Above: Members of the 1967 Legacy Scholars Program. (Photos by Heather Moran)

The 1967 Legacy Program, a key programming and fundraising priority that kicked off during the College’s 250th anniversary last year, has inspired a ground swell of interest by donors and, most importantly, applicants. In its initial year, the program has a cohort of 11 entering freshmen – 10 from South Carolina and one from Mississippi.

What attracted the applicants is the immersive experiences focusing on scholarship, African heritage, global leadership and workplace success that Valerie Frazier ’91, associate professor of English and director of the 1967 Legacy Program, developed. The intensive, four-year program also includes participation in academic, personal and career-ready enrichment to prepare the 1967 Legacy Scholars to become the next generation of African American leaders.

Among the first donors to the 1967 Legacy Program is Willoughby & Hoefer, P.A., the law firm of Andy Lowell ’95, a member of the College’s Board of Trustees. His firm’s generosity helped with the establishment of the program.

Greg Garvan and Priscilla Quirk

Greg Garvan and Priscilla Quirk

The rigor of the academic and cultural programming notwithstanding, the academic scholarships offered through the program are keen enticement for college students. That’s where philanthropic support from donors plays a critical role in the program’s success. With scholarships, students are able to focus more on the program and their studies. Two families provided scholarship support to the first cohort of students: Greg Garvan and Priscilla Quirk, and Ron and Cynthia Thompson.

Garvan and Quirk established the first named endowed scholarship for the 1967 Legacy Program — The Carrie Kilgore Endowed Scholarship. With this scholarship, they aim to help create opportunities for African American students to feel at home at the College through financial, emotional and relationship support that will ultimately create a sense of ownership and empowerment.

“I’m a life-long educator so it’s very important to me to support education in any way possible,” explains Priscilla Quirk. “Both of us are concerned about issues of racial injustice, and we want to make sure our contribution had that message attached to it.”

“The 1967 Legacy Program pulled all the things together that we think are important and value,” adds Greg Garvan, whom Carrie Kilgore, an African American woman who helped raise Garvan and his siblings, influenced and taught to grow a social consciousness that has lived on throughout his life. “We looked at this as an opportunity to honor Carrie Kilgore’s integrity, love and wisdom through an institutional program that we believe will live on long after we are gone.”

Ron and Cynthia Thompson

Ronald and Cynthia Thompson

The Thompsons sponsored scholarships for ten students, which will continue throughout their four years at the College. They support the program’s focus on developing leaders of the future amongst people of color.  

“We think that not only should we educate students to be good at a particular field of study but also be good citizens, and that is one of the things the 1967 Legacy Program is attempting to do,” explains Ronald. He and his wife think the impact for students should be as follows. 

  1. A world-class undergraduate education  
  2. Exposure to help the students understand their identity and the history of Black people in the U.S.  
  3. Opportunity to think about international travel and how Blacks in the African diaspora live  
  4. Participation in community service  

RELATED: Ronald and Cynthia Thompson: A Story of 1967 Legacy Donors

“Being well educated is part of it,” notes Cynthia. “Being educated and understanding your role in the broader society — how you can impact that and contribute to another piece of it — that is what the 1967 Legacy Program is all about.”   

“I think higher education is vitally important,” adds Ronald. “Having a college that is inclusive and equitable will really make a significant impact not only in the City of Charleston and the region, but across the state and hopefully the country and the world.”  

Tap and Jean Johnson

Tap and Jean Johnson

Donors Tap and Jean Johnson couldn’t agree more. “We support the 1967 Legacy Program because it will help bring inclusiveness, diversity and a feeling of welcome to this wonderful campus,” says Jean. “The program gives a beginning on which to build on what the College can become; it will help students, faculty, the whole institution and the community at large.” 

In addition to establishing an endowed scholarship, the Johnsons provided much-need funds to support the program’s enrichment activities. Through the Johnsons’ support, the 1967 Legacy Scholars will have the opportunity to participate in activities ranging from networking and workshops to internships and study abroad. 

With an enriching and challenging curriculum ahead of them and guided by Frazier and other faculty members, alumni mentors and community supporters, the 1967 Legacy Scholars will become leaders of our community and serve as excellent role models for future cohorts. These trailblazing 1967 Legacy Scholars will assuredly make those who have invested in their futures proud.