Governor Jim Hodges addresses the Corps of Cadets
Regimental Commander Wilson, Corps of Cadets, General and Mrs. Grinalds, members of the Board of Visitors, Mayor Riley, and other guests. Let me begin by, saying I was grateful for, and impressed by the more than 100 cadets who participated in my inaugural activities.
Congratulations are in order to the Class of 2002. You have almost made it through a tough fourthclass system, an achievement for which you can be justifiably proud. Congratulations, also, to the Class of 1999. I have long noted The Citadel network, which is evidence of the respect and admiration among Citadel graduates. Even today, when I have dinner with Citadel graduates, they give "mess facts" before eating. You now wear The Citadel ring, a ring that is recognized the world over as a symbol of integrity and excellence.
A reward is in order, and rank has its privileges. I understand that General Grinalds has recently granted amnesty, so I am today asking that he grant an additional long weekend to every cadet. I do this because of the pride I have in the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, and my relationship with you as governor of South Carolina.
The Citadel is stronger than ever. I am proud to see that there are over 1500 applicants for fall enrollment. These numbers are a testament to a growing desire among young people for a Citadel education. I am certainly impressed by the SAT scores of these applicants. If this keeps up, MIT will replace West Point as "The Citadel of the North."
Colin Powell, in his book, My American Journey, once said, "Perpetual Optimism is a Force Multiplier." I want to tell you that wherever I go in South Carolina, people are optimistic about the work now being done to improve education in our great state. And this optimism is indeed a force multiplier—public support for education has played a key role in getting such initiatives as First Steps to School Readiness and the Education Lottery through the legislature.
Today, I wish to talk to you about my vision for higher education in South Carolina. This vision embraces three core principles you have learned so well at The Citadel—the principles of duty, honor, and country.
My vision for higher education will focus on duties of our colleges and universities, honor the virtues of a liberal arts education, and oblige state government to commit greater resources to higher education.
Duty to adapt to changing needs.
First, our colleges and universities have a duty to adapt to changing needs of the 21st century workplace. When I was in college, I worked summers in the Springs Mills in Lancaster to save money for tuition. I worked in the Card Room, where the raw cotton is processed into fiber so it can be woven into cloth.
Well, these gigantic card machines were inscribed with a plaque that stated they were made in 1900. That was so long ago, The Citadel wasn't even located here, it was at the old arsenal on Marion Square and billeted only 325 cadets. Those machines in the Card Room hadn't been changed in more than seventy years. Clearly that isn't the case today. Computers, software, and the tools of modem business change year by year, even month by month.
During the next decade, professional specialty occupations will increase the fastest. It is projected that these occupations, along with the service industry, will account for one-half the growth in the next ten years. Consequently, the best jobs require very specific skills. For example, a recent listing of the best job opportunities included Internet webmaster, actuary, and computer engineers and programmers. These positions and others require that we become lifelong learners. Educational institutions must respond to these needs.
Because of the impact of changing technology upon a competitive workplace, the opportunities for continuing education must be flexible and accessible. It is clear that both the delivery and methodology of learning will be much different in the 21st century. That is why I am proud of the work being done by the Commission on Higher Education and the S.C. Partnership for Distance Education to marry new technology with innovative teaching methods.
With distance learning, students at any college or university would have access to the best faculty in the state, allowing them to share knowledge with students in the same discipline on many different campuses. One example of distance learning that has been a model for the state, is the Master of Library and Information Science at the University of South Carolina. The MLIS program provides access to graduate students across South Carolina, as well as students from Georgia, West Virginia, and Maine. More than two-thirds of the course work is offered electronically via Internet links and satellite communications. The Library Science program won a commendation of excellence from the Commission on Higher Education.
With distance learning, I'm sure The Citadel could teach a thing or two to the other schools in our state. Of course, there will always be a need for good high-level administrators. The good news is that there will always be room at the top for those who are well prepared. Students must chart a path and pursue excellence. Higher education institutions must be relevant and open to change.
DUTY TO SHARE KNOWLEDGE
Colleges and universities also have a duty to share their knowledge with the larger community.
Under the Greek model of education, the university was for the elite. In many ways, schools are still bound by this concept. Today's reality is quite different, however.
