Honoring trailblazers

Seven graduates of the Class of 2002 returned to the college in February for a Friday afternoon dress parade honoring their contribution to Citadel history 20 years ago, when they became the first Black female cadet graduates. At the time of their graduation in 2002, U.S. Army Maj. Adrienne Watson Crosby, Toshika Hudson-Cannon, Dr. Renee E. Hypolite, Natosha Mitchell Johnson, Genieve Marshall, Jamey McCloud and Lesjanusar Peterson were known as the “magnificent seven.”

“They created the history for me to be able to create history,” said Samantha Walton, ’22, who served as the 2022 regimental cadet public affairs officer. “It just feels amazing to be able to know that because of them, I’m able to do something inspiring for other women here.”

New cadet club aims to establish parachute competition team

When they jump from a plane at 14,000 feet, they plunge through the air for about 60 seconds. They fall at a rate of about 17 miles an hour, and when their feet touch the ground, they hit hard, usually at about 13 miles per hour.

To do that solo takes coordination, precision, training and planning. And it is all part of the thrill of parachute jumping, according to Cadet Tyler Miller. The senior cadet helped lead the formation of The Citadel Skydiving Club during the 2021-2022 academic year. The club has about 70 members and is now actively raising funds to help underwrite this impressive yet expensive activity.

“I like jumping out of airplanes, and I wanted to create something exciting for cadets to participate in that wasn’t the norm,” said Miller.

The goals of the club are to help members work toward U.S. Parachute Association licenses if they wish and eventually to create a competition team. “Some of us have jumped before,” said Miller. “Some of us may jump if we are going into the military. I think as we become more and more proficient, we might be able to have a competition team.”

Three institutions awarded $1.12M in grants for teacher education Centers of Excellence

The Citadel was one of three in-state institutions awarded a grant by the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education for centers of excellence that develop best practices in teaching-related areas.

Each institution’s center specializes in a critical area for teachers’ effective service to the educational needs of South Carolina. The Citadel was awarded $130,000 for specializing in STEM and Literacy.

“As our state seeks to overcome a historic teacher shortage, these programs will provide support to key areas identified by the receiving institutions,” said Dr. Mariam W. Dittmann, director of the CHE’s Office of Academic Affairs and Licensing. “We are excited to see these centers implement concepts that address our teacher shortage head-on.”

The 2021-2022 grants called for proposals to focus on collaboration with rural school districts or low performing schools.

Citadel professor named 2022 Engineer of the Year

At the annual March engineering banquet in honor of National Engineers Week at The Citadel, Citadel Engineering Professor Gafar Elamin was named the Charleston Engineers Joint Council Engineer of the Year.

Elamin is an assistant professor of mechanical engineering whose numerous educational and community accomplishments have served to distinguish him among his peers. Whether serving students as an advisor and teacher, motivating youth as an insightful mentor, or cultivating his mechanical engineering talents to lead cutting-edge research, Elamin has demonstrated a lifetime of exceptional service to STEM education in his local community and beyond.

English professor’s book continues legacy of graduate and best-selling author

Michael Livingston’s love for the work of author Robert Jordan began 30 years ago. Today, The Citadel English professor’s newly released book, Origins of The Wheel of Time: The Legends and Mythologies That Inspired Robert Jordan, pays homage to Jordan and his wife, Harriet McDougal Rigney.

Jordan is the penname for James Rigney Jr., who graduated from The Citadel in 1974 as a veteran student and physics major. Best known for his internationally best-selling Wheel of Time series, Jordan passed away in 2007.

McDougal Rigney, who was also Jordan’s editor, provided the foreword to Origins and gave Livingston access to notes and early drafts that had never before been shared. According to Livingston, the world that he and many other readers have come to love would not have existed without McDougal Rigney, and neither would his newest book. As an expression of gratitude, Livingston included the symbol of the Wheel of Time, the interwoven snake and wheel, on the cover of the book. In a 2013 interview, McDougal Rigney said she always regretted not including the symbol in The Wheel of Time books, which has recently been adapted as an epic fantasy television series by Amazon Prime.

