Alumni – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu Tue, 24 Jan 2023 15:15:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.8.6 https://today.citadel.edu/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Citadel-Favion-new-150x150.png Alumni – The Citadel Today https://today.citadel.edu 32 32 144096890 McDougal-Rigney gift establishes scholarship and endowed professorship in honor of Citadel graduate and internationally best-selling “Wheel of Time” author https://today.citadel.edu/mcdougal-rigney-gift-establishes-scholarship-and-endowed-professorship-in-honor-of-citadel-graduate-and-internationally-best-selling-wheel-of-time-author/ Tue, 24 Jan 2023 15:15:38 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=34019 WheelofTimeWheelofTimeJames Rigney, perhaps better known by his pen name Robert Jordan, will be memorialized at The Citadel with an endowed professorship and scholarship in his name.]]> WheelofTimeWheelofTime

James Rigney, perhaps better known by his pen name Robert Jordan, will be memorialized at The Citadel with an endowed professorship and scholarship in his name. His widow and former editor, Harriet McDougal-Rigney, has generously provided the gift in his honor — creating the endowed James O. Rigney Jr., ’74, Professorship in Electrical Engineering and the James O. Rigney Jr., ’74, Electrical Engineering Scholarship.

In 2022, McDougal-Rigney began working with The Citadel Foundation to establish two significant endowed gifts, worth a combined one million dollars, to The Citadel School of Engineering to create the endowed chair and scholarship, which will provide a substantial benefit to the college’s electrical engineering department. This gift will also help meet two objectives that are part of the college’s strategic plan, Our Mighty Citadel 2026.

“This gift is transformational to the department. The work of electrical and computer engineers impacts every aspect of modern society, and the need for principled, highly qualified graduates has never been higher,” said Mark McKinney, Ph.D., professor and head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “Mrs. Rigney’s generous gift will help The Citadel attract and retain top faculty and students to help us meet this demand.”

The James O. Rigney Jr., ’74, Electrical Engineering Scholarship will help the college recruit and retain high-caliber engineering cadets and students by providing merit-based financial resources, with preference given to electrical engineering majors from the Lowcountry.

The recipient of the endowed James O. Rigney Jr., ’74, Professorship in Electrical Engineering will be a pivotal faculty appointment providing an additional source of funding to support the professor’s work and research in the field.

Rigney graduated from The Citadel as a veteran student in 1974 with a degree in physics after serving in Vietnam. His writing career began in 1977, with his first book in the renowned “Wheel of Time” series being published in 1990. Rigney’s ties with The Citadel continued, and the college awarded him an honorary doctorate of literature in 1999. His presence is still seen on campus — books from “The Wheel of Time” series are housed among the collections of the Daniel Library’s Rare Books Room, and books and memorabilia celebrating Rigney’s literary career are on public display in the library. Michael Livingston, Ph.D., an English professor at The Citadel and author of the recently published “Origins of The Wheel of Time,” a companion volume to Rigney’s bestselling series, was given Rigney’s old writing desk and chair, as well as some other personal items that can be seen in his office.

“My husband was immensely proud of the engineering education he received at The Citadel,” said McDougal-Rigney. These generous gifts offered in her husband’s memory will improve access and affordability for cadets and students interested in attending The Citadel, as well as help the college continue to retain and compensate talented faculty and staff.

The Citadel School of Engineering is ranked as one of the Top 25 Undergraduate Engineering programs and is one of the first five engineering programs established in the country.

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First Step: Don’t worry if you need to course-correct https://today.citadel.edu/first-step-dont-worry-if-you-need-to-course-correct/ Fri, 23 Dec 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=33941 Emily PerkinsEmily PerkinsEmily Perkins, EIT, S.M. ASCE, 22, graduated from The Citadel and took a job as a structural design engineer with engineering firm Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson Inc.]]> Emily PerkinsEmily Perkins

Note: Emily Perkins is a member of the Class of 2022. She was a member of the rifle team. (Photo courtesy: American Society of Civil Engineers)

As seen in ASCE, by T.R. Witcher

Emily Perkins, EIT, S.M. ASCE, 22, graduated in May with a Bachelor of Science degree from The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, and took a job as a structural design engineer with South Carolina-based engineering firm Johnson, Mirmiran & Thompson Inc. She was one of ASCE’s New Faces of Civil Engineering – College honorees in 2021.

