Winter 2018 Edition

By | January 31, 2018


The Fall 2017 edition of this newsletter shared with you the story and details of a storm of Lowcountry lore, Hugo. While some people across the nation may remember Hugo, its only locals that remember the Winter storm that came soon after. It was in December of 1989 that the last major, considerable snowfall hit Charleston, just in time to give the Lowcountry its first White Christmas in one hundred years.

So to have a storm like Irma cause the disruption that it did in Charleston, it was almost  expected what would come next only a few months later.

For those few days at the beginning of January, even though our normal routine was disrupted, the College was closed, and flights were delayed and cancelled, our collegiate home became a Winter wonderland that made for the perfect Instagram posts and videos of students skiing down Meeting Street and having snowball fights in Marion Square.

Throughout all the excitement, the College continued to impact so much of the world around us, here at home and beyond. And the best way to keep you up-to-date of what’s going on around our historic campus, here’s a sneak peek into The College Today:


We can’t wait to host you here in Charleston!

Learn more and register for the Weekend here.




Students Invention is Not Just for Kicks

It’s unlikely you’ve ever encountered anyone as animated as Eli Dent. With a megawatt smile and a penchant for punctuating sentences with hand gestures, this marketing major seems equal parts motivational speaker and cartoon character.

But don’t let outward appearances mislead you. Dent is a serious entrepreneur. In the brief time he’s been at the College (he transferred here as a junior), Dent has participated in ICAT (Interdisciplinary Center for Applied Technology) and NGAL (Network Globally Act Locally), both of which are entrepreneurial-focused academic programs where student teams create products and businesses to support them. He also helped create TIDES (Technology, Innovative Design and Entrepreneurship Studio) – a makerspace on campus where any student can give life to his/her creative ideas. And last spring, Dent won the School of Business competition for Entrepreneur of the Year based on a 60-second pitch for his product, the SideKik.

A small rubber disc with colorful feathers attached, the SideKik is Dent’s adaptation of jianzi, a hugely popular pastime in China. It’s both a juggling toy and a training apparatus for soccer players, which makes sense because soccer – outside of entrepreneurism – is Dent’s other principal passion. He’s been playing since he was 4 years old and played midfield on the College’s men’s soccer team.

“Soccer has definitely been the biggest driving force in my life up to this point,” says the senior from Charleston, S.C. “It provides a lot of structure for me. I have weight training in the morning and practice in the afternoon, and, of course, I have classes and my SideKik business.”

Recently, Dent succeeded in getting SideKik placed in 47 retail stores across the nation. “That’s huge for us,” he says. “It’s what I regard as serious market traction.” 

The “us” he refers to is SideKik’s marketing-management team, which includes fellow student Rett Stevens, who is assisting with marketing, and two alumni, Donnie Exelbierd ’04 and Arianna Weber ’17, who are advising Dent on business development and supply chain management.

Its a busy and exciting time.

“There are moments when I have a 20-minute gap between classes and I realize that I can rush back and ship the next order of products,” says Dent. “It’s a frenzied lifestyle sometimes, but it’s always fun.”

And when SideKik wasn’t initially scoring many customer reviews online, Dent, ever the problem solver, convinced his ICAT team to develop an app to facilitate feedback and reviews for businesses engaged in e-commerce. Thus, Txtra was born. The app, which was deemed a finalist by judges at last spring’s ICAT Demo Day, provides an efficient way for consumers to offer product and service reviews online. And this fall, Txtra launched in Shopify’s e-commerce platform.

Have these successes gone to Dent’s head? It doesn’t seem so.

True success, he says, will be achieved when SideKik is on the shelves at gift shops in every professional soccer stadium in the U.S. In the meantime, he’s got classes to attend, matches to play and other products to develop. A true entrepreneur never slows down.

Posted from The College Today, by Dan Dickison.


The COMET, College of Charleston Yearbook, 1922.

Pierrine St. Clair Smith-Byrd ’22 and the College Ring

The design for our ring is based on the original College of Charleston ring design, which was thought to be lost for many decades.  In 1995, the Alumni Association was considering new ring designs when it received a bequest from the estate of two alumni.  Inside the package were two gold rings, identical except one was sized for a woman’s hand.

The woman’s ring belonged to the very first female graduate of the College of Charleston, Pierrine Smith ‘22.  When she graduated, there was no women’s ring, so her fiancé, George Byrd ’21, had a miniature of his ring made for her.  They were happily married for many years and left their rings to their alma mater.  This charming story inspired the Alumni Association to adopt the original College of Charleston ring design for both men and women. 

The signet-style ring features the seal of the College of Charleston, derived from the City of Charleston’s seal, which was adopted in 1783.  It features the Latin phrases Sapientia Ipsa Libertas (Wisdom Itself Is Liberty) and Ædes Mores Juraque Curat (She Cares for Her Temples, Customs and Rights). The seated woman holding the scepter is a personification of Charleston and evokes an image of the city deriving its livelihood from the sea and prepared to defend itself.  She is shown presenting a laurel wreath to a young man holding a diploma in front of a classroom building. The date 1770 refers to the year of the College’s founding.

Content provided by the Alumni Association, with minor edits.