History of the Charleston Fellows Program

 Dean Trisha Folds-Bennett poses with a group of Fellows

2008 - The William Aiken Fellows Society is established by then-Honors College Dean John Newell and Associate Dean Trisha Folds-Bennett, with an inaugural group of 45 Honors students joining the program. The program is named after the William Aiken House, the building on campus in which the Honors Center resides.

2010 - In February, the Honors College hosts what will turn out to be the program’s very first Interview Weekend.

2010 - In May the very first cohort of 14 Fellows graduates!

2012 - John Newell retires; Trisha Folds-Bennett becomes Dean of the Honors College and takes charge of Aiken Fellows Society, strengthening the group through an expansion of scholarship support and enhanced programming.

2012 - The International Scholars Program is launched as a joint venture between the Honors College and the School of Languages, Cultures, and World Affairs. All international scholars are granted membership within the Aiken Fellows Society.

2015 - Our inaugural Giving Thanks Reception is held in the Hill Gallery of the Cato Center.

2018 - 31 Fellows graduate from the program, the largest cohort ever.

2020 - A group comprised of students, faculty, staff, and alumni conduct a semester-long strategic planning initiative aimed at charting the future of our merit scholarship program.

2020 - Dean Trisha Folds-Bennett departs CofC to become Provost at UVA-Wise; Dr. Beth Meyer-Bernstein takes over as Honors College Dean and inherits stewardship of the Aiken Fellows Society.

2020 - Following a yearlong review process, the decision is made to rename the Aiken Fellows Society as the Charleston Fellows Program. This new name dissociates the program from William Aiken, whose house served as our original namesake but whose legacy as the owner of enslaved people is incongruous with our values.