843.953.5822 250@cofc.edu
843.953.5822 250@cofc.edu
250 Years of Excellence


CofC since 1770

Born out of the Age of Revolution … the College of Charleston was founded in 1770 during a time of great change and great opportunity.

For centuries … that same spirit of independence has sustained the College as it has grown, developed and evolved across America’s history.

Much has happened at the College … 250 years defined by starts and stops … defeats and victories … challenges and achievements.

Check out some of the College’s major milestones.


Highlights from the past 250 Years
  • 1770
    Oldest College South of Virginia  

    1770 - The College of Charleston is Founded

    After decades-long efforts by the Charles Town Library Society and citizens of the city, the College, originally called the College of Charles Town was founded when the first donation to its endowment was made together with gifts from private citizens.

  • 1794
    Inaugural Graduation  

    1794 - First Class Graduates

    The college graduated its first class of six students.

  • 1837
    First Municipal College  

    1837 - CofC Becomes the First Municipal College in U.S. History

    Due to dire financial straits, the City of Charleston assumed responsibility for the College’s support, making the College of Charleston  the first municipal college in the U.S. The city provided funds, for example, in 1850 to enlarge the main academic building, construct Porters Lodge and fence in the Cistern Yard, the block that is still the […]

  • 1864
    Charleston Under Siege  

    1864 - The College Closes

    During the Union siege of Charleston, the city became the most bombarded mainland city in the history of the United States. It wasn’t until 1866 that classes could resume.

  • 1922
    First Female Graduate  

    1922 - Pierrine St. Claire Smith Byrd Graduates from CofC

    Pierrine St. Claire Smith Byrd proved that women could not only excel at the College but play an integral role on campus. She graduated first in her class and received the prestigious Alumni Medal. While at the College, Byrd served as the president of the Co-Ed Club, captain of the women’s basketball team and editor-in-chief […]

  • 1970
    CofC Becomes a Public School  

    1970 - CofC Becomes State College

    The College is incorporated into the S.C. State College System

  • 1971
    First African American to Graduate  

    1971 - Eddie Ganaway Graduates from CofC

    Eddie Ganaway ’71 came to the College in the spring of 1968 after serving as a U.S. Navy medic. Despite the relative isolation as one of the few African Americans on campus, the history major came to see the College as deeply enriching and rewarding. He went on to earn a master of history and had […]

  • 1976
    Computers introduced  

    1976 - Computers are Introduced at the College

    The administration brought the computer age to CofC students with the goal of using of computers to streamline registration and end the long lines of students waiting to schedule their classes.

  • 1992
    The Graduate School  

    1992 - The University of Charleston, S.C. is Established

    The first graduate program in marine biology was established in 1972, but the graduate was formally established in 1992. Today, the graduate school offers more than two dozen graduate programs that leverage the abundant resources and opportunities found throughout the South Carolina Lowcountry – from the coastal marshes to the vibrant tourism industry .