Luna Sepaniak, of New York City, has officially taken her first step toward college graduation.

Actually, it was closer to 237 steps.

College of Charleston students celebrate the start of the academic year during Convocation. (Photos by Mike Ledford)

Sepaniak and 30 other new students walked from a small classroom in the Beatty Center in the School of Business to join over 2,400 fellow freshmen in the Cistern Yard for the College of Charleston’s annual convocation ceremony on Monday, Aug. 23, 2021.

“I am really excited for a new adventure,” said Sepaniak.

As the students walked down George and St. Philip streets, they were greeted by hundreds of faculty and staff members welcoming the Class of 2025 to the CofC campus with cheers and applause. The scene had the feel of a pep rally as students streamed through the arch at Porter’s Lodge and were greeted by the College of Charleston cheer and dance teams along with music from DJ Natty Heavy.

President Andrew T. Hsu welcomed the new students not only to the College of Charleston, but to the City of Charleston. He told the crowd that as students at the College, they will meet people of many different backgrounds, temperaments, opinions and ideologies. He urged the newest members of the CofC community to celebrate and respect their new community.

“As a citizen of Charleston, you need to embrace diversity, civility and good manners,” said Hsu. “By doing so, you will become both a good classmate and also a good neighbor to those in the Charleston community. That is what it means to be a member of our campus community.”

convocation 2021

New students sign the C.O.U.G.A.R. Commitment during the 2021 Convocation ceremony.

Student Government Association President Ryan Thompson also welcomed students and asked them to support the CofC community by signing the C.O.U.G.A.R. Commitment which stands for:

  • Commit to academic excellence in the liberal arts and sciences
  • Allow all students to have the Opportunities to succeed
  • Work to Understand my community and those around me
  • Aim for Growth in my personal and professional life as a student
  • Strive for Achievement in education and extracurricular ventures
  • Respect the community I am in, both on campus and in Charleston

After the ceremony, Aryana Cooper, from Rock Hill, South Carolina, said she was ready for the start of the new school year.

“I think it is going to be exciting and fun,” said Cooper. “I am looking forward to making new friends and connections.”

The incoming freshman class represents students from 42 states and 14 different countries.

Classes at the College begin on Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021.