The College of Charleston, a public 4-year school in Charleston, SC, was founded in 1771 by Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton and Thomas Heyward (future Declaration of Independence signers) and John Rutledge, Charles Pinckney and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney (future US Constitution signers). It is the oldest college in South Carolina and the oldest municipal college in the United States. The campus is set on 52 acres in downtown Charleston and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The picturesque campus has been used as the setting for many movies and television shows. Among the many notable alumni are actors Orlando Jones and Matt Czuchry.
The College of Charleston is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges and offers Bachelor’s Degrees, post-baccalaureate Certificates, Master’s Degrees and post-masters Certificates in over 55 majors. Noted for Music, Theatre and Teacher Education, the largest programs are in Business and Biology/Bio-Medical fields. The college is comprised of seven schools: School of the Arts; School of Business; School of Education, Health and Human Performance; School of Humanities and Social Sciences; School of Languages, Cultures and World Affairs; School of Professional Studies and School of Sciences and Mathematics. Per the Mission statement, the College of Charleston provides “a high-quality education in the arts and sciences, education and business… Consistent with its heritage since its founding in 1770, the College retains a strong liberal arts undergraduate curriculum… As a prominent component of the state’s higher education system, the College encourages and supports research… The College provides students a community in which to engage in original inquiry and creative expression in an atmosphere of intellectual freedom. This community, founded on the principles of the liberal arts tradition, provides students the opportunity to realize their intellectual and personal potential and to become responsible, productive members of society.
There are over 10,000 undergraduate students enrolled in College of Charleston, many of whom reside in one of the eleven residence halls or Greek housing. The school sponsors over 200 clubs and student organizations including club sports and intramurals. For the varsity athlete, the maroon and white Cougars, led by Clyde the Cougar, field teams in 13 sports and participate in NCAA Division I-AAA competition. Among the campus traditions is the “Rite of Passage” where Students pass through the arch at Porters Lodge on their first day and enter the Cistern Yard to officially sign “the book.” Inscribed in Greek on the arch are the words “Know Thyself.” Upon graduation, students exit the Cistern yard by passing underneath the same arch and out into the world. Students are exposed to the Core Values of the school: Integrity (Adherence to the highest ethical standards); Academic Excellence (Commitment to high academic standards and strong academic programs); Liberal Arts Education (Encouraging intellectual curiosity and fostering each student’s ability to think creatively and analyze, synthesize, apply and communicate knowledge from many sources); Respect for the Individual Student; Diversity; Community and Public Mission (Commitment to our social responsibilities of South Carolina and our community).