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CCU to hold Founders Week activities Sept. 15-22

September 13, 2022
President Michael T. Benson (left) and Provost Daniel Ennis will lead CCU's 68th birthday celebration on Sept. 20.President Emeritus David A. DeCenzo will be recognized at the 2022 Founders Day Convocation.Charles Clary will deliver the 2022 HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecture.

Coastal Carolina University will celebrate its founding with a series of Founders Week activities scheduled for Sept. 15-22. President Emeritus David A. DeCenzo will be recognized during two of the events – a residence hall dedication ceremony and the Founders Day Convocation. Activities also include a CCU Birthday Party, a lecture by Charles Clary, recipient of the 2022 HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecturer Award, and campus and community service projects.

The Founders Day Convocation is typically held during the third week in September to coincide with the anniversary of the opening of Coastal Carolina Junior College and its first day of classes on Sept. 20, 1954.

Founders Week schedule of events:

Thursday, Sept. 15

An exhibit featuring an overview of CCU’s history and acknowledgement of its founders will be displayed on the first floor of Kimbel Library Sept. 15-22.

Friday, Sept. 16

At 10 a.m., DeCenzo and his wife, Terri, will be recognized during the David A. and Theresa M. DeCenzo Residence Hall dedication ceremony. In December 2020, CCU’s board of trustees approved naming one of the University’s newer residential facilities after the DeCenzos in recognition of their many years of dedicated service to the University.

At 7 p.m., DeCenzo will be recognized as an honorary founder and receive a Founders Medallion during the Founders Day Convocation in Wheelwright Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public. The convocation honors individuals and organizations that have been instrumental in the development of the University as well as of higher education in the region.

DeCenzo served as the University’s second president for more than 13 years – 2007 to 2020. During his presidency, he dramatically raised the profile of the University. CCU expanded its academic program from 39 to 95 undergraduate majors; and graduate-level offerings grew from a handful of master’s degrees to feature 27 master’s degrees, two educational specialist degrees, and two doctoral programs. DeCenzo also orchestrated the growth of the University’s enrollment to 10,000-plus students, which reflected a more than 35% increase from when he took office. The University also experienced its most ambitious construction program in school history with a more than $300 million building campaign.

Terri DeCenzo was instrumental during her many years of service as the executive director of Women in Philanthropy and Leadership (WIPL) at CCU. In 2011, the inaugural Celebration of Inspiring Women and Women’s Leadership Conference was held. The daylong conference featured guest speakers from around the country and grew to attract more than 800 attendees each year. WIPL also is credited with awarding more than 400 students in excess of $420,000 in financial support through annual awards and a fully endowed scholarship.

Tuesday, Sept. 20

The University will dedicate two spaces in the Edward M. Singleton Building: the Deborah A. Vrooman Foyer and Lobby and the Mildred H. Allen Ballroom. Vrooman is a professor emeritus at CCU, where she taught mathematics for 33 years and also served as an associate dean. Allen, who was Vrooman’s mother, served CCU in a variety of administrative roles for nearly 30 years and was named an honorary founder in 2003.

At 2 p.m., a CCU Birthday Party will be held on Prince Lawn. The celebration will commemorate the founding of the University and include remarks by President Michael T. Benson and Provost Daniel Ennis, cupcakes, a performance by the Chanticleer Regiment, and a “Happy Birthday” singalong led by the CCU Concert Choir.

At 7 p.m., Clary will present the 2022 HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecture in the Edwards Building Recital Hall. Titled “Memento Mori: The Fragility of Life,” the lecture will focus on Clary’s loss of his mother and father due to smoking-related cancers. The HTC Distinguished Teacher-Scholar Lecturer Award is made possible through a generous donation from the Horry Telephone Cooperative.

A CCU faculty member since Fall 2015, Clary teaches foundational courses for majors and minors in the Department of Visual Arts. He also teaches upper-level courses as well as the senior capstone for visual arts majors. He is active in CHROMA, the department’s student art club. Clary has assisted with the museum studies class co-taught by Katie Clary, Ph.D., and Carolyn Dillian, Ph.D., which created two national award-winning exhibits that were displayed at the Horry County Museum: Printing the Past: SC in 3D and Waccamaw Indian People: Past, Present, and Future. To date, he has amassed 189 exhibitions, including 22 museum exhibitions, 32 solo exhibitions, and 144 group and juried exhibitions. Learn more about Clary here.

Wednesday, Sept. 21 and Thursday, Sept. 22

Each day will feature a Campus Service Project from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Members of the campus community will assist the grounds staff with spreading mulch at the new CCU Arboretum, located next to Wheelwright Auditorium. The 1.5-acre arboretum is a public garden, research facility, and green space, which features a collection of trees that are indigenous to the area and found throughout the campus.

Each day also will feature a Community Service Project held in conjunction with the city of Conway from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. On Sept. 21, volunteers will assist the city with a variety of holiday prep work, and on Sept. 22, will assist with picking up litter along the Riverwalk and restringing lights on trees in downtown.