The College Reveals its new Historic Marker on CofC Day

Students, teachers, faculty and alumni flooded George St on Thursday to celebrate a moment of history for not only the College of Charleston, but also for the state of South Carolina. As President Andrew T. Hsu thanked his audience for their presence at the 250th Anniversary of the College’s founding, the rumble of applause brought a grin to his face. Framed by Porter’s Lodge and the Cistern Yard, a large black sheet shrouded the reason for this gathering: a South Carolina State Historic Marker for the College of Charleston. 

The creation of such a historical marker was made possible by the College of Charleston’s 250th Anniversary Historical Documentation Committee. Committee members and students Keyasia Pride and Grayson Harris joined President Hsu in revealing the marker Thursday afternoon. The committee also included English professor Julia Eichelberger, Executive Director of Communications Ron Menchaca, and scholar-in-residence Harlan Green, also present at the ceremony. This committee conducted extensive research, and also worked closely with state and city officials to compose the language of the marker while selecting its ideal location on campus. 

One side of the marker highlights important campus buildings which are also on the National Register of Historic Places like Randolph Hall, Porter’s Lodge and Towell Library. The other side mentions important dates within College of Charleston history, including its founding in 1770, chartering in 1785, transition from private to municipal college in 1837, and the establishment of the College’s first graduate program in 1972. Such important dates promise a rich history of the College – one which is in fact layered. In the words of President Hsu, this marker “accurately tells a full report of the College of Charleston,” particularly the College’s complicated past regarding integration. The College returned to its status as a private institution to avoid racial integration, and did not completely integrate until 1967. Women were not enrolled in the College until 1918. 

Photo by Sophia Barham

These are heavy memories weaved into the history of the College; and yet, in its 250th year, the College has decided to acknowledge its history and learn from the past. President Hsu, a beloved figure by the student body, is making history in recognizing the importance of this fact. “I am proud of this marker because it not only celebrated our great history and our achievement but it also does not hide our faults of our past. It directly confronts them, while still celebrating some of our key milestones,” President Hsu expressed in his speech on Thursday. “This marker represents the beginning of a much larger effort at the College to directly express who we are, who we once were, and who we are today, and who we want to be in the future.”

The unveiling of this marker represents one step of many being made by the College in its 250th year – movements initiated with President Hsu at the helm. In addition to this marker, President Hsu called attention to the conduction of other research projects and initiatives on campus with the primary goal of delving deeper into the College’s past.

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