The Class of 2024 reported to campus on Saturday, August 8. From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the new freshmen joined more than 600 cadets who were already on campus for a phased schedule that began athletic training and preparations to train the new class.
The Matriculation Day process, which is usually completed in about two hours, was stretched to 12 this year to ensure social distancing and to limit the number of people on campus.
“We’ve been working on this and preparing for this day for months,” said retired U.S. Air Force Col. John Dorrian, ’90, vice president for Communications and Marketing. “The final pieces have been put in place to make sure that we can have everybody back and protect everyone’s health and safety.”
Members of the Class of 2024 arrived on campus, said their goodbyes to their family and had their temperatures checked before they began processing.
After an initial stop in the barracks where they received their room assignments and physical training uniforms, the cadet-recruits traveled in small groups to Mark Clark Hall, where they got haircuts and mailbox keys. Afterward they visited the cadet store.
Throughout the process, the cadet-recruits began to receive their military instruction from cadre, the group of upperclassmen tasked with their training. Issued through masks that are now part of the official uniform, there was at least one new cadre command—“Keep six feet apart.”
The next step in the schedule was Challenge Week, when cadets were introduced to the fourth-class system and received rapid military training—learning how to wear their uniforms, drill, and clean their rooms and barracks.
“When you’re a member of the Corps of Cadets, you develop camaraderie with your classmates that’s unlike anything you’d see any other institution,” said Dorrian. “You go through hard times together, you overcome challenges together, you learn teamwork together, and those profound impacts will follow you the rest of your life.
The remainder of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets returned to campus August 16.