Archive for May, 2010

Gen. Rosa’s letter to alums – May 2010

May 6, 2010

The Citadel’s Board of Visitors recently met and I would like to provide you the highlights.

 The BOV received an update on progress made toward achieving the objectives laid out in the Blueprint, The Citadel’s strategic plan. Of special note were steps that have been taken to enhance the college’s leadership experience.   A redesigned minor in leadership has been established that includes course work to include the theory of leadership and its application and culminates in a senior seminar/paper.  A new sophomore leadership seminar will focus on the transition from Knob year to Third Class year and the particular leadership challenges sophomores face.  And  in The Citadel Graduate College a new Leadership Certificate curriculum has been approved.  These are important steps but the challenge remains to ensure cadets pursue avenues to develop their leadership potential. This fall all freshmen will begin developing individualized e-Leadership portfolios, an electronic means of tracking progress toward leadership development.

Academically, our cadets continue to perform well. The grade point averages have been consistently high over recent years. Freshmen in particular have shown progress, increasing from 2.57 in 2003-04 to 2.77 in 2008-09. Since 2004-05, the percentage of fourth class students on the Dean’s and President’s Lists has grown from 38 percent to 53 percent. I am particularly proud to report our latest four-year graduation rate is 67 percent, up from 59 percent. And our six-year rate, the one reported most often by other colleges, is 75.5 percent.

While the graduation rate is moving in the right direction, we continue to explore ways to ensure it continues to do so. Our College Success Institute is a four-week summer program that gives students a chance to take two courses and become acclimated to life in the Corps of Cadets. The retention rate (from fall of freshman year to fall of sophomore year) for students who participate in CSI is more than 90 percent. The BOV approved a standardized cost for CSI, which will now be $2,450 for both in-state and out-of-state students. The program has been redesigned to include more team building and recreational activities to render the program a more compelling option for incoming students. Should you know any incoming students, I urge you to suggest they consider CSI. More information can be found at http://www.alumniconnections.com/links/link.cgi?l=1289406&h=60763&e=CDL-20100504122217.

Our fall sports had a very successful season. Athletics Director Larry Leckonby reported our Indoor Track and Field team had four Southern Conference champions. Two members of the Wrestling team were SoCon champs and qualified for the national championships. The Citadel Pistol Club had five All-Americans, and the team was ranked in the top 25. While the football team had a tough season, three-time All-American wide receiver Andre Roberts was selected by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the NFL draft, the 15th Bulldog to be drafted by an NFL team. He will join Citadel graduate Nehemiah Broughton who was drafted in 2005 by the Washington Redskins and now plays for the Cardinals.

On our Basketball team Cameron Wells was named to the SoCon First Team, and Harrison Dupont was named to the SoCon All-Freshmen team. Many of you no doubt have heard that our Basketball coach, Ed Conroy, will take over the Tulane University team. Ed has been a fine coach for our cadet-athletes. We wish him the very best.

I am very happy to report that Chuck Driesell will be The Citadel’s next head basketball coach. The last four years he served as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland, and brings 20 years of successful collegiate coaching experience to The Citadel. Chuck is known as an effective recruiter and at the press conference announcing his selection, he promised an aggressive defense and fast-moving offense.

The BOV received a report on summer construction projects. Capers Hall will undergo a renovation of its heating and air conditioning on all four floors. The $1.3 million project will be paid for from federal Stimulus funds. Capers Hall is nearly 60 years old and its replacement is the number one facility priority for the college. In the mean time, however, we cannot subject faculty, staff and students to the unacceptable working and learning conditions resulting from unreliable heating and cooling systems. Some of the new equipment to be installed can be re-used when, eventually, Capers is replaced.

Renovations to Daniel Library will total $1.6 million and are being paid for entirely from private gifts. The funds will be used to improve handicapped access, upgrade HVAC and lighting, and create a more inviting and useful entrance and circulation desk.

During the Finance Committee the BOV received a report on the state budget. The news is not good. We anticipate the state appropriation for FY11, which includes the 2010-11 school year, will be $8.8 million, a 45 percent reduction in just two years. According to the Center for the Study of Education Policy at Illinois State University, over the last 10 years South Carolina ranks 50th in the nation for higher education support per capita.

Over the last two years these cuts have forced us to trim costs by making a number of painful decisions. We have reduced operating budgets, and left 71 positions, 12 percent of our work force, vacant. We have cut the adjunct professor budgets and increased class sizes and the student/faculty ratio. But as I have said before, we cannot simply cut our way out of these fiscal challenges.

Last December, I formed an advisory group to review the college’s fiscal situation: MG Cliff Poole and BG Harry Carter provided campus-based experience while Charlie Coe, at the time Chairman of TCF’s Board of Directors and a former executive with AT&T, and John Clarke, who made a career of turning around companies and who served on the board of the University of Pennsylvania, offered private sector perspective. The group concluded that if no changes are made the college will face great difficulty raising sufficient revenue to cover operating costs and will be unable to grow in a manner that will guarantee the excellence we associate with The Citadel.

Based on feedback from the advisory group, my senior team and I put together a plan for the fiscal security of The Citadel. We must reorganize the college’s leadership structure to emphasize fund raising and fiscal control. Additionally, the college must maximize all potential revenue from campus enterprises and be prepared to raise tuition. While the Corps is about as big as it can get, we see tremendous potential to grow the Citadel Graduate College, which will generate significant revenue for The Citadel and enhance our reputation in the Lowcountry, from which virtually all of our CGC students are drawn. Our goal is to increase CGC enrollment by 25 percent, and already we have made strong gains. Last fall, enrollment was up eight percent, and this spring the CGC grew another nine percent.

Of particular importance, we must establish a new partnership with The Citadel Foundation to provide the college with sufficient resources to achieve its mission. The BOV unanimously approved a resolution supporting taking the necessary steps to secure the college’s future. At a meeting held on 24 April The Citadel Foundation’s Board of Directors approved the exploration of the best means for TCF to increase its support of the college and play a more active role in its operation. I deeply appreciate the vote of confidence in our efforts that these actions by the BOV and TCF board represent.

There is much work ahead of us in the next few years. I want to thank you for all your help and support and hope we can continue to rely on our alumni as we face the challenges ahead of us. Together, we can build a bright future for The Citadel.

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