Mitchell Leverette

By John Stabinger
Posted on 13 April 2020 | 1:06 pm

Mitchell Leverette ’85

CofC alumnus Mitchell Leverette ’85 is a geologist and the Chief of the Solid Minerals Division at the Bureau of Land Management for the Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. The first black student to walk across the Cistern with a Geology degree, he is now one of the country’s foremost experts in his field.

As a high school senior, Mr. Leverette had options for college. He considered Clemson, the University of South Carolina, South Carolina State, and the University of Georgia. However, he chose the College because of its strong academics, stellar reputation, beautiful campus, and storied history. His brother, Larnell Leverette, is also a College of Charleston alumnus.

Mr. Leverette as a senior in 1985
from the yearbook, the Comet

As an undergraduate, Mr. Leverette worked with his peers and College of Charleston President, Edward M. Collins, Jr., to document, preserve, and recognize the legacy of black student experiences at the College. Mitchell’s work made the campus more inclusive and welcoming for students from different cultures and backgrounds. In 2013, Mitchell received the Eddie Ganaway Distinguished Alumni Award from the College, which recognizes an alumnus or alumna who has distinguished themselves in their field, promotes the College to become a better and more inclusive community, and is a loyal supporter of the College. He currently serves on both the College’s Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Advisory Board for the School of Sciences and Mathematics.

Phi Beta Sigma in 1985
Mr. Leverette is seated far left

Mr. Leverette’s favorite memory of his college years is working on his senior project: a three-week research and field studies project on San Salvador Island, Bahamas. While the trip and experience were fantastic, what stuck with him most is the effort that his family, his church, the Geology Department, and the College made to secure the funding for his trip.

He has this advice for current students: “Study very hard and do well during your first year so that you do not have to play catch-up for the rest of your semesters. I did not do it that way, but quickly realized I should have.” One of the most valuable lessons he learned while a student at the College was if you work hard, you will be rewarded.