The College of Charleston (informally known as C of C) is a public, sea-grant and space-grant university located in historic downtown Charleston, South Carolina, United States. The College was founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785, making it the oldest college or university in South Carolina, the 13th oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and the oldest municipal college in the country. The founders of the College include three future signers of the Declaration of Independence (Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton and Thomas Heyward) and three future signers of the United States Constitution (John Rutledge, Charles Pinckney and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney). It is said that the College was founded to, "encourage and institute youth in the several branches of liberal education." The College is in company with the Colonial Colleges as one of the oldest schools in the United States. It is a member of the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges. The College of Charleston is nationally recognized both for its focus on undergraduate education and faculty research contributions. The College of Charleston is one of the nation's leading institutions for undergraduate education according to the Princeton Review; U.S. News and World Report regularly ranks the College of Charleston among the best southern master's level universities.

Founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785, the College of Charleston is the oldest institution of higher education in South Carolina, and the 13th oldest in the United States. During the colonial period, wealthy families sent their sons abroad for higher education. By the mid-18th century, many leading citizens supported the idea of establishing an institution of higher learning within the state. On January 30, 1770, Lieutenant Governor William Bull recommended to the colony’s general assembly the establishment of a provincial college. However, internal disagreements, political rivalries and the American Revolution delayed its progress. After the war, South Carolinians returned their attention to establishing a college. On March 19, 1785, the College of Charleston was chartered to “encourage and institute youth in the several branches of liberal education.” The Act of the statehouse provided for three colleges simultaneously: one in Charleston, one in Winnsboro and one in Cambridge. The Act also granted the College almost 9 acres (36,000 m 2) of land bounded by present-day Calhoun, St. Philip, Coming and George streets; three-fourths of the land was soon sold to pay debts, but the College is still centered in that section of Charleston. Only the College of Charleston continues today as a college. The College was rechartered in 1791 because of questions about the 1785 Act, and the trustees hired Rev. (later Bishop) Robert Smith as the first president of the College, and the first classes were held at his home on Glebe Street (the current home of the College of Charleston president). Robert Smith served as the College's first president. Educated in England, he was ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church and relocated to Charleston, where he served as rector of St. Philip’s Church. During the American Revolution, he supported the Patriot cause and even served as a soldier during the siege of the city. He later became the first Episcopal bishop of South Carolina. He relocated the school to a brick range which had been constructed for use as quarters for soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Dr. Smith continued as the president until 1797. It was during his term (1794) that the school graduated its first class with the degree of A.B., a class which consisted of six students. The oldest of the students was only 18, and the work for a decree was considered so easy that one of its first graduates said that "the whole thing was absurd." Upon the resignation of Dr. Smith in 1797, the school became sporadic and eventually closed completely in 1811. It was revived in 1824 with the hiring of Rev. Jasper Adams from Brown University for a salary of $2500. Rev. Adams' plans for enlarging the school met opposition both locally and from the General Assembly which found his plans antagonistic to the interest of the South Carolina College (today known as the University of South Carolina). Rev. Adams left the school in 1826, and the future of the College appeared bleak. In 1837, however, the City of Charleston decided that it would be in the city's interest to have a "home college." In 1837, the city council took over control of the school and assumed the responsibility for its finances and for electing its trustees. As such, it became the nation’s first municipal college. The city provided funds, for example, in 1850 to enlarge the main academic building (Randolph Hall), to construct Porters Lodge and to fence in the Cistern Yard, the block that is still the core of the campus. It remained a municipal college until the 1950s, when the College again became a private institution. Several of the College’s founders played key roles in the American Revolution and in the creation of the new republic. Three were signers of the Declaration of Independence and another three were framers of the U.S. Constitution. Other founders were past, present and future federal and state lawmakers and judges, state governors, diplomats and Charleston councilmen and mayors. During the Civil War, many students and faculty left to serve the Confederacy. Despite dwindling student numbers and a long-running siege of the city by Federal troops, there was no suspension of classes until December 19, 1864, two months before the city was evacuated. Classes resumed on February 1, 1866, and over the next four decades, the College weathered several financial crises, Reconstruction, hurricanes and the devastating earthquake of 1886. Until the 20th century, students who attended the College were primarily Charlestonians. Harrison Randolph (president, 1897”“1945) changed that by building residence halls and creating scholarships to attract students from other parts of the state. Under President Randolph, women were admitted to the College and the enrollment increased from just 68 students in 1905 to more than 400 in 1935. For many institutions of higher education across the South, integration took place in the late 1960s. For the College, the first black students enrolled in 1967. The enrollment remained at about 500 until the College became a state institution in 1970. During Theodore Stern’s presidency (1968”“1979), the number of students increased to about 5,000 and the physical facilities expanded from fewer than 10 buildings to more than 100. Between 1979 and 2001, the enrollment continued to increase, climbing to more than 10,000, and attracting students from across the country and around the world. The College of Charleston Complex: Main Building, Library and Gate Lodge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and further declared a National Historic Landmark in 1971. According to a description by the South Carolina Department of Archives and History, "The historic campus of the College of Charleston contains three structures, the Main Building, the Library and Gate Lodge, situated in an attractive setting of evergreen oaks, that achieve a certain degree of unity by means of the prevailing Pompeian red coloring of their stuccoed walls." The main building, as designed by William Strickland, was built in 1828-29 and was revised in 1850 by the work of Edward Brickell White which added "six giant Roman Ionic pillars" and otherwise developed a more "grandiose" vision. The Gate Lodge, designed by White and now known as Porters Lodge, was built in 1852 in a matching Roman Revival style. The College Library was designed by George E. Walker and was built in 1854-1856. Under the leadership of President Lee Higdon (2001”“2006), the College embarked on an ambitious, multi-year plan designed to enhance the overall student experience, increase the faculty and student support staff and upgrade and expand facilities. The College renovated many historic structures and opened several new buildings, including two new residence halls, the Beatty Center (School of Business and Economics), new facilities for the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance and the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library. The building boom continues today, with construction under way on the Carolina First Center and John Kresse Arena sports complex, the Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts, a new science center, a new research and residence facility at the Grice Marine Laboratory and the first phase of construction at the Dixie Plantation site. Recently, under the presidency of P. George Benson (2007”“present), the College of Charleston embarked on a new strategic planning process designed to ensure the College retains its traditions in the liberal arts and sciences while responding to the needs of its evolving student population with cutting-edge academic programming and state-of-the-art facilities.

