May is the month for celebrating scholars who’ve worked hard for years to achieve their life’s goals. Sadly, the COVID-19 virus has stifled traditional festivities, launching schools and universities into the virtual world. On May 9, more than 1,000 Citadel graduates took part in two virtual commencement services.
The Citadel dates back to the 1800s when the college played a key role in the Civil War. State arsenals in Charleston and Columbia became military schools that made up the South Carolina Military Academy. The Arsenal Academy in Columbia was burned during General Sherman’s March to the Sea. The Charleston location reopened after the war. In 1910 it was renamed The Citadel.
Originally located on Marion Square in downtown, the school moved to the banks of the Ashley River in 1922.
The Citadel was an all-male Corps of Cadets until 1995 when Shannon Faulkner won a court battle allowing her to enroll. She dropped out in the first week.
In 2018 Sarah Zorn was appointed Regimental Commander. She is the first female to lead the entire South Carolina Corps of Cadets.
The majority of buildings on campus have been renovated and many academic courses have been added to meet the demands for degrees in new fields. Evening classes are offered for professionals. The Citadel has twenty-five graduate degree programs.
Citadel cadets and alumni have served in every United States military action from the Mexican War to the current War on Terrorism. The Class of 1944 is known as The Class That Never Was because of their service in World War II.
Today, as in the past, The Citadel is an institution set on preserving tradition and remains an essential landmark in Charleston.