College of Charleston

The College of Charleston (also known as CofC, The College, or Charleston) is a public liberal arts college in Charleston, South Carolina. Founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785,[3] it is the oldest college in South Carolina, the 13th oldest institution of higher learning[4] in the United States, and the oldest municipal college in the country.[5] The founders of the college include three future signers[6] of the Declaration of Independence (Edward Rutledge, Arthur Middleton, and Thomas Heyward) and three future signers[6] of the United States Constitution (John Rutledge, Charles Pinckney, and Charles Cotesworth Pinckney). Founded to "encourage and institute youth in the several branches of liberal education," it is one of the oldest universities[4] in the United States.

College of Charleston Complex:Randolph Hall, Towell Library and Porters Lodge
LocationGlebe, George, St. Philip and Green streets, Charleston, South Carolina
Area4 acres (1.6 ha)[7]
ArchitectEdward B. White; George E. Walker; Et al.
Architectural styleEarly Republic, Other
NRHP reference #71000748
Significant dates
Added to NRHPNovember 11, 1971[8]
Designated NHLNovember 11, 1971[9]
College of Charleston
MottoSapientia Ipsa Libertas
Ædes Mores Juraque Curat
Motto in English
"Wisdom itself is liberty."
"She Cares For Her Temples, Customs and Rights."
TypePublic liberal arts college
Space grant
Sea grant
Endowment$90.03 million[1]
PresidentAndrew T. Hsu
Administrative staff
Location, ,
Campus52 acres (21 ha)
ColorsMaroon and white
AthleticsNCAA Division ICAA


The College of Charleston consists of seven academic schools, as well as the Honors College and the Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C.

  • The School of the Arts
  • The School of Business
  • The School of Education, Health, and Human Performance
  • The School of Humanities and Social Sciences
  • The School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs
  • The School of Professional Studies
  • The School of Sciences and Mathematics
  • The Honors College
  • The Graduate School of the University of Charleston, S.C.


The college's 19 varsity sports teams participate in the NCAA Division I Colonial Athletic Association and are known as the Cougars. The Cougars compete at a variety of athletics facilities in the Charleston area, including the TD Arena (formerly the Carolina First Arena),[10] the J. Stewart Walker Sailing Complex, Johnson Center Squash Courts, Patriots Point Athletic Complex 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 nickname 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.[11]


The College of Charleston's main campus in downtown Charleston includes 11 residence halls, 19 historic homes, five fraternity houses and nine sorority houses. It contains a mix of modern and historic buildings.

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 881-acre (357 ha) Stono Preserve (formerly Dixie Plantation)[12] on the Stono River.

The College of Charleston downtown 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.

The College of Charleston has been noted for its beautiful campus. In 2014, it was ranked as one of the top 10 best landscaped colleges on the east coast.[13] In 2017, Travel + Leisure magazine named the College "America's Most Beautiful College Campus." [14]

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, Dear John, and Mandie. The most popular scene location is Randolph Hall. In 2008, productions shooting on campus included the television show Army Wives and the 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'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 hosted by the College of Charleston and its Department of Communication and welcomes presidential candidates from the two major political parties to the 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 included Senator John McCain, Congressman Ron Paul, President Barack Obama and Senator John Edwards. Sponsored by the Allstate Insurance Company in 2007–08, the series has drawn over 6,000 attendees and received national and international media coverage.[15] Major candidates appearing in the 2015-16 series included Senator Lindsey Graham and former Maryland governor Martin O'Malley. The College has also hosted a number of Democratic presidential candidates in the run-up to the 2020 election: Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Representative Beto O'Rourke, Secretary Julian Castro, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Senator Bernie Sanders and Representative Tulsi Gabbard. [16]

In August 2017, the College hosted NASA for its live coverage of the solar eclipse.

Student life

Student media

Student media has actively consolidated to a single network under the name CisternYard Media. Under this umbrella is a student-run newspaper called CisternYard News which is online with a quarterly print insert called The Yard. There is also a student-run radio station called Cistern Yard Radio. CisternYard Video and a literary organization called Miscellany are also included under the CisternYard Media umbrella. 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 ten active IFC fraternities, ten active panhellenic sororities, and seven 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.[17]

Notable people


  1. "Investments" (PDF). College of Charleston. Retrieved 21 February 2018.
  3. "A Brief History of the College - College of Charleston". Retrieved 2017-08-16.
  4. Colonial Colleges
  5. Municipal college; Easterby, J.H. (1935)"Appendix I: Charters and Other Documents in A History of the College of Charleston, pp. 252. USA: The Scribner Press
  6. Library of Congress
  7. Staff, National Survey of Historic Sites and Buildings (August 1971). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination: College of Charleston Complex: Main Building, Library and Gate Lodge" (PDF). National Park Service. Retrieved 2009-06-22. Cite journal requires |journal= (help) and Accompanying four photos, exterior and interior, from 1970 (1.43 MB)
  8. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  9. "College of Charleston". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on 2007-10-23. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
  10. Whetzel, Melissa (2011-08-23). "College, TD Bank Sign Naming Agreement for Arena - College of Charleston News : College of Charleston News". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2014-08-15.
  11. "College of Charleston To Join Colonial Athletic Association, 11/30/2012". Archived from the original on 2013-12-03. Retrieved 2013-01-14.
  12., Robert Behre. "Nixing Dixie: College of Charleston renames its plantation 'Stono Preserve'". Post and Courier. Retrieved 2019-10-25.
  13. Farley, Ryan. "The Top 10 Best Landscaped Colleges – East Coast". Retrieved 9 October 2014.
  14. The Bully Pulpit Series at the College of Charleston Archived 2008-12-04 at the Wayback Machine
  15. The Bully Pulpit Series at the College of Charleston
  16. Archived August 29, 2009, at the Wayback Machine

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