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Our Mighty Citadel

Rene Valentine

One Obstacle at a Time

The sun gleamed off the black granite slabs of The Citadel War Memorial and shone right onto Cadet Rene Valentine’s face. This moment made all of the hard work of the last four years worth the effort.

The Citadel War Memorial was dedicated during Homecoming 2017 to honor fallen alumni, and this year was the first ring ceremony of the War Memorial’s existence.

“It’s probably the most beautiful monument on campus, and it represents the purest ideals of The Citadel.”

As senior class president, one of Valentine’s responsibilities was to create a legacy for the Class of 2019. At this year’s ring ceremony, the most anticipated event of senior year, when senior cadets see their hard work, dedication and perseverance recognized, Valentine took his responsibility to heart, determined to incorporate a new tradition that would create a legacy for the Class of 2019. The legacy—a new tradition in which the senior class wearing their new bands of gold salutes The Citadel’s fallen alumni at the site of the War Memorial.

“It honors our fallen alumni, those who we should aspire to be like every day, those who most represent the ring. It cannot be removed or tarnished, nor can it be taken away or broken; this goes in the history books forever.”

Determined to leave his mark, Valentine arrived in Charleston with his eyes set on one goal—to find his purpose. Prior to his career at The Citadel, Valentine called many places home. Growing up on military bases, Valentine knew he wanted to serve his country as a Marine. Watching his mother, an Army lieutenant colonel, Valentine knew firsthand the rigors of military service. And wanting to be the best, he enrolled at The Citadel, whose challenging military environment added to its U.S. News & World Report ranking as the No. 1 college in the south offering up to a Master’s degree.

His first obstacle as a freshman was to fit in and find his place.  With wide eyes, Valentine idolized the ranking officers and wanted to be one of them, but he also realized that everyone matters, not just the ranking officers. Determined to make the most of his cadet experience, Valentine challenged himself at every opportunity. The desire to make a difference drove him to become class president.

“It was through drive and grit that I became class president. I didn’t want to be average, and I knew that I wanted our class to make a difference.”

Having completed his last semester at The Citadel, the political science major’s future is bright.  Valentine made his mark on The Citadel.  His next obstacle — Marine Officer Candidate School in Quantico.

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#1 Public College in the South

The Citadel has been ranked #1 Public College in the South offering up to a master's degree by U.S. News & World Report for 8 years in a row.

1 in 3 Cadets Earn a Commission

Approximately 1 in 3 cadets earn a commission into the U.S. Armed Forces upon graduation.

Citadel Graduate College

The Citadel Graduate College offers 25 graduate degrees programs with 22 concentration options, 25 graduate certificates and 10 undergraduate degree completion programs.

12:1 Student-Faculty Ratio

The 12:1 student-faculty ratio ensures direct access to nationally recognized scholars.

2,300 Cadets

Approximately 2,300 students comprise the South Carolina Corps of Cadets at The Citadel.

Over 90% Cadet Placement

Over 90% of Cadets report professional employment, military, or graduate school acceptance within 6 months of graduation, which is significantly above the national average.

$250,690,056 Raised

20,784 donors contributed to the Foundation for Leadership campaign, a 6 year effort to support the college.

Over 1,100 Non-Traditional Students

The Citadel Graduate College has a population of over 1,100 students, 23% of whom are a part of the undergraduate degree completion program.

16 Varsity Athletic Teams

The Citadel is part of the Division I Southern Conference with 9 men's varsity teams and 7 women's varsity teams.

Learning in 23 Countries

Citadel cadets and students study abroad in 23 countries across several continents.

22% Veteran Students

22% of the Citadel Graduate College are veteran students studying locally and abroad with The Citadel ranked as #1 Public College for Veterans in the South.

24 Undergraduate Majors

The Citadel offers 24 undergraduate majors and 39 minors.

#1 College for Alumni Giving in the South

The Citadel is ranked #1 College for Alumni Giving in the South with a current alumni network of over 39,000 people.

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