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Citadel News Service

The Boo, and Pat Conroy Receive Honorary Degrees from Alma Mater

Pat Conroy and Lt. Col. Thomas Courvoisie--the Boo stand in front of PT Barracks.
The Citadel Board of Visitors awarded Citadel graduates, Thomas Nugent Courvoisie, also known as the Boo, and Donald Patrick Conroy, with honorary doctors of letters on Friday, October 20 at 3:45 as part of the retreat parade. Col. Leonard Fulghum presented the honorary degrees. Excerpts from their citations follow:

As the pages of the 1967 yearbook illustrate, then-senior Cadet Private Donald P. Conroy was a very active member of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. A Gold Star student, he was named to Whos Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges; he was vice chairman of the Honor Committee, a member of the Round Table, the Fine Arts Committee, and the English Club; he was on the staff of the colleges newspaper, The Brigadier, and the literary journal, The Shako; he played basketball and baseball and was the first recipient of the Senior Class Sportsmanship Award. He was also named Best Senior Private.

Pat Conroy was born in Atlanta, Georgia and was the first of seven children. When he was fifteen, his family moved to Beaufort, S.C.; it was the twenty-third move for the family, and the place Mr. Conroy would choose as his home. To date he has written six books and is working on his seventh, all set in South Carolina. Pat Conroy writes with a passion that he reserves for all things in which he truly believes, whisking his readers away through his lyrical prose to the shores of the Lowcountry.

Pat Conroy '67 and Col. Courvoisie '38 take the reviewing stand at parade.

After graduating from The Citadel with a degree in English, Mr. Conroy returned to Beaufort to teach. His account of teaching underprivileged children on Daufuskie Island in The Water is Wide won him a humanitarian award from the National Education Association. Among his other accomplishments, he was awarded the inaugural Stanley W. Lindberg Award for career literary achievement. In addition to being a best-selling writer, Pat Conroy is a dedicated alumnus as well as a champion for many causes.

Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Nugent Courvoisie, United States Army, retired, began his college career at The Citadel in the summer of 1934, but after only two short years at the military college, his education was interrupted by military service during World War II. After the war, Courvoisie returned to The Citadel as a veteran and received his bachelor of arts degree in history in 1952 while stationed in Georgetown, South Carolina, as an active duty instructor with the South Carolina National Guard.

In 1959, Courvoisie was assigned to his alma mater as an assistant professor of military science, a position he held for nearly three years. After his service in the military, where he served more than 20 years, Colonel Courvoisie was appointed assistant commandant in charge of disciplinary action at The Citadel. During his tenure as assistant commandant from 1961 until 1968, Colonel Courvoisie touched the lives of many cadets who entered Lesesne Gate, which earned him his famous nickname, "The Boo." The nickname is said to have originated when an entering cadet said the colonel acted "like a trapped caribou." Gradually it was shortened to "The Boo." After his respected reign in the commandant's office, Colonel Courvoisie went on to serve The Citadel as manager of the central supply warehouse until his retirement in 1982. In this capacity, he continued to maintain contact with the Corps of Cadets, whom he affectionately referred to as "his lambs."

Board of Visitors Chairman Leonard Fulghum ' 51 presents Pat Conroy '67 with his honoary degree of letters during parade.

Throughout the years, The Boo has remained a living legend at The Citadel and continues to receive countless letters, cards, photos, and other memorabilia from past cadets. In 1962, he was presented a bronze shoe which was worn by a cadet who walked countless marching tours in the quadrangle of the barracks. To this day, his renowned and fiery prophecy resounds through the halls of The Citadel and in the hearts of its graduates: "Whatever you did wrong at The Citadel, even if you had bad thoughts, I am going to be waiting for you as sergeant of Lesesne Gate in hades, and you're going to walk, Bubba."

Renowned author and Citadel graduate, Pat Conroy, immortalized Courvoisie in his book, The Boo, a collection of humorous and sentimental reminiscences that took place during "The Boo's" often dreaded, always respected reign as assistant commandant in charge of discipline. Today, Col. Courvoisie remains involved with The Citadel. Currently he is spearheading a project on campus, contacting and keeping in touch with all general officers and posting their photos on the Jenkins Hall "Wall of Stars."