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Cougar Tales: Director's Cut (May 2015) 

Commencement 

The one thing all College of Charleston alumni have in common.

Some say graduation; we say commencement. Some say they don’t care much about it; we say we care very much about it.  Commencement; regardless of the differences in our CofC experience, it’s the one thing we all have in common.

This weekend 1,582 College of Charleston students will cross the Cistern and officially become College of Charleston alumni. “Crossing the Cistern” is a time-honored tradition at the College. There is a long-standing superstition that if you cross the Cistern before commencement, your graduation year will be delayed (not sure if that’s a punishment). 

I graduated from CofC in 1972. Yes, it was a few years ago; alright decades ago. You may wonder what has changed since those days when gasoline was $.59 per gallon and before cell phones, the internet, PC’s, and Star Wars Episode IV. 

I am pleased to report…not much.  We are still in the Cistern Yard, we still dodge the weather, women still wear white dresses, men still wear white dinner jackets and red roses still punctuate our sense of style. 

Only the magnitude of our commencement has changed. My graduating class consisted of 99 people including myself, and all 99 of us fit on the Cistern.  All our seating rested on the St. Augustine grass on top of the Cistern. With this few graduates, we didn’t need guest tickets to the ceremony, or remote locations for grandparents, cousins, and friends, or an expanded fabricated stage or, as is the case this year, three ceremonies – one on Friday and two on Saturday. 

As we prepare for the Class of 2015’s seminal College experience, we look forward to an exciting weekend filled with honoring accomplishments, new beginnings and of course very proud parents and grandparents. I ask that you reflect upon your commencement. Recall that special day and its emotion and excitement.  Refresh your enthusiasm for the Boundless future you anticipated. Share this energy and optimism with your family and friends.  Instill it in your children every day.

And to the Class of 2015: Congratulations and welcome to the College of Charleston Alumni Association. We hope that you will stay informed, get involved and give back to your alma mater.  Based on the feedback we get from alumni who do so, you will find involvement a very rewarding experience.  We need your thought leadership; we need your volunteerism…we need you to remember. 

Jack Huguley '72 
Director of Alumni Relations
College of Charleston
huguleyj@cofc.edu