The transition from high schools to college must be seamless, and government should help facilitate this change in attitude. There is too much talent on college campuses not to share it with the community. Schools cannot be aloof, but must be an integral part of the community. We must come to school to learn a skill, and to refresh our skills throughout our life. Colleges and universities can promote community involvement with strong continuing education programs and encouraging student volunteerism. Your experiences must not stop at Lesesne Gate, but you must use your talents in the community.
Citadel cadets continue to show a commitment to community service. During the past few months, you have delivered food for East Cooper Meals on Wheels, served as escorts at the American Diabetes Association banquet, and scoured the streets of Charleston in the Clean Sweep competition.
Honor the liberal arts.
While our colleges and universities have a duty to adapt to changing needs, we must not forget to honor the rich heritage of a liberal arts education. It is not merely the duty of a university to provide job skills—a university must prepare its students to be thoughtful citizens of the wider world. The liberal arts ennoble and enrich our lives. They allow students to look beyond the narrow confines of single discipline and draw connections from many disparate sources, gaining new insight into a particular problem or challenge that faces our society. And for those that argue that a liberal arts degree is not financially rewarding, I'd like to point out that at my alma mater, the University of South Carolina, the five wealthiest alumni—and the five largest contributors to the university—all hold liberal arts degrees. They include political science major Darla Moore who gave $25 million to the School of Business, and Robert C. McNair of Houston, a psychology student who recently contributed $20 million to endow scholarships at USC.
Our colleges and universities must be committed to educating the whole person. Nowhere is this commitment clearer than at The Citadel. The Citadel upholds a unique tradition in South Carolina—the tradition of a comprehensive military education. A Citadel education does not merely prepare you for material success or an entry-level job, it prepares you as a citizen-soldier, someone who remains vigilant in peacetime and prepared in case of war. As your own school catalog points out, The Citadel strives to produce graduates who have insight into issues, ideas and values that are of importance to society, producing graduates capable of both critical and creative thinking. I believe The Citadel has succeeded in that mission, and your success is worthy of emulation.
State support of higher education.
State government must also do its share, providing sufficient funding so that schools have the tools and infrastructure to succeed. This week, the House of Representatives passed my Education Lottery initiative, which will be voted on in the 2000 election. I have stated from the outset that lottery proceeds should be constitutionally committed to improving public education, and the amendment passed by the House and the Senate does just that. I want to devote a portion of lottery proceeds toward enhancing merit-based college scholarships for worthy high school students, and create need-based scholarships for deserving students.
Currently, South Carolina has the second-highest college tuition in the Southeast. That is unacceptable. Education is the great leveler of our democracy, because it is the one thing in life that can never be taken from you. When high tuition makes higher education inaccessible, then the perpetuation of our democracy is threatened. That is why I am committed to provide resources that will stem the tide of rising tuition, and bring South Carolina's tuition rates back into line with the Southeastern average. I also want to devote resources to capital improvements at our state's colleges and universities.
There is a well-known story about a previous Citadel President, General Summerall, who came to the General Assembly to request a new boiler. When senators questioned the need, General Summer felt his integrity was being questioned and notified the Senate that "My resignation will be immediately forthcoming."
Before General Grinalds makes such a trip to Columbia, let me assure you that I support The Citadel's request for $772,500 for the continued assimilation of women, along with the request for funds to replace Padgett Thomas barracks.
Once you leave these gates, there are two titles you will carry for the rest of your lives. First, you will be known as a Citadel Man or Citadel Woman. Second, you'll be called a taxpayer. The state has an obligation to ensure that your tax dollars are spent wisely. While I believe education is the best investment a state can make in our future, we must still provide for accountability in our funding of higher education.
In conclusion, I believe that true leadership is a combination of insight and initiative. Leaders must gain new insight into the challenges we face, and take bold action to implement real solutions that benefit our state and nation. Both insight and initiative are cultivated by education. The fourthclass system has taught them to you at The Citadel. It is your duty to share them with the wider world. Always remember to honor the virtues of a liberal arts education. Know that your state has pledged to support education. Now, more than ever, your state, your country, and your world need your leadership. Make us proud, and continue to uphold The Citadel tradition of leadership and excellence.