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Our Mighty Citadel

Thomas Taylor

The Right Path

Thomas Taylor planned to spend his career in the Army, but when his back was injured after a building in Afghanistan collapsed on him, he was forced to change his plans.  And that’s when he started exploring the idea of pursuing a college education.

For veteran students making the transition from active-duty life to the civilian world, The Citadel offers a familiar way of life, a comforting reminder of their own service.

Taylor enlisted in the Army in 2007 where he served for more than a decade in various roles, including airborne infantryman, machine gun operator and designated marksman.  Deciding on a college was easy. A native of South Carolina and the son of a 1977 graduate, Taylor knew The Citadel was where he wanted to be.

"There was no question in my mind about coming to The Citadel," he said. "This is a place I knew I would fit in."

Taylor enrolled in 2016, majoring in exercise science. The Citadel offers veterans several ways to earn a degree, including night classes and online instruction. Another option is the veteran day program which allows veterans to attend classes with cadets on campus. Veteran students do not live on campus or have military and fitness requirements. There is, however, an opportunity to interact with and mentor cadets—a perk Taylor enjoys because it gives him the opportunity to share his life experiences with young people seeking a military career.

"There is a camaraderie between cadets and veteran students. We can express ourselves, and the cadets are really hungry for our stories," said Taylor. "I want to help shape tomorrow’s leaders. It’s important to me because I want to help influence change. It’s not something that is taught in a classroom."

At 33, Taylor’s own military experience has instilled in him a determination to succeed.  Quitting has never been an option, even during the most intense physical training.  “I was not built for running but being alongside those guys who wouldn't give up gave me the drive to push harder to not be the last guy but to strive to be better.”

In May, Taylor earned his bachelor of science degree, but he’s not done.  Now, he’s enrolled in the Master of Science in Health, Exercise and Sport Science with a concentration in tactical performance and resiliency.  He wants to help soldiers, veterans and first responders by preparing them for the mental and physical stresses of their job.

“I chose this program because I am passionate about being physically active and helping others,” he said. “I hope that this degree will allow me to continue my support and dedication to helping those that protect and serve the public.”

While Taylor’s departure from the Army was not part of his original plan, his determination to serve remains.

“The military was a challenge, and that’s why I chose to finish my degree at The Citadel—for the challenge,” said Taylor. “Sometimes the harder path is the right path.”

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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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