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Challenge Week Update

Challenege Week is complete and we are off to an exciting Academic Year!  If you are looking for the presentations made on Matriculation Day by the President and Commandant, you can find them by clicking HERE.

You can find more pictures at The Citadel Photography Department's Facebook Page.

 Update 8/23/2016: 

img_2401Classes start tomorrow! 

This morning your Cadet Recruits “called together” in McAlister Field House for Convocation 2016!  They were joined by the Faculty and Senior Academic Staff which included General Rosa and the Provost, Dr. Connie Book.  

The keynote speaker was Dr. Melanie Maddox who serves as a professor of History at The Citadel.  It is tradition that the recipient of the James A. Grimsley, Jr. Award for Undergraduate Teaching Excellence provides this address.  The prestigious “Grimsley Award” is voted on by the graduating class and awarded at Graduation.  Dr. Maddox received the award last May.  

In her speech Dr. Maddox told your sons and daughters that the Faculty and Staff at The Citadel want them to achieve excellence across the pillars of the Leadership Model (Military, Academic, Physical, and Moral/Ethical).  To help them accomplish this she offered the following advice:

  • img_2409“Always communicate with your professors, keep them informed of any issues, and they can help you overcome academic obstacles.
  • Try to treat college like a once in a lifetime experience instead of wondering about the easiest way out. This is the time for you grab knowledge and opportunity with both hands. Take a class on something you know nothing about. Push yourself to try something you might not like. Definitely study abroad for a semester! Meet people different than you.
  • Also remember that the Daniel Library is a great resource that can help you learn more about your job field, show you the history of The Citadel, as well as introduce you to new worlds and ideals that have value.  Reading will not only be a key to the development of your well-rounded excellence, but it can also help to relieve some of the stress of life. Read anything you want, but read something. “ 


I am not sure how many will remember her speech because they are so tired.  You can find her entire speech HEREWe hope when you have an opportunity to speak with your child, you will emphasize Dr. Maddox’s points.  Remember the key to success here is finding that balance between the pillars.  As General Rosa said they are juggling two balls (military and physical), tomorrow they add a third one (academics)! 

img_2406After Convocation the Faculty and the Company Academic Advisors joined the Class of 2020 for lunch in Coward Hall (Mess Hall) – a delicious melody of chicken fingers, fruit salad, ham and cheese sandwiches, chips, iced brownies, and soft drinks.  The Faculty and Company Advisors sat with your Cadet Recruits and had wonderful conversations.  The Third Battalion TAC, LTC Charles Graham, spoke to them about ethical decision making.  After lunch, the Cadet Academic Officers took each group on a walking tour of campus where each Cadet Recruit found his/her classrooms. 

All in all, a great way to emphasize the start of classes and the importance of academics to their cadet career. 

Keep those cards and boxes coming.  They make a difference!!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     

 8/19/16 Update: 


Wanted to have one last update before the weekend.  Lots of sounds around campus.  In the early morning hours you can hear your Cadet Recruits doing their PT (Physical Training).  Their Jody calls (a military cadence or cadence call. . . .a traditional call-and-response work song sung by military personnel while running or marching) always get e little louder when approaching the President’s and Commandant’s houses.  Wonder why?! 

img_2395After a quick shower and shining of their brass and shoes, they “roll out” for breakfast formation.  After breakfast they take advantage of the cooler weather to practice their marching.  As the temperature begins to rise they take the training in buildings with air conditioning – probably the Chapel being the coolest!


Today was book issue for their academic classes which start next Wednesday.  All 800 received their books today over at the book store.  It was precision at its best! 

img_2397Noticed at the Post Office many lined up to get their care packages.  Please keep those coming. 

In closing we will be thinking about you this weekend when your Cadet Recruits get their phones back.  We hope you get a call and it is positive!    



8/18/16 Update: 

28640892202_583da9d753_zLast night the volume within the barracks turned up as your Cadet Recruits experienced the 4th-Class System going into effect. Although training continues, the 4th-Class System does bring additional requirements such as bracing (chins in, arms locked by their side), double-time in the barracks, walking “with-a-purpose” around campus (120 paces per minutes) and other items they can tell you about. Good news is reports say they are doing well.

img_2389As the Commandant briefed on Matriculation Day, your Cadet Recruits will have their phones returned Sunday night. You should prepare for that call. We recommend listening to their stories then reminding them of how proud you are of them and their decision to attend The Citadel. This may be a time of revelation for them realizing they have signed up for the rigors associated with the 4th-Class System until Recognition Day in April. In their eyes, that’s a long time. Remind them that you have confidence that they can do it and offer that if they break it up into phases - start of classes, Parents' Weekend in October, Thanksgiving then Christmas - April will be here faster than they think.

