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CCU in the Community

image of CCU President, Dr. David A. DeCenzoWith the approach of our 60th anniversary in September, this is a good occasion to reflect on all that Coastal Carolina University has achieved in its brief history. It’s instructive at such moments to try to put ourselves in the place of our founding fathers and attempt to gauge their dreams of 1954 against the reality of 2014. 

Although they were visionary individuals, I think the founders would be utterly astounded by the growth of the institution—by our enrollment (more than 9,400 students) and by the imposing beauty of our thriving campus. I think they would be impressed by the academic attainment we have achieved across the curricular spectrum and by the acumen and industry of our faculty.

But the thing I believe would give our founders the greatest sense of satisfaction and pride is the way that Coastal Carolina University has served its community.  The college was founded in response to the real needs of local people who wanted to better themselves and the place where they lived and worked. 

From the earliest days, CCU has maintained a close, mutually advantageous relationship with the local community and the wider surrounding region. Many of the University’s most successful academic programs are based on unique aspects of the area’s geography and economy, such as our highly rated Professional Golf Management program and the College of Science’s multilevel marine science activities that have added so much to the life of our coastal environment.

Our founders would be pleased that the outreach programs in our academic colleges give priority to meaningful community service projects. The Jackson Scholars, for example, sponsor a junior scholars summer camp for area sixth-graders designed to foster moral development and responsibility. Part of the mission of the Swain Scholar program is to raise awareness about community health issues, and every Swain Scholar class develops a project that directly involves our students in efforts that help others, from child obesity initiatives in area elementary schools to bike safety in Myrtle Beach and surrounding communities.

I think the founders would be most proud of the way our students are stepping up for community service projects, sometimes creating new ones on their own initiative. As part of her capstone class, Nicole Slatky, a communication major, started an Adopt-A-Family program to help families in need last Thanksgiving. Her original goal was to provide food baskets for 35 families, but, working in conjunction with CCU’s Office of Civic Engagement and Orientation, she and her fellow students ended up serving more than 100 families. The University plans to continue the program into the future. What a legacy!

These are just a few examples of many acts of service performed by students, faculty and staff that have enriched and improved our community. As Coastal Carolina University continues to grow, achieve and succeed, I hope we will always understand the need and the value of serving our community and region. 

David A. DeCenzo, President