It’s been an exciting and momentous year for the College of Charleston. The university launched its first doctoral program, welcomed Vice President Kamala Harris to campus and saw its men’s basketball team head to the NCAA Tournament, among many other milestones.

Here, in no particular order, are some of the highlights of 2023:

The College launched a doctoral program in mathematics and computation in the fall of 2023, its first doctoral program ever. Other new academic pathways established this year include the Spanish as a Heritage Language Distinction Program and a new partnership with MUSC that offers students an accelerated track to earning a Doctor of Pharmacy degree.

Vice President Kamala Harris comes to Charleston

Top: Vice President Kamala Harris visits campus as part of her Fight for Our Freedoms college tour. Bottom: Three large-scale animatronic dinosaurs were delivered to the College of Charleston’s Mace Brown Natural History Museum at the School of Sciences, Mathematics, and Engineering. (Photos by Mary Muldoon)

The College welcomed Vice President Kamala Harris to campus in October as part of her Fight for Our Freedoms college tour, along with comedian Dave Barry and a triad of large-scale animatronic dinosaurs. Speaking of visitors, this year the Bully Pulpit Series celebrated 15 years of inviting presidential candidates to campus to talk to students.

The Cougars men’s basketball team made it to the NCAA Tournament in March, and the women’s golf team won the 2023 Colonial Athletic Association Championship in April, punching a ticket to an NCAA Regional for the 10th time in program history. Then, in May, golfer Kieron van Wyk was named the CAA Golfer of the Year for the second year in a row.

For the third year in a row, the College raised more than $20 million in gifts and commitments.

Above: Scenes from the March Madness 2023.

Faculty like psychology professor Nick Hindy received research grants, and the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture received a $2 million grant from the Mellon Foundation to support the collection and preservation of the South Carolina Lowcountry’s social and cultural history. Also, through a fellowship with the Avery Research Center, then-graduate student Lauren Davila ’21 (M.A. ’23) discovered the nation’s largest slave auction, amassing plenty of media attention.

Students were also recipients of Summer Undergraduate Research with Faculty grants, allowing them to continue their research on everything from Lowcountry flooding to witchcraft in early modern history. Other student research included examining the health of Gulf Coast bottlenose dolphin and the health implications of gas- vs. electric-powered leaf blowers on campus.

Above (l–r): Savana Kate Schwanda, Tyler Glymph and Michele Graham.

Systems engineering major Savana Kate Schwanda spent her summer getting hands-on experience through her REI Automation internship, while geology major Tyler Glymph helped plan a mission to a dwarf planet while interning with NASA.

Biology major Michele Graham was named Student Entrepreneur of the Year for her Surro-Kitty kitten-feeding device, and the CofC Orchestra did some purring of their own when they performed at the Kennedy Center.

Back on campus, renovation of McAlister Hall wrapped up just in time for the College to welcome its largest incoming class ever, and students found their people at the College’s inaugural BEst Fest.

Large Group at the Best Fest in Cistern Yard

Above: Scenes from the College’s inaugural BEst Fest.

At the Education Center, an exhibit in the Septima Clark Memorial Auditorium and a new mural honored activist Septima Poinsette Clark.

Anthony Greene, director of the African American Studies Program, was named the College’s inaugural Lucille Simmons Whipper Distinguished Professor, and communication professor Michael Lee was named the inaugural director of the College of Charleston Civility Initiative.

The College also established the Martin Center for Mentorship in Communication for students in the Department of Communication, which was one of four programs selected this year to be among the first CofC Signature Programs.

In addition to launching Coursera – a micro-credentialing program for faculty, staff and students – the College joined The Conversation news website, which published 25 articles by CofC faculty, accounting for more than 1.4 million reads. And, for the listeners out there, the College talked with students, faculty and staff on its podcast, Speaking of … College of Charleston.

a painting of septima clarke

Above: “Saint Septima with Carolina Jasmine,” the new mural by Natalie Daise, greets visitors in the atrium of the Education Center.

College of Charleston faculty also were involved with Charleston’s new International African American Museum. Director of the College of Charleston’s Office of Tourism Analysis Daniel Guttentag received a Fulbright award to teach and study in Panama, and seven other faculty members received Distinguished Faculty Awards.

Eight alumni were recognized with Alumni Awards at the Alumni Awards Gala, and three College of Charleston alumni – Clay Ross ’98, Quentin Baxter ’98 and Kevin Hamilton ’95 – received their second Grammy Award with their band Ranky Tanky.

The Class of 2023 headed off to start new journeys, while the newest crop of Cougars joined our ranks.

And, finally, with an eye toward the future, the College introduced its 2023 Campus Framework Plan, outlining an approach to its development and growth in years to come.

Happy New Year, Cougars! Here’s to making 2024 our best year yet!