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CCU Atheneum: Physics professor Louis Keiner photographed the eclipse and answered questions from the public.
Physics professor Louis Keiner photographed the eclipse and answered questions from the public.

Classes start + eclipse = exciting first day at CCU

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Hundreds of Coastal Carolina University students, faculty and staff members gathered on Prince Lawn on the first day of classes to witness the great solar eclipse of 2017. Although it was overcast during the early part of the event leading up to the umbra, preventing visibility of the total eclipse, the clouds cleared out for a great view of the latter half. The remaining crowd cheered when they beheld the historic celestial occurrence through the official CCU eclipse shades that were handed out by the thousands during the afternoon. Free Chauncey eclipse T-shirts were also distributed.

CCU science faculty Louis Keiner and Louis Rubbo led community events during the week to help the public better understand and appreciate the rare event.

In their own words, here are comments from faculty and staff on the momentous occasion:

Mary Ann Adams, law enforcement officer, Public Safety
I think it’s great that this was opened up to staff, families and the community. We’re listed on the NASA website as an official educational location for the eclipse. I wish we had some moon pies and sun chips.

Simone Boissonneault, lecturer, Languages and Intercultural Studies
This is my first day as a faculty member at CCU and my first eclipse. I’m trying to decide if I’m going to let my class out to watch it. I probably will.

Derrick Bracey, adjunct instructor of English
Humidity ruins everything in the South. When I was little, I remember watching the 1979 eclipse through a cardboard box with a pinhole.

Curtis Bryant, electrician, Facilities and Mechanical Maintenance
I remember the one in 1970. They told us in school we could look at it through picture negatives. So I was playing basketball with my brother in the back yard, and we stopped and looked at it through the negatives. It looked like a ring of fire. I’m not going to look at this one, though. I’m about blind now!

Debbie Conner, vice president, Campus Life and Student Engagement
I’m excited for the students It’s a neat shared experience as a community. I do barely remember the 1970 eclipse. My mom and I made a shadow box to look at it.

David LaCombe, media resources specialist, Information Technology Services
This is a great place to witness the eclipse [Prince Lawn], and so unique that it’s falling on the first day of classes. Not disappointed in the turnout!

Harriett Louis, administrative specialist, University Recreation
I think this is fabulous. I just wish the clouds would part!

John Marcis, professor, Finance and Economics
I was at the Wall Building during the eclipse and I heard crickets start chirping. The path for the next total eclipse, in 2024, will go right through Carbondale, Ill., where I earned my bachelor’s degree.

Susannah Marshman, director of new student and family programs
I’m excited for the high level of energy here today. It’s good to have everyone on Prince Lawn for the first day of classes.

John Navin, professor, history
[Because of the cloud cover] this is the biggest non-event in Coastal’s history! But I’d like to invite everyone up to our cabin in Maine in 2024 for a good view of the next one!

Tasha Newcomb, academic adviser, Edwards College of Humanities and Fine Arts
I am a CCU alum and I love that our students are celebrating something that is uniting us at a time when there is so much negative stuff in the news. What an awesome way to start off the new year!

Travis Overton, vice president for executive initiatives and chief of staff
It’s exciting to be able to actually see it and experience it. It’s also wonderful to see everyone out – students, faculty and staff – and so engaged with one another.

Geoff Parsons, director, Center for Global Engagement
I’m happy to be out here sharing this once-in-a-lifetime moment with the extended Coastal family.

Mikie Pylilo, investigator, Public Safety
I remember the 1979 eclipse – all the hype about it. These kids on Prince Lawn today will all remember this event. It’s not as big as Woodstock, but it’s a great event.

Kerry Schwanz, psychology professor
It’s especially exciting for the science people!

Gwendolyn Schwinke, associate professor, Department of Theatre
It’s the first day of my Acting II class and it’s a review class. We are having a general discussion about what it means to be an actor, and I decided we could do that outside. Our class ends at 2:50 p.m., which is about the time the eclipse is supposed to be at its height. I saw a partial eclipse when I was about 12 in Missouri.


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