000 to support the newly formed Mroz Institute and its director. Housed within the College’s School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs, the institute will position the College as a hub where students prepare for international and domestic careers and leadership roles.

Another key initiative kicking off this fall thanks to philanthropic support is the 1967 Legacy Program. Many visionary donors, including Greg Garvan and Priscilla Quirk; Ron and Cynthia Thompson; Tap and Jean Johnson; and Willoughby & Hoefer, P.A., the law firm of Randy Lowell ’95, made the program a reality. Beginning this fall, the 11 students who comprise the inaugural class of 1967 Legacy Scholars will begin an intensive, four-year program focused in improving the recruitment, retention and graduation rates of Black students through scholarships, enhanced academic and social support as well as professional development.

Other key philanthropic gifts recorded during fiscal year 2021 include:

  • The Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences created the College’s first paleontology scholarship, which was awarded in fall 2021.
  • The College’s International Piano Series in the School of the Arts has a new concert grand Steinway from Hamburg, Germany, thanks to Charleston physician, Dr. Samuel Dwayne Thomas, who passed away in 2018. The piano will debut at the 31st season of the International Piano Series.
  • Esther Ferguson endowed a scholarship to help more CofC students study in Trujillo, Spain, where she donated property to the College.
  • The College of Charleston Athletic Fund, which provides financial resources to more than 350 student-athletes competing in 19 varsity sports at the College, received more than $2.6 million in donations.
  • The Shalosky Family Engineering Leadership Scholarship was formed and awarded to a rising engineering major.
  • The Mullen Family Investment Program Professional Development Endowment supported the School of Business Investment Program with activities such as professional certifications and designations, travel to industry conferences and networking events, and purchases of items such as electronic training programs and Financial Services Lab assets.
  • The John L. Covington and Robert Lukey Endowed Scholarship was formed and awarded to a pre-med student with a focus on dental medicine.
  • The John Covington and Robert Lukey Performing Arts Endowed Scholarship was formed and awarded to a future educator pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching in Performing Arts.

These investments in the College will help shape the future direction of the university as it begins the implementation of its new 10-year strategic plan, Tradition and Transformation.