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General's Journal: Oxford on the Ashley
Roger C. Poole, Ph.D.
Roger C. Poole '59 Ph.D.
Major General, UMSC
President of the College
Let me offer a few examples:
This cascade of similarities dawned on me after I learned of a ploy Oxford students used to beat their system of all-ins. When Oxford was all-male, students were supposed to be inside the gates by the time they locked promptly after the bell tower clock struck its last chime at 2100. Just as cadets have done for generations, the Oxford students devised ways to return or depart when they wished, locked gates notwithstanding. They brokered deals with neighbors, getting permission to shimmy up or down the exterior drain pipes or climb through their bedroom windows in exchange for a small payment. Our cadets donít pay anybody; they just climb over the fence, slip through the Dunneman Gate or employ other ingenious scams.
Of course The Citadel is not an Oxford clone in Charleston; both colleges are unique. Oxford is an intellectual oasis educating world-class scholars. The Citadel is a military college educating world-class leaders.
The Citadelís unchanging mission to develop citizen soldiers prepared to lead and to serve remains an important element of our sense of place. We take pride in the military character that makes us distinctive among colleges and universities all claiming to produce leaders. And I believe it is our unique military character that also makes The Citadel an excellent college. Our military component strengthens the academics by helping cadets develop a sense of discipline and focus that they might never do on their own.
The Citadelís sense of place is a mosaic formed by the white barracks, gray uniforms, the green parade fields, the strains of bagpipes and a host of other qualities that color our perceptions. Despite our similarities with other great schools, The Citadel will never be Oxford, or Virginia Military Institute or the College of Charleston. We are The Citadel Ė a unique jewel on the Ashley that will continue striving to educate principled leaders for future generations.
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