img_2388The last part of this conversation should be helping them begin to pivot to the Academic pillar of The Citadel experience. They’ve had their class schedules since last Sunday and met on several occasions with their advisors and their academic support team. On Tuesday they will participate in Convocation when they will hear from the faculty and then have a nice, relaxed lunch with them. It’s OK to ask how they feel about their schedules and their advisors. You should offer that the key to their success will be getting into a routine as soon as possible, keeping in mind – as the Commandant said – academics is the reason they are here.

To help you prepare for this call, we recommend looking at the video of our Associate Provost for Academics, COL. Mark Bebensee, which can be found HERE and on the “Conversations” page. You should also visit his office’s webpage for important information and answers to many questions you which you may have. Please click HERE to go to the Associate Provost for Academics website.


8/15/16 Update

It has been a very busy three days for your cadet recruits! Since you left them at 1000 Saturday morning they have:

  • baber up closeAttended an Academic Orientation
  • Received an Ethics briefing
  • Had five Leadership Development Briefs
  • Learned how to eat in the Mess Hall (and eaten)
  • Met twice with their Company Academic Officers & Humanitarian Affairs Officers
  • Learned how to arrange and clean their rooms
  • Cleaned their rooms
  • Listened to the Commandant and Regimental Commander
  • Attended religious services or an Moral/Ethical Class
  • bags outsideLearned about the Infirmary and our Mental Health Services
  • Briefed by the Honor Committee Chairman
  • Taught how to prepare their laundry
  • Prepared their laundry
  • Attended 3 Drill periods –learn how to march, salute, etc.
  • Got their hair cut - all 800 on Monday - average haircut time was 1:53
  • Checked their Mail Box
  • Got all of their duty uniforms
  • Measured for their dress uniforms
  • tailor shop pantsTaught what was expected of them during inspections
  • Took The Citadel oath
  • Studied their Guidon.

Whew! And they are doing great! Just a reminder, they have the keys to their mailboxes. Try not to let them have an empty one!

This evening the Cadet Recruits took what we call an “oath”, but for the purist, it is more properly termed a “Matriculation Promise”. Since the first cadets reported on March 20, 1843, members of the Corps have been required to give such a promise. Although modified a few times over the years, the following “promise” your Cadet Recruit said this evening retains key provisions of remaining loyal to the ideals of The Citadel:

img_2379“I hereby engage to serve as a cadet in The Citadel, The Military College of South Carolina, until graduation or until I shall be discharged by proper authority; and I promise to support loyally the constituted authorities thereof as long as I remain a member of the Corps of Cadets. I will remain loyal to the ideals, values, and goals of The Citadel. I further promise that I will never bring discredit on The Citadel or the South Carolina Corps of Cadets. I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion.”

img_2373You can find a video of the Oath Ceremony ceremony HERE and on The Citadel's website.

The next time they say the "oath" will be April 7, 2017 at Francis Marion Square on the afternoon of Recognition Day!

empty mailboxOne final observation, your kids looked good tonight!! Keep the cards and letters coming!














8/13/16 Update:

welcome 2020You made it! It was quite a morning, but sounds like everyone did a wonderful job getting their kids here and prepared. Also congratulations to the parents in the first cars to the HAC. Understand you got there at 0530!

1st carsHopefully you enjoyed the briefings from the President and Commandant. You can access those briefs HERE.

Below we have repeated some of the information provided in the Q&A after the briefs:

1) You can get your Cadet Recruit's mailbox address by clicking on this link to the Citadel’s PEOPLE SEARCH. Remember, letters telling them how much you love them, how proud you are of their decision and that they can do it means a great deal.

1st batt cfa2) Good questions were asked about getting flights for Thanksgiving and Christmas. At Thanksgiving your child will be able to leave after their "last military duty" (which is normally after their last class) on November 18th. Between now and the 21st of August they will meet with their Faculty Advisors and develop their class schedules. So, you should have a good idea when they will be able to leave campus for Thanksgiving furlough when they get their phones back.

Christmas is different because they can't leave until they finish their last exam. The exam schedule will not be available until closer to the end of classes. We will get that date out as soon as it is published.

nrotc3) Hopefully you heard both the President and Commandant say to call the Company TAC Officer if something doesn't sound or feel right when you speak to your cadet recruit.

