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50th Anniversary

Celebrating 50 Years of Excellence


Thanks to archival work performed by Provost Brian McGee, we discovered that that our history as an honors program/college goes back further than our presumed founding in 1979. The Bulletin for the Academic Year 1967-1968 mentions an Honors Program founded in September 1967 as a “new course of study designed to attract superior students irrespective of their departmental majors and to guide them toward a fuller, more substantial liberal arts education.”

Many Honors 50th Anniversary events will coincide with 2016 Fall Alumni Weekend events. Be sure to check out their schedule as well as ours! 

50th Anniversary Events 

50th Anniversary Guest Speakers
  • September 19th 2016: Alumni Guest Lecturer: Steve Swanson '89 - Monday, 11:00-11:50 AM (Berry 104)
    • Steve’s experience at the College provided a solid foundation for his success after graduation.  He was a co-founder of Automated Trading Desk, a pioneering electronic trading firm based in South Carolina.  As President and CEO, he grew the business from pure proprietary trading to a fully automated market maker servicing the broker-dealer community.  After its acquisition by Citigroup in 2007, Steve became the global co-head of trading for equities.  Steve is currently the Inside Director for SnapCap, a web-based small business loan provider.
  • September 30th 2016: Alumni Guest Lecturer: Samantha Sammis '11 - Friday, 11:00-11:50 AM (Berry 104)
    • Samantha Sammis is the executive director of Loving America Street, a non-profit focused on asset based community development in the Eastside neighborhood of downtown Charleston. 
  • October 1st 2016:  Alumni Networking Social with the William Aiken Fellows Society Class of 2017
  • November 19th 2016: Honors College Alumni Social - Saturday, 2:00-4:00 PM (School of Science and Math Courtyard - 202 Calhoun Street) 
    • CofC Honors College alumni and their guests and families are invited to join us as we kick off the 50th anniversary of the Honors College! Enjoy a chili bar, apple cider, desserts, and lawn games as we connect with Honors alumni and meet members of the CofC Honors Class of 2017.
    • See more details here.  
  • February 2nd 2017: Alumni Guest Speaker: Alex Hennessey '11 - Thursday, 3:30-5:00 PM (Addlestone Library Room 227) 
    • Honors Alum Alex Hennessey will be giving a talk on "Aequanimitas: Being Human and Paving Your Unique Path Toward a Career in Medicine" preceding his recognition at the Honors College Interview Weekend.  
  • May 5th 2017: Alumni Weekend Honors College Happy Hour - Friday, 5:30-7:00 PM
    • Join CofC Honors College alumni, faculty, staff, and friends as we reconnect during Spring Alumni Weekend!
  • May 6th 2017: A Charleston Affair VIP Experience at President's House- Saturday, 6:30-10:00 PM
    • Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Honors College with fellow alumni, faculty, and staff. Enjoy a premium open bar, air conditioning, private bathrooms, and easy access to the rest of ACA, just up Glebe street. Honors College VIP guests may enter at 6 Glebe Street starting at 6:30 PM. Tickets will not be sold at the door. 
    • More details can be found here
  • Fall 2017 Alumni Awards Gala

How You Can Get Involved

  • Attend events
  • Mentor a current student or young alum
  • Speak at a lecture on campus
  • Host prospective students and/or alumni at an event in your area

Please contact Maria Richardson at or 843-953-7878 if you would like to participate!

1967-1968 College of Charleston Catalogue Excerpt 

The Honors Program

The Honors Program, instituted in September of 1967, is a new course of study designed to attract superior students irrespective of their departmental majors and to guide them toward a fuller, more substantial liberal arts education. The assumptions of the program are three: (1) The superior student has chosen the College of Charleston because it does provide a liberal arts education and so, no matter how narrow or practical his professional aims may be, he is interested basically in the life of the mind at large. (2) This student has sufficient curiosity to wish to explore the fundamental assumptions and problems in a field of study and to see all fields of study as creations, ideally speaking, of one mind in that mind’s attempt to lend order and value to the complex materials of its operations. (3) This student will shortly be mature enough to begin assuming responsibility for the sine qua non of any true education, independent and original work.

To implement these assumptions the Honors Program has given a particular focus to the regular four-year liberal arts program. The first two years are seen as the occasion not only for the acquisition of skills but also for the stimulation of broad and active intellectual curiosity. Consequently the freshman program will raise questions about the function of the mind, the nature of fact and value, the meaning of “meaning” and the general philosophical premises involved in the several humanities and sciences; the sophomore colloquium will focus on one broad topic, exploring it through major literary and philosophical documents. The junior year and the beginning of the senior year are seen as the occasion for intensive study in a major and a minor field of interest, with accumulation of fact, development of skill, and the testing of both through the beginning of independent study. The senior year is seen as the occasion for integration, correlation, and synthesis of knowledge gathered in the major and minor fields of study, to be evidenced through an independent project and comprehensive examination of a searching nature.

Successful completion of the Honors Program is indicated in the conferring of degrees and is publicly announced at graduation.


                The Honors Program is supervised by the faculty Committee on the Honors Program, which maintains consultation with the chairmen of the several departments, and is taught by members of the several departments spoken of collectively as the Honors Faculty.


            Application for admission to the Honors Program should be made to the Dean no later than August 1, 1967, for the coming academic year. A freshman applicant must present:

(1)    Evidence of exceptional work or of exceptional promise at the secondary school level.

(2)    CEEB scores which satisfy minimum standards set by the Committee, or completion of English 101 with the grade of A in summer school preceding entrance as a freshman.

(3)    A written petition setting forth his reasons for wishing to enter the program or his ideas on the nature of liberal education or of the liberally educated person. The petition should show evidence of clear thinking and competence in composition.

Students wishing to enter after the freshman year must present two faculty recommendations and the written petition. Transfer students must present two recommendations from the faculty of the college where they were most recently in residence and the written petition. No student is admitted after the beginning of his junior year.

Withdrawal from the Honors Program:

                For good reason a student may withdraw or be withdrawn from the Honors Program at any time through the end of the junior year with the approval of the Honors Faculty, the Committee on the Honors Program, and the Dean. During the senior year a candidate may withdraw or be withdrawn only for exceptional reason subject to the same approval.

Grading and Examination:

                For all work required in the Program of Study (except that of the junior year) the only term grades recorded are High Honors, Honors, and Pass, or Failure. See under Program of Study below for the Comprehensive Examination.

Program of Study:

                The first semester of Honors work shall be a probationary period; after the student may be allowed to proceed with the program, or he or the Honors Faculty may request a return to the regular program.

Freshman Year: The student takes four semester-courses which replace the following general degree requirements of the College: English 101, 102 and History 101, 102.

Sophomore Year: The student takes two semester-courses which replace the general degree requirements of English 201 and 202. 

Western Civ Call Out

                Junior Year: The student is urged to take one of the Junior Year Away programs. Those students remaining in residence will create one Independent Study project for three semester-hours credit; they are further urged to take one three-hour course in fine arts and one three-hour course in philosophy.

Senior Year: The student satisfies four requirements: (1) The Senior Seminar in his major field. (2) A Senior Seminar outside his major field. (3) The Senior Essay or Project (1-3 hour independent study). (4) The Comprehensive Examination.  

Senior Seminars Call Out

Comprehensive Examination Call Out