One of the great joys of college advising is the opportunity to travel. Recently, I visited Charleston, S.C., to visit colleges, attend a conference and explore the city. It didn’t take long to develop appreciation for the beauty and hospitality that so many have extolled over time. As my visit concluded and I boarded the plane to Atlanta to connect to my flight home, the gate agent wished me “happy travels.” I was struck by how perfectly that expressed my experience in Charleston.
You may have been to Charleston for a college tour yourself, or for shopping, eating and touring historic sites, or possibly to enjoy Spoleto, the world-renowned arts festival. Even now, in your mind’s eye, you may be walking on Charleston’s brick sidewalks, admiring the old homes and commercial buildings that have been preserved and restored, and thinking, “Isn’t it great that we’re making some of the same efforts in Lexington?”
Keeping an old city young
As in Lexington, Charleston experiences tremendous synergy between its educational institutions and the urban core. More than anything else, this is what keeps an old city young and thriving. Touring the College of Charleston, I was struck by the beautifully manicured quadrangles and well-tended buildings interspersed with city blocks. Boutiques, restaurants and coffee shops line the blocks in and around the college. Young people and bicycles are everywhere; the city is perfectly laid out for walking and cycling, and even professors appeared to be on bicycles rather than in cars.
On campus, students are intentional about their studies, and the faculty members and deans that we met conveyed an equally dedicated approach to their academic fields and their students. Programs in historic preservation, the arts, and hospitality and tourism management are quite strong, and internships abound. These programs respond to regional needs and provide immediate hands-on experiences for students.