Founded in 1770 and chartered in 1785, the College of Charleston is the oldest institution of higher education in the state of South Carolina and the thirteenth oldest in the United States.
The founders of the College, who sought "to encourage and institute youth in the several branches of liberal education," included three signers of the Declaration of Independence and three fathers of the United States Constitution. By April 1790, students could demonstrate their excellent training in the liberal arts at a public examination presented to the board of trustees. The State Gazette of South Carolina praised their knowledge of the "Greek and Latin languages, as well as their extraordinary proficiency in the liberal arts and sciences." In 1836 the College of Charleston became the, nation's first municipal college when the city of Charleston assumed responsibility for its support and mandated that the College be "a Popular institution, intended for the great body of the people." These two early principles, a commitment to the liberal arts and a responsibility to the citizens of the region, have guided the College throughout its hi...
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