There is no greater action a person can take than showing up for people when they need you most. I want to thank President Harris Pastides and the entire University of South Carolina community because they showed up for the College of Charleston big time as Hurricane Matthew approached South Carolina.
Late on the night on Oct. 4, after it was decided that our College of Charleston students could not be evacuated in a timely manner to Clemson, I reached out to President Pastides to inquire if it was possible for our students to come to USC. Not only did I receive a resounding yes, but he provided USC buses to come pick up our students the next morning.
When our students arrived on campus, they were greeted by USC student government members, who helped unload their belongings and get them settled in to their homes away from home. Our students were given access to the gym, dining halls and all campus activities; they even got tickets to the South Carolina vs. Georgia game. Many of them particularly enjoyed attending that game, since we don’t have an American football team. (We prefer “futbol” — our men’s and women’s soccer programs.)
I extend my deepest and most sincere thanks to President Pastides and the entire USC community for graciously hosting our students and for treating them like their own. The entire evacuation process, their time at USC and their return to Charleston could not have gone better.
I’ve said in the past that the fabric of Charleston is strong and cannot be torn apart. After witnessing the generosity our students received from USC and other state partners, I can now say the fabric of our entire state is strong and cannot be torn apart. That sense of community resides throughout South Carolina.
These relationships between our universities truly reinforce the collaborative nature of higher education in South Carolina. We are lucky to have such partnerships and are lucky to know that we will always show up for each other when needed.
Glenn F. McConnell
President, College of Charleston