Working in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics field and helping people appealed to her from a young age, but her initial post-graduation plans to join the Navy after majoring in civil engineering were unexpectedly derailed. She quickly pivoted in a new direction. Here’s how she did it:

Civil Engineering Online: How did you get interested in civil engineering?

EP: I grew up building a lot of Legos. That was our main Christmas present, so we had this huge Lego town. My dad also did civil engineering, so it was just enjoyable. I knew I wanted to do something in STEM. Civil engineering to me seemed more of a resource to help people compared to other STEM fields. I just enjoyed building structures which people could use.

Why did you study civil engineering at The Citadel?

I grew up in South Carolina, in Charleston, so it was a place I knew, and they had a very good program.

How did you go about finding your first job?

Originally, I was supposed to be in the Navy as a nuclear officer. I was on scholarship, but then I ended up having surgery and didn’t qualify anymore, so that was a little bit stressful. I spoke with a few of my teachers, and one of them recommended me to JMT, which is where I’m currently working. So that’s how I got in contact with the company.

When did you realize that the Navy wasn’t going to pan out and that you would have to change directions?

I realized that I was going be shifting into civilian work instead of commissioning in the Navy about three months before graduation. This was a very short time for me to transition my efforts and thoughts and to plan for a different future. It was very challenging, but I practiced several methods to manage my time and stress. I spent significant time planning how to pass my Fundamentals of Engineering exam before graduation, which is the first step in getting your P.E. license, as I knew this would help me appeal to engineering firms after graduation. I scheduled numerous meetings with professors to ask them for advice and guidance on what to priorities moving forward and how to contact local engineering firms. Although this time was very stressful for me, I was also excited to pursue my interests in structural engineering after graduation.

Were there are any faculty at The Citadel who helped you?

Two professors that tremendously helped me during that period were Kweku Brown, Ph.D., P.E., and John Ryan, Ph.D., P.E., Dr. Brown helped me throughout my four years at The Citadel by helping me apply and receive several scholarships and awards through The Citadel’s civil engineering department. During the countdown to my graduation, I had several meetings with Dr. Brown where he advised me on how to approach civil engineering firms for interviews, and he pointed out several engineering firms that fit my interests. Dr. Ryan generously gave me much advice on how to transition into the civilian workforce in such a short time. Dr. Ryan ultimately recommended me to the vice president of JMT, the company I decided to pursue after graduation.

Click here to read the full story in ASCE

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Drayton Named Head Football Coach https://today.citadel.edu/drayton-named-head-football-coach/ Wed, 14 Dec 2022 19:28:38 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=33932 Maurice DraytonMaurice DraytonFormer Bulldog player and defensive coordinator Maurice Drayton has been named the next head football coach at The Citadel.]]> Maurice DraytonMaurice Drayton

From The Citadel Athletics

Former Bulldog player and defensive coordinator Maurice Drayton has been named the next head football coach at The Citadel. The announcement was made by Director of Athletics Mike Capaccio on Tuesday.

“We are very excited to have Maurice back at The Citadel,” said Capaccio. “We conducted a very thorough search and it was clear that Maurice was the best person for this position. He understands what it takes to be a cadet-athlete at The Citadel, and also understands what it takes to be successful on the field.”

A former standout player and defensive coordinator, Drayton returns to The Citadel after spending the previous seven seasons working in the NFL. He most recently served as the assistant special teams coordinator for the Las Vegas Raiders. Drayton also served as the special teams coordinator in Green Bay in 2021, assistant special teams coordinator for the Packers from 2018-20, and the special teams coordinator for Indianapolis Colts in 2016-17.