College of Charleston today
Although existing as a small, private liberal arts college for much of its early history, the College of Charleston is today a public university with a combined graduate/undergraduate enrollment of over 11,000. The College retains its liberal arts heritage through its core curriculum, which includes a heavy emphasis on languages, literature, history, sciences and the arts. The College of Charleston consists of six academic schools, as well as the Honors College and the Graduate School.
  • The School of the Arts hosts South Carolina’s flagship undergraduate arts program in music, studio art and theatre and also includes one of the few independent art history departments in North America, one of the nation’s only undergraduate arts management programs and a prominent undergraduate program combining historic preservation and community planning.
  • The School of Business instructs undergraduate and graduate students in the essential critical-thinking, leadership and communication skills they will need to be responsible, ethical contributors to the global marketplace. The school offers five undergraduate majors (accounting, business administration, economics, hospitality and tourism management and international business), an accelerated master of business administration program, a master of science in accountancy and several minors and concentrations, including finance and entrepreneurship.
  • The School of Education, Health, and Human Performance prepares students for careers in education and health professions, such as exercise science and athletic training, through academic coursework, field experience and clinical practice. The school partners with schools and businesses in the Charleston area to provide hands-on learning experiences for students.
  • The School of Humanities and Social Sciences cultivates writing and critical-thinking skills in students and offers a number of disciplines traditionally associated with a liberal arts and sciences education, including anthropology, communication, English, history, philosophy, political science, religious studies and sociology.
  • The School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs includes one of the most comprehensive language programs in the Southeast, in-depth majors in classical and modern languages, overseas study programs, specialized programs for future language professionals and offerings in several less-commonly taught languages, such as Arabic, Chinese, Hebrew and Hindi.
  • The School of Sciences and Mathematics is home to the state’s flagship marine biology program and extremely well-regarded departments such as biology, chemistry and biochemistry, computer science, geology, mathematics and physics. The school receives generous external research support each year, giving students opportunities for independent research in addition to significant involvement in inquiry-based learning in the classroom and teaching laboratory.
  • The Honors College challenges intellectually talented students to customize and maximize their educations through team-taught Honors classes (with an interdisciplinary focus), research opportunities with top faculty members and an independent-study project that culminates in a bachelor’s essay.
  • The Graduate School of the College of Charleston offers 19 master’s degree programs and seven certificate programs. Each is designed to take advantage of the unique opportunities provided by the people, institutions and environment of the South Carolina Lowcountry and imparts specialized knowledge and training to its students.

