[image-1] The College of Charleston is gearing up to celebrate its 250th anniversary in 2020. The milestone brings a long list of events to reflect on its history and look ahead.

Counting three signers of the Declaration of Independence and three signers of the U.S. Constitution among its founders, the College’s founding in 1770 predates America’s independence, and coincides with the Holy City’s 350-year celebration set for next year.

“We will celebrate the past 250 years of our university’s accomplishments by focusing on retaining our best and strongest traditions while envisioning the transformation of our College in the next 250 years,” University President Andrew Hsu said in a press release.

“We plan to use this anniversary as a way to involve more alumni and community leaders in the important efforts that will define the College of Charleston’s future.”

Hsu, who took over as the 23rd president of the university in May, says a new strategic plan to be unveiled during the anniversary year focusing on raising the school’s national and international profile; creating more in-demand academic programs; elevating efforts to support, retain, and graduate more students; and continuing to diversify the campus community.

When it comes to the reflection of its past, Hsu says the big anniversary will also seek to acknowledge its full history. From the use of enslaved persons to build the campus’ landmark Randolph Hall building to the decision to briefly go private in 1949 to avoid racial integration, Hsu says the school’s history includes periods of “both great pride and great pain.”

The past, however, has given way to the understanding of the need for diversity and inclusion, the school claims. Over the course of a two-year planning period, anniversary project director Cande Cook says the school has established several committees consisting of faculty, staff, and students to generate and implement the anniversary events.
[embed-2] Anniversary celebrations began this fall at the College’s annual Alumni Awards Gala. On Dec. 17, the Empire State Building appeared lit in CofC maroon and white. (Fun fact, anyone can apply to have the Empire State Building lit in colors of their choice for zero dollars, assuming your occasion meets the long list of criteria.)

The school’s public launch will take place Jan. 30 2020, the date which officially marks 250 years since former Lt. Gov. William Bull recommended the establishment of a college in Charleston to the colony’s General Assembly.

For more information on events, merchandise and projects, visit the anniversary website at 250.cofc.edu.