In his final season in Green Bay, Drayton worked with newcomer P Corey Bojorquez, who finished with the highest gross punting average (46.5 avg.) in a season (min. 35 punts) in franchise history. He also saw K Mason Crosby set a new franchise record with a streak of 24 consecutive field goals made from 2019-2021.

Drayton’s first season with the Colts saw him guide Pat McAfee to his second Pro Bowl after leading the league with a 49.3 yard average. Additionally, he helped Adam Vinatieri register his 19th and 20th 100-point seasons, extending his NFL record.

“I want to thank Gen. Walters, Mike Capaccio and the entire committee for giving me this opportunity. I made the decision several years ago to take the road less traveled, and it allowed me to meet people that have remained loyal.

“I believe in the divine power of God and that has moved in the minds of those who extended the invitation to return home. For me and my family, Moncks Corner, Charleston and The Citadel will always be home. I am prepared to assist in taking our school to the next level.”

Drayton served as The Citadel’s defensive coordinator from 2014-15, helping the Bulldogs to the 2015 Southern Conference Championship. The 2015 defense led the conference with 31 takeaways, 11 fumble recoveries, 10 passing TDs allowed and a 36.5 opponent third-down conversion percentage. The defense also ranked third in the FCS with 20 interceptions, including five returned for touchdowns.

All-in-all, Drayton has spent 14 seasons at The Citadel as a player or coach. He earned his bachelor’s degree in physical education in 1998 and his master’s in education in 2007.

As a player, Drayton was a two-year starter at cornerback and finished his career with 145 tackles, 17 pass break-ups and three interceptions.

After completing his eligibility in 1998, Drayton spent the next seven seasons as a member of the Bulldog coaching staff. He began as a graduate assistant/secondary coach, before spending the 2000 season coaching the tackles/tight ends. He also worked with the wide receivers (2001) and outside linebackers (2002), before spending the 2003-05 seasons coaching the secondary, special teams and serving as the recruiting coordinator.

Drayton spent the 2006 season as the defensive coordinator for the Seinajoki (Finland) Crocodiles of the European Football League. He spent 2007 as an assistant principal and assistant coach at Goose Creek High School.

Drayton joined the staff at South Carolina State in 2008, coaching the defensive backs and special teams. In his two seasons in Orangeburg, Drayton helped SCSU capture a pair of Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) titles.

Drayton spent the 2010-11 seasons as the assistant head coach, special teams coordinator and wide receivers coach at Coastal Carolina.

He would serve as the secondary coach for former Bulldog head coach Ellis Johnson at Southern Miss in 2012 before working with the defense and special teams with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League in 2013.
 
A native of Moncks Corner, South Carolina, Drayton and his wife are the proud parents of two children.

For more information on Drayton’s coaching career, click here.

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Robert Pickering named Chief Inclusive Excellence Officer at The Citadel https://today.citadel.edu/robert-pickering-named-chief-inclusive-excellence-officer-at-the-citadel/ Tue, 13 Dec 2022 21:47:19 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=33919 Robert PickeringRobert PickeringRobert Pickering, a member of The Citadel Class of 1994, has been promoted to Chief Inclusive Excellence Officer.]]> Robert PickeringRobert Pickering

Robert Pickering, a member of The Citadel Class of 1994, has been promoted to Chief Inclusive Excellence Officer.

In this position, Pickering will lead, develop and enhance a culture of diversity and inclusion at The Citadel, in support of the college’s mission, core values and the Our Mighty Citadel 2026 strategic plan.

“As the Chief Inclusive Excellence Officer, my goal is to advance and support The Citadel’s mission of developing principled leaders in all walks of life,” said Pickering. “Whether its cadets, faculty, or staff, continuing to provide a professional environment for all members of The Citadel family – regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs – is critical to the college’s core values of honor, duty and respect.”

Pickering replaces Dr. Shawn Edwards, who was the first person to serve as Chief Inclusive Excellence Officer for The Citadel. 