Origins will be welcomed by Jordan’s fans all over the world, but the number one audience in my mind was Harriet. It was essential to me that I do justice to her husband’s legacy while acknowledging her vital role in its making—not just as his wife, but as his editor, as well,” said Livingston. “Teaching at The Citadel, striding the halls he walked, I feel his presence today.… I don’t believe in ghosts, but I do think it made a difference to write this book in a world that he loved so dearly.”

Vertical flying vehicle airfield project earns $10,000 award

Imagine car-sized drones that lift off vertically rather than needing a runway for takeoff and landing. These eVTOLs—electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles—are being developed around the world for both passenger and cargo use. As the new air transportation field emerges, so does the need for new aircraft infrastructure called a “vertiport.” That’s where senior engineering majors have stepped in to help.

As part of a senior capstone project titled Designing Advanced Air Mobility Infrastructure, nine teams of senior engineering cadets took part in a yearlong South Carolina case study at the Rock Hill County Airport. After evaluating operational parameters and creating designs last fall, the cadet teams delivered final recommendations to the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission and an advisory panel of national experts last May.

“Project designs developed by The Citadel students turned out far better than I could have ever imagined and have helped advance the professional dialog in our state on this coming aviation innovation,” said Gary Seigfried of the South Carolina Aeronautics Commission.

The project earned a National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying Engineering Education Award, which comes with a cash prize of $10,000. It also captured the attention of U.S. Representative Nancy Mace, ’99, who visited campus for a student-led briefing.

The high-impact learning experience attracted the support of several organizations, including Heliplanners, Beta Technologies, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, South Carolina Aeronautics Commission, Rock Hill-York County Airport, Charleston International Airport Authority and Mead & Hunt Engineers.

“Students who completed this successful capstone project are now serving in the military, working as engineering professionals or headed to graduate degree programs,” said William J. Davis, Ph.D., PE, department head of civil, environmental and construction engineering. “Our graduates are exceptionally well prepared to contribute to planning, engineering and design of advanced air mobility infrastructure such as heliports, vertiports and high- density vertiplexes.”

The Aerospace Industries Association forecasts a $115 billion annual impact from the U.S. Advanced Air Mobility sector by 2035, adding 280,000 new jobs and $20 billion in exports by 2033.

The Class of 2022

More than 600 members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets and more than 500 students from The Citadel Graduate College accepted degrees during the commencement ceremonies on May 7.

The day before commencement, approximately 30% of the graduating cadets accepted commissions as officers in the U.S. armed services. Among those commissioned are the first two Citadel cadets to join the U.S. Space Force: Conor William Deans, space operations officer, and Jack O. Schwartz, developmental engineer.

Another significant accomplishment from the Class of 2022: two cadets tied for First Honor Graduate, Steven Jones and Ashley Ruiz, each completing the Gold Seal track of The Citadel Honors Program and graduating with a perfect 4.0 cumulative grade point average.

Ruiz, William Jenson and Martynas Tendzegolskis comprise the first group to graduate through The Citadel Distinguished Scholars Program, a rigorous academic initiative that develops the brightest and most ambitious cadets and students for success in top-tier graduate schools, prestigious fellowship programs and leadership roles in their future careers.

Ukrainian students awarded scholarships to attend The Citadel

The first day of classes at The Citadel is an important day for members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, but it was especially important to three Ukrainian cadet-recruits.

The Class of 2026 is the first to include cadet-recruits from Ukraine.

“As an independent nation, Ukraine is only 31 years old,” retired U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Glenn Walters, ’79, president of The Citadel. “When established, the nation had already had a long cultural history and identity, but we want to ensure it also has a long, politically independent history. We announced The

Citadel Support for Ukraine Scholarship for this exact reason—to help prepare the future leaders of Ukraine, either for the armed services or civilian life.”

Thanks to generous donations through The Citadel Foundation and The Citadel Alumni Association, the college is able to offer three scholarships to Ukrainian students to teach them how to lead and serve according to The Citadel’s unique leader development model.