The Citadel

The Military College of South Carolina

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The Need for The Citadel Experience Never Greater


Bluffton Today
Posted 20 February 2013

Lieutenant General John W. Rosa, USAF (Retired)
Class of 1973
President, The Citadel


A recent survey of 31,000 people from 26 countries reported an alarming lack of trust in leadership. While half the respondents trusted business in general to operate ethically, 92% did not trust business leaders to tell the truth, according to the 2013 edition of the annual Edelman Trust Barometer. This significant crisis of leadership is further compounded by a national survey of 23,000 high school students by the Josephson Institute of Ethics. In the last 12 months, one half reported cheating on an exam, three quarters lied to their parents, and one in five had shoplifted. Even more troubling, virtually all of them said they’re satisfied that they had good moral character.

What’s the answer to this moral and leadership dilemma? We believe living four years under The Citadel’s strict Honor Code: "A cadet will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do" provides a solution. Those last words are very important, as studies repeatedly show people are more likely to err when they think they can get away with it. The Citadel has a zero tolerance policy for breaking the Honor Code or failing to live up to our Core Values of Honor, Duty, Respect. In addition to an education grounded in values, we align it with a progressive, structured, four-year leadership development program – The Citadel Experience.

More and more families believe in our leadership development curriculum and they are entrusting us with their young men and women as evidenced by our seventh year of record admissions. The Corps of Cadets is the biggest it’s ever been with 21 companies, representing 45 states and 16 countries. Further evidence that we’re making a difference is how The Citadel scores on the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE). We found that a vast majority of both freshmen and seniors reported that The Citadel helped them develop a personal code of values and ethics, which is heads above other reporting colleges. In fact, our seniors rank values and ethics among their top priorities as a result of their four years here.

We are proud of another ranking, being named the #1 Public College in the South, for two years in a row by the U.S. News & World Report, as well as, being rated a “Best Value”. We believe that’s a result of growing our academic programs, not cutting back, as other colleges have done during the last five years of the recession. This commitment to leadership excellence and academic distinction is the foundation of our new six-year strategic plan, LEAD Plan 2018. Today, there is a new “normal” for higher education. We will continue to embrace an entrepreneurial and innovative business model, creating new efficiencies and finding new revenue sources to combat declining public funding. We will be the first choice to go to for leadership development, whether it’s for cadets, graduate students, or corporations.

We will remain a rigorous Corps-centered college education that’s based on our Honor Code and Core Values. We are proud to be providing our students with an ethical compass—we think it’s the right thing to do. By living The Citadel Experience, our students will become the principled leaders in the military, in public service, and in private enterprise that is so desperately needed.

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