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Citadel News Service
12 Apr 2011

Learning to Lead: The next step for the Class of 2014

Update 8 a.m. April 16, 2011: Recognition Day activities on campus will occur as planned rain or shine on 16 April. In the event of rain or severe weather, schedule changes will be posted here and at

On Saturday, more than 600 freshmen at The Citadel will reach a milestone in their cadet careers – Recognition Day.

The events associated with Recognition Day reinforce the concept of teamwork and overcoming adversity through physical challenges and the tenacity to succeed in the face of hardship
Recognition Day marks the end of the Fourth Class System and the first step in the freshmen cadets’ journey of learning to be leaders. The strict regimented lifestyle – short haircuts and walking fast paced in single file – will end. What remains is the expectation that members of the class adhere to the values of integrity, respect and accountability as they are recognized as upper class members of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets.

“Recognition Day does not signify an end of cadet development,” said Commandant of Cadets Col. Leo Mercado, USMC (Ret.) “It is a transition point in The Citadel’s leadership development program as Fourth Class cadets assume their roles as leaders and mentors for the Class of 2014.”

Recognition Day is Saturday, April 16, 2011 and includes early-morning physical training for the 2,100-member Corps of Cadets, leadership instruction for the knobs and the recognition ceremony itself.

The Gauntlet, which begins at 10:30 a.m., brings full circle the first-year experience that began in August 2010 and culminates Saturday in a physically and mentally challenging way. The Gauntlet is a rigorous team-building event consisting of a series of timed tasks designed to foster camaraderie and pride in achievement. The Gauntlet is followed by a victory lap around campus before the cadets and their cadet leaders return to their companies for the traditional class set of pushups and the recognition ceremony. Outdoor activities can be observed by family and friends but access to Summerall Field and the barracks is restricted.

During the Recognition Ceremony, the upper class cadets introduce themselves by name and recognize the freshmen by their first and last names, dropping the "Knob" designation used before their last name for the last eight months.. 
"The events associated with Recognition Day reinforce the concept of teamwork and overcoming adversity through physical challenges and the tenacity to succeed in the face of hardship,” Mercado said. “Preparation for this day began when the knobs arrived on campus. With the leadership and mentoring of their cadet leaders and Tactical Officers, the Class of 2014 was instilled with the values of honor, duty, and respect, which are essential foundation of their continued development as principled leaders.”

The Citadel has a tough and challenging eight-month-long Fourth Class System. Its purpose is to lay the foundation early in a cadet’s career for the development character and discipline implied in the college’s mission. The first year is, for many, an abrupt change from the life normally experienced at home. 

“All cadets are able to reflect back on their Recognition Day and take pride in what they have achieved. Recognition Day is a significant benchmark in a cadets’ journey toward becoming a principled leader,” said Cadet Col. Cory Moyer, the regimental commander.

Highlights of Recognition Day

Outdoor events marked in bold are open to spectators. Access   on Summerall Field is restricted to cadets and Citadel staff. Spectators may observe from the perimeter of the parade field.

5:40 a.m. -- Reveille and a regimental run
10:30 a.m. -- The Gauntlet, Summerall Field
11:50 a.m. -- Class set and recognition ceremony
12:30 a.m. -- Regimental BBQ
3 p.m. -- March to Marion Square
3:30 p.m. -- "Oath Renewal on The Citadel Green"

“The freshmen have completed a challenging and demanding Fourth Class System and it is because of their dedication and commitment to teamwork that they have succeeded to this point,” Moyer said. “This day also is important for the cadre who have trained and molded each of these young men and women into a Citadel cadet who may one day stand in their place as leaders in the Corps of Cadets.”

Following the recognition ceremony, the Class of 2014 will march through downtown Charleston to Marion Square, the site of the original Citadel campus, for the “Oath Renewal on The Citadel Green” at 3:30 p.m. It is open to the public.

The march to Marion Square is intended as a reminder to the cadets of those who came before them, about the history they are now a part of and the expectation that they will become principled leaders. The march also provides an opportunity for the local community and Citadel families to support the cadets.


Achieving excellence in the education and development of principled leaders
Media Contact:
Kim Keelor-Parker
(843) 953-2155

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