The College's 20 varsity sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I Southern Conference and are known as the Cougars. The Cougars compete at a variety of athletic facilities in Charleston, including the Carolina FIrst Arena, the J. Stewart Walker Sailing Complex, Patriots Point Athletic Complex, the Stern Center Pool and the Links at Stono Ferry. College of Charleston Athletics are supported by the Cougar Club, which was established in 1974. During the 1970-71 school year, College of Charleston students voted to change the school mascot from the Maroons to the Cougars, in honor of a cougar that had recently arrived at the Charles Towne Landing zoo. Clyde the Cougar is the College's current mascot.

Notable athletics accomplishments include
Baseball The College of Charleston baseball team was the 2004, 2005 and 2007 SoCon regular season champion. In 2006 the Cougars won the regular season championship and then won the Southern Conference Baseball Tournament before advancing to the Super Regional. Basketball The men's basketball team won the NAIA national title in 1983 and made four trips to the NCAA Tournament (1994, 1997, 1998 and 1999) under the leadership of former head coach John Kresse. The men's basketball team was division champion of the Southern Conference in 2000-2004. In 2006, the College welcomed Bobby Cremins as its new head basketball coach. Equestrian The equestrian team was the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Zone 5 champion from 2005-2010. Football In 1897, the College fielded its first athletics team, a football squad. A football team played for the College until 1923, when it was disbanded for lack of support. Sailing The sailing team was the national sloop champion in 2003 and 2007, coed dinghy national champion in 2006 and 2007 and women's dinghy national champion in 2006 and 2010. Volleyball The women's volleyball team was Southern Conference champion from 2001”“2009 and made NCAA appearances in 2002 and from 2005-2007.

The College of Charleston’s main campus in downtown Charleston includes 11 residence halls, 19 historic homes, five fraternity houses and six sorority houses. Outside of downtown Charleston, the College campus includes the Grice Marine Lab on James Island, the J. Stewart Walker Sailing Center and the Patriots Point Athletic Complex in Mount Pleasant, the North Campus in North Charleston and the 862-acre Dixie Plantation on the Stono River. The College of Charleston campus is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Additionally, the Avery Institute, which is now the home to the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture and the William Blacklock House are also listed individually on the register.

Notable campus buildings include
  • Randolph Hall
  • Towell Library
  • Porters Lodge
  • Avery Research Center
  • Bishop Robert Smith House
  • Sottile Theatre
  • William Blacklock House
  • Wilson-Sottile House
Recent building history: In 2005, the College opened the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library and the Beatty Center for the School of Business and Economics. In 2009, the 5,500 -seat Carolina First Arena on Meeting Street opened. In 2010, two new buildings opened on Calhoun Street: the Wayland and Marion H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts and the School of Sciences and Mathematics Building.

The campus has its own first responder operation, College of Charleston EMS (COFCEMS), a student-run Emergency Medical Services organization. CofC EMS was founded in 1995 by a student that worked out of his own car. Now the unit consists of over 35 students who volunteer their time to respond to emergencies on the College of Charleston campus and surrounding areas. CofC EMS works closely with Charleston County EMS to provide the students and staff the highest level of care possible. CofC EMS is a member of the National Collegiate EMS Foundation and has placed top 5 in national Collegiate EMS competitions for non ALS providers. They also placed first in the National Collegiate EMS Foundation (NCEMSF) Trauma Skills competition in 2009.

College of Charleston and the media
Due to the historic look and beauty of the campus, many movies and television shows have been filmed at the College of Charleston, including General Hospital, North and South, The View, Cold Mountain, The Patriot, White Squall, Wife Swap, O, The Notebook and Dear John. The most popular scene location is Randolph Hall. In 2008, productions shooting on campus thus far include the television show Army Wives and feature film, The New Daughter, starring Kevin Costner. In 2004, the first televised debate between U.S. Senate candidates Jim DeMint and Inez Tenenbaum was filmed in Alumni Hall. ABC TV's The View and CNN's Crossfire also took up residence on the College of Charleston Cistern Yard before the South Carolina presidential primary in 2000. John Kerry officially endorsed presidential candidate Barack Obama in the Cistern Yard in 2008. "The Bully Pulpit Series: Reflections on Presidential Communication” is a series hosted by the College of Charleston and its Department of Communication that welcomes presidential candidates from the two major political parties to the College of Charleston campus to discuss the importance of presidential communication. Candidates speak with students and Charleston community members on such topics as the frequency of press conferences, the candidate’s relationship with journalists and the power of the president to persuade. Major candidates appearing in the 2007-2008 series have included Senator John McCain, Congressman Ron Paul, then-Senator Barack Obama and Senator John Edwards. Sponsored by the Allstate Insurance Company, the series has drawn over 6000 attendees and received national and international media coverage. The English Department at the College of Charleston publishes Crazyhorse, a national literary magazine.

