CofC Logo

The College Timeline

1770 College of Charleston founded.
1785 College of Charleston chartered.
1790 Classes begin at the College of Charleston.
1794 First graduating class (six students).
1828 The cornerstone is laid for Randolph Hall, the College’s main academic building.
1837 College of Charleston becomes the first municipal college in the United States.
1855 Construction begins on the first campus library (now known as Towell Library).
1857 The Cistern is constructed as a reservoir to provide water for fighting fires in the days before the city installed a water system. It was later filled in and covered with grass. Today a stage is built over the Cistern to seat the graduating class for May Commencement.
1864 Charleston is under siege during the Civil War. College of Charleston closes.
1866 Classes resume.
1900 President Harrison Randolph introduces the bachelor of science degree.
1904 Pi Kappa Phi founded at the College (now a national fraternity with more than 125 active chapters).
1917 Women are admitted to the College.
1922 Pierrine St. Claire Smith Byrd becomes the first female graduate.
1967 College of Charleston admits its first black students.
1970 College of Charleston is incorporated into the S.C. State College System.
1971 Robert Scott Small Library opens (holding capacity of 500,000 volumes).
Eddie Ganaway is the first African American to graduate from the College of Charleston.
1972 First graduate program established.
1975 The College completes the Grice Marine Laboratory on James Island; the laboratory serves as the center for the marine biology curriculum.
1978 The Simons Center for the Arts, home to the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art and the School of the Arts, opens.
1985 The Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture opens.
1990 College of Charleston is one of six colleges chosen to serve as a space research facility and partner with NASA.
1992 College of Charleston formally establishes The Graduate School of the College of Charleston.
2005 The College opens two new facilities: the Marlene and Nathan Addlestone Library, with a holding capacity of 1 million volumes, and the Beatty Center, home to the School of Business and Economics.
2007 The College opens two new residence halls, the George Street Apartment Community and the Liberty Street Residence Hall. The complex also contains the Liberty Street Fresh Food Company dining hall.
2008 The Carolina First Arena, home to men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball, opens.
2009 The Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art opens in its new location on the first floor of The Marion and Wayland H. Cato Jr. Center for the Arts.