Class of 2002
I hope this letter finds you all doing well and enjoying the beginnings of Spring. I hate to send another letter with a slightly somber tone, but unfortunately, the economy continues to weigh heavily on everyone’s minds and wallets. During this trying economic time, I wanted to reach out to each of you and ask for your assistance due to the financial challenges currently facing The Citadel.
Even in the face of economic challenges, The Citadel is working hard to bring a wonderful and affordable education to all qualified students. Once again, we are proud of our four-year graduation rate-59%-which is the highest in South Carolina. Our in-state fees are, again, less than Clemson and USC. We have recently been ranked Number 2 in public master’s degree granting institutions in the South; Number 5 in all Southern schools, public and private; Number 7 in best value in the South; Number 8 in Civil Engineering in the US; and Number 34 for undergraduate engineering programs nationwide. These rankings are done by U.S. News & World Report.
Unfortunately, not all of the news coming from The Citadel is good. We continue to battle with the State of South Carolina and Governor Sanford for the essential funding necessary to continue our mission of educating tomorrow’s leaders. In 2002, when we were last cadets, the state provided $18.7 million per year to The Citadel, totaling 20.5% of our operating budget. This year, after the mid-year budget cuts, the total state appropriation has dwindled to a mere $12.6 million. This is only 13.6% of our current operating budget. It only gets worse: The governor has proposed a budget cut that further reduces the appropriation to The Citadel to an embarrassing $8.3 million, or 9.4% of our current budget. This is a crippling development. The Citadel, General Rosa, and The Board of Visitors have worked tirelessly to minimize the impact of these cuts on the college. We have deferred necessary maintenance, eliminated temporary and permanent staff positions, delayed hiring in 19 critical positions, and delayed information technology modernizations, among other cuts. However, if the proposed budget is approved, there will be more cuts. There will be more permanent and temporary staff cuts; the elimination of 25 academic and student programs and the reduction of the budgets of 31 more; the elimination of two majors, Math and Physics; and the school will have to mandate a five-day furlough for all employees.
This is a bleak picture and will not improve in the short term. The Citadel is using every resource at its disposal to secure more funding from the state, but we cannot depend on the state. The good news is that there is one sure way to meet our budget requirements, and that is to GIVE!
Last year, our participation percentage was below 10%. This is unacceptable. As a young class, we cannot make gifts of thousands of dollars per year, but we can participate. No-we have to participate. It is our duty-and the sign of a loyal Citadel graduate-to give back to our alma mater.
I need everyone who receives this letter to make a serious contribution to The Citadel. Not only do we have a responsibility to give to the Trey Reeves Scholarship, but we also have a responsibility to give to The Citadel Fund, the unrestricted fund that provides discretionary money to the college.
If you are giving monthly to The Citadel Fund, please begin making a gift to the Trey Reeves scholarship or another scholarship of your choice. No need to make a huge gift, $10 per month is a great start. I have been giving monthly for years now and I have never missed the money.
If you’re giving to a scholarship, please remember that The Citadel Fund also needs your help. Now, more than ever, The Citadel needs access to unrestricted money to meet the daily budgetary requirements of running a college. Again, the actual amount is not terribly important, though I encourage you to give generously. Beginning to give $10 per month to The Citadel Fund means that you will have to pack your lunch one more day per month instead of dining out. I think we can all make this sacrifice.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns related to The Citadel.
Thank you for your time and consideration, and a special thank you to those who are already giving to The Citadel. I know each of you will step up, do your duty as a Citadel graduate, and support The Citadel Foundation.
Eric H. Doss
Chairman, Class of 2002