Greek Life
Greek Life has been active on campus for 120 years. There are 10 active IFC fraternities, 9 active Panhellenic sororities, (Spring of 2010 Delta Gamma and Phi Kappa Tau joined the campus) and 7 NPHC fraternities and sororities on campus. The College of Charleston is home to the Alpha chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, founded in 1904 at the College. The Alpha chapter house is located on Coming Street adjacent to the College's campus.

Notable alumni
Actors and Actresses
  • Erick Avari, Class of 1976 - actor
  • Matt Czuchry, Class of 1999 - Actor (known for his role as Logan Huntzberger on the television show Gilmore Girls) - graduated with honors, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in History and Political Science. He won the Mr. College of Charleston pageant in 1998. Czuchry was captain of the men's tennis team, and was a NCAA ranked player in the Southern Conference.
  • Brett Gardner, Class of 2005 - Professional baseball player for the New York Yankees.
  • Anthony Johnson, Class of 1997 - plays in the NBA. He is a veteran of 12 years (1997”“present).
  • Michael Kohn- Professional baseball player for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
  • Wes Knight- Professional soccer player for the Vancouver Whitecaps
Artists and Architects
  • Samuel Lapham VI (1892”“1972), Class of 1913 - Architect with the firm Simons & Lapham 1920-1972. Simons & Lapham designed west wing of Randolph Hall/Chemistry Wing (1930),the Student Activities Building (1939), Craig Dormatory and Cafeteria (1962), Robert Smalls Library (1972) and Cougar Mall, located between the Robert Scott Small Building and Maybank Hall (1972). The firm was influential in Charleston, creating the city's first historic preservation ordinance in 1930.
  • Robert Mills (1781”“1855)- Mills studied at the College in the late 18th century. He is considered by many to be the first American-born architect. Mills designed the Washington Monument as well as the Department of Treasury building and the U.S. Patent Office Building.
  • Brian Rutenberg, Class of 1987 - American Abstract painter.
  • Mendel Davis, Class of 1966 - Democrat, United States House of Representatives representing the First Congressional District of South Carolina 1971-1981
  • James Edwards, Class of 1950 - former Governor of South Carolina, Secretary of Energy under President Ronald Reagan and was president of the Medical University of South Carolina from 1983 to 1999.
  • John Charles Frémont (1813”“1890), Class of 1836 - Known as the Great Pathfinder, Fremont explored the West in the 1830s and 1840s. In 1856, Fremont, an outspoken opponent of slavery, was the first Republican nominee for president. During the Civil War, he served as a major general for the Union, and in 1861, issued a proclamation (overturned by President Lincoln) freeing slaves. He later served as governor of Arizona.
  • Burnet R. Maybank (1899”“1954), Class of 1919 - Maybank served as Mayor of Charleston, became governor of the state and served in the national legislature during the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Maybank chaired the Senate Finance Committee and played a key role in the development of the New Deal. Maybank Hall, one of the main academic buildings on campus, bears his name.
  • Glenn McConnell, Class of 1969 - McConnell has been an influential force in South Carolina politics for more than two decades. Elected to public office in 1981, he has served as the president pro tempore of the South Carolina Senate since 2001. The McConnell Residence Hall dormitory was named after him.
  • Arthur Ravenel, Class of 1950 - member of the South Carolina House of Representatives from 1953 to 1958, a South Carolina senator from 1980 to 1986, and was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1986. In 1996, he returned to the South Carolina Senate, serving until 2005. In 2006, at the age of 79, he was elected to the Charleston School Board. The bridge connecting Charleston to Mt. Pleasant bears his name.
  • Nick Shalosky, Class of 2010 - The first openly gay elected official in the state of South Carolina. From Conway, SC, he currently serves the downtown area of Charleston on the District 20 Constituent School Board.
  • Ludwig Lewisohn (1882”“1955), Class of 1901 - Lewisohn was a novelist, a translator and a distinguished literary and drama critic. He was also one of the founding professors of Brandeis University.
  • Padgett Powell, Class of 1974 - Powell is an award-winning writer and novelist. He has published four novels, including Edisto and Mrs. Hollingsworth’s Men.
Other notable alumni
  • Frank Blair (1916”“1995), Class of 1934 - Blair was an early cast member of NBC’s The Today Show, serving as a newsman and anchor from 1953 to 1974.
  • George Rogers (1922”“1997), Class of 1943 - considered one of the preeminent historians of South Carolina.

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