4) The "800 lbs. gorilla". . . the phone call that says "I don't want to be here". Like General Rosa said, you need to be prepared in case a call like this comes in. Although we would like to tell you exactly what to say, we can't because each child is different and no one knows your child as well as you.

So you know what is happening if a cadet recruit says they want to leave, there are a number of people their chain-of-command that begin to try and get them to change their mind. Within the Cadet Chain of Command, the Human Affairs team is very active. They make sure the rest of the chain of command knows as well as the TAC Officer. Everyone will try and convince your child to stay.

When you hang up the phone with your child, we recommend calling the TAC Officer. They have experience with this, so their opinion on how best to proceed and what other resources may be useful will be valuable as you move forward.

tango sectionAnd finally, you heard General Rosa talk about "fit". Finding right "fit" for your child is what we all want because that's where they'll flourish. As much as we hope that would be The Citadel, we need to keep in mind it may not be.

8/11/16 Update:

pt moving inCampus is back to life after a hot and humid summer - and it is still hot and humid! Led by the Athletic Cadre, the Fall Sports Teams knobs have completed their “challenge” week while their upperclass teammates arrived a week later and now are in full practice.

The Barbershop is quiet right now with the barbers performing the final maintenance on their clippers. Come Monday it will be like a well-oiled assembly line producing over 800 of the finest freshmen haircuts in town! The Tailor Shop has been busy getting ready as well. The picture shows only one row of the upperclass uniforms that have new rank and class designation sewn on this summer!

Cadre (the upperclassmen selected to train the freshmen) starting returning last Thursday. Since arriving they have had a full schedule that picked up where the Leadership Academy they attended last semester left off. Very impressed with how focus this group is.

cadretraining_13Last Saturday all 375 members of the Cadre participated in a daylong intensive experience designed to build critical skillsets in teamwork, communication and creative problem solving. To support this effort the campus became a stage with 9 leadership development stations that ran from 0430 (4:30am to 2230 (10:30pm). This year’s effort builds on a successful pilot the Commandant held last August.

On the Matriculation page we have included a link that has the name, telephone and emails for the TAC Officers (you can also get it HERE). Just remember, this is a very important relationship for you to build. Whether or not you have the list, make sure you go up, meet them and get their card.

tailor shopIf you haven’t seen this, here is some good advice for your child from former classes on the 4th Class System:

1. Remember that there is a reason behind most things.

2. Don’t worry about becoming a knob—take one day at a time.

3. Learn the Guidon BEFORE you get here. It is online, so read it, or buy a copy.

4. Keep your sense of humor—don’t take this stuff personally.

5. Remember that no one says they love being a knob, but stay with it because the experience will make you a better person.

6. If you already know how to do something (military stuff), you might want to keep that information to yourself. You want to blend in, not stand out.

7. Remember that you are not alone—there are 700 knobs going through the same thing.

8. You will be respected if you always try your best.

9. Tackle one day at a time.

10. Nothing lasts forever.

11. Act like a knob at all times even when no one is watching.

12. The Citadel is a different experience than what your hometown buddies are experiencing, so soak it all up and hold on until you can recharge your batteries over leave.

13. Your classmates are your best friends—confide in them, trust them.

14. Patience will serve you well.

15. If you have trouble in a class, get help immediately—don’t wait!

16. If you know something is not right, speak up,

17. Listen to what they say, not how they say it.

18. Get into a routine as fast as possible. It is difficult to catch up, once you get behind.

pt barracksAnd here is a little terminology to help you get around on Saturday:

First Battalion is known as Murray Barracks and houses Alpha, Bravo, Charlie, and Delta companies.

Second Battalion is known as Padgett-Thomas Barracks. It is the largest and has the iconic clock tower. You will find Echo, Foxtrot, Golf, Hotel companies and Regimental Band here.

Third Battalion, known as Law Barracks, has India, Kilo, Lima and Mike companies.

Fourth Battalion or Watts Barracks, houses November, Oscar, Romeo, and Tango companies.

Fifth Battalion, or Stevens Barracks, has Papa, Sierra, Victor companies and the Palmetto Battery.

Also take a look at the list of Cadet Terminology put together by the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs which you can find by clicking HERE. Your child will learn these pretty quick, but you can take your time!

Finally, the Oath Ceremony will be at 7PM on Monday night on the Parade Field. There won't be time to visit with your Cadet Recruit, but you might get a glance!

And just remember, it is going to be OK!




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