The Citadel Honors First African-American Cadet

Hillery Douglas ’82, William Foster (Brother of Charles Foster), Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa (Citadel President), Lt. Col (Ret.) Bruce Alexander ’82, Dr. Lamont Melvin ’91

During its 2016 Homecoming weekend, The Citadel honored the first black cadet, the late Charles D. Foster, who entered The Citadel in 1966 and graduated in 1970. Nancy Mace, the first female cadet, was also honored for the occasion.

“Charles Foster was a pioneer and should be honored, just as the first female cadet to graduate from the Corps, Nancy Mace, should be honored — what they did was not easy.

“Their courage and tenacity laid the foundation for The Citadel to become more diverse, and therefore stronger year after year,” said Lt. Gen. John W. Rosa, USAF (Ret.), president of The Citadel. “Because of them, and those who followed the path they paved, a culture supporting diversity at all levels evolved, enabling us to work together to develop principled leaders for our nation.”

Under Rosa’s leadership since 2006, The LEAD Plan 2018 was created, outlining the college’s strategic plan to enroll a diverse community of leaders as faculty and staff and to expand cadet and student diversity. Foundational training and education related to the ethical treatment of cultural, gender, racial and religious diversity matters was expanded for the South Carolina Corps of Cadets, and Rosa established a Diversity Council comprised of cadets, students, faculty and staff. Additionally, Rosa has overseen the development of a robust menu of clubs, activities, workshops and services dedicated to fostering an understanding of issues related to diversity, as well as to supporting the success of female and minority students.

“The college’s gender and ethnic student populations reflect the demographics of the other six senior military colleges. The competition to attract top notch minority and female students who have an interest in a military college education is substantial, but we are dedicated to continued growth,” said The Citadel Director of Multicultural Student Services, Robert Pickering, Jr., class of 1994. “We are also dedicated to helping young cadets understand the contributions of alumni like Charles Foster and Nancy Mace, whose fortitude and strength serve as examples for generations to come.”

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