Above: President Andrew Hsu speaks during the grand opening of Cougar Cutz Barber Shop.

Dear Campus Community,

The start of the new semester is always an exciting time of year. And it seems even more special as we gather and meet like we did before the onset of the pandemic. A university needs activity, and I am glad our campus is once again buzzing with conversations, laughter and the collaborative work of our students, faculty and staff.

I want to highlight two stories of particular interest that you may have read in The College Today earlier this month.

The first is our most recent rankings in the U.S. News & World Report. While I won’t wade into the ongoing arguments for and against the rankings, we must all concede that many families and prospective students use them in determining their school choices. I am pleased that we continue to have a good showing, which is a reflection of our faculty and staff’s hard work to make the College of Charleston the best university it can be. More than anything, our 10-year strategic plan, Tradition & Transformation, is intended to serve as an accelerant to your hard work in order to lift us to even greater heights.

Not that one ranking can capture that momentum, but I am glad that this year’s rankings provide affirmation that we, as the College of Charleston, are moving in the right direction. I am pleased that we are again recognized as a “Best College for Veterans,” a top school for undergraduate teaching and a top public school. I am especially proud of the College continuing to earn special attention as a “most innovative school” in the South. Innovation, as you may recall, is a centerpiece of our strategic plan, and it is gratifying that others see innovation in our academic experience that is unlike the offerings of other schools.

In case you missed it, on Sept. 15, the College formally cut the ribbon to open Cougar Cutz. This day was years in the making, and I am so proud of the cross-campus collaboration to make it happen. I want to personally thank the Office of Admissions, Avery Research Center, the Division of Student Affairs, the Facilities Management team, the Office of Institutional Diversity and the Office of Multicultural Student Programs and Services (MSPS) for all of their hard work, both past and present, to make the barbershop a reality.

I want to especially commend Kenyatta Grimmage, associate director of admissions, access initiatives and pre-College programs; Chris Bond, interim associate director of student life for events and operations; and Rochelle Johnson, director of MSPS. They were true champions for this project and deserve much praise for their incredible efforts.

In closing, I wish you the best of luck this semester as we march boldly together into this new academic year – a year that will be, I am sure, marked by extraordinary learning and extraordinary achievement, both inside and outside of the classroom.



Andrew T. Hsu, Ph.D.
College of Charleston