Prior to this role, Pickering was the director for Multicultural Student Services. He has served in a variety of roles since joining the college as an employee in 1995, including admissions counselor, associate director of admissions focused on recruiting minority and underrepresented students, director of the Student Success Center, director of The Citadel Success Institute and an ombudsman.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to continue this mission. We have made, and continue to make, significant progress when it comes to ensuring The Citadel is a place where everyone is welcomed,” Pickering continued.

Pickering’s experiences at The Citadel have shaped his perspective in many ways. As a cadet, he was part of the African American Society and served as their president his senior year.

“I know firsthand what it was like as an underrepresented student 30 years ago – I started my knob year in 1990. For others like me who are in an underrepresented population, I can say The Citadel’s efforts to create an open campus, one where differences are appreciated and respected, reflects the college’s commitment to our core values,” said Pickering. “I want to continue making The Citadel a better place for all cadets, students, faculty and staff.”  

Pickering, a Charleston native and Burke High School alum, graduated from The Citadel in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In addition to the African American Society, Pickering was part of the Accounting Club and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He also earned his Master of Arts in Social Science from The Citadel in 2007.

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Interview with U.S. Marine Corps Capt. Grace Jenkins, ’18, 2022 47th Marine Corps Marathon First Place Winner https://today.citadel.edu/interview-with-u-s-marine-corps-capt-grace-jenkins-18-2022-47th-marine-corps-marathon-first-place-winner/ Fri, 25 Nov 2022 15:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=33818 Grace JenkinsGrace JenkinsOver 11,400 runners participated in the 47th Marine Corps Marathon on October 23, 2022. Citadel graduate, Capt. Grace Jenkins, won first place in her division. ]]> Grace JenkinsGrace Jenkins

Note: Capt. Grace Jenkins is a member of the Class of 2018. She served on third battalion staff and was a member of the cross country and track team. (Photo courtesy: Lance Cpl. Cody Purcell)

As seen in DVIDS, by Lance Cpl. Cody Purcell

Over 11,400 runners participated in the 47th Marine Corps Marathon, also referred to as “The People’s Marathon,” that took place on October 23, 2022. Completing a marathon, let alone placing in one, is no easy feat. Any runner, whether this was their first or 10th marathon, could tell you that it takes both physical and mental resilience to finish.

Lance Cpl. Purcell: Could you tell me a bit about where you are from?

Capt. Jenkins: Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. Go tribe!

Lance Cpl. Purcell: What got you started with running competitively? And which major races have you competed in up to this point?

Capt. Jenkins: I began running track in fifth grade and looked up to my sister who ran the very daunting “mile” event. I too took on the mile and learned quickly the farther you run, the slower you can go. Major races I’ve done include the 2016 Boston Marathon, Maysville to Macon a 50 miler and the 2022 NCAA Regional Cross Country Meet in San Diego, California. I ran track and cross country at The Citadel and primarily ran the 5k and 10k.

Lance Cpl. Purcell: When did you join the Marine Corps and what was your reasoning for joining?

Capt. Jenkins: I commissioned in the Marine Corps on 5 May 2018. I followed my brother into the Marine Corps after completing four years of NROTC at The Citadel. The Citadel gave me the opportunity to run for them and the Marine Corps took away the financial burden of figuring out how to pay for it.

Lance Cpl. Purcell: While you were at The Citadel, did you find that running was something that you were really passionate about? Or was it becoming a challenge to uphold?

Capt. Jenkins: I went to The Citadel on a running scholarship, so I kind of had to be passionate about it. But I grew to love marathon running a bit more than track and cross country. But not to say I didn’t enjoy cross country and track while I was there, I had a lot of good competition there and some great teammates to run with. The biggest difference running a marathon versus cross country or track is that marathons are a lot more endurance based and it’s a little bit harder to pace yourself, whereas on a track, you’ve constantly got your coach calling your lap telling your splits so it’s a lot easier to stay methodical on like a track event versus running on open roads for 26.2 miles.

Lance Cpl. Purcell: How do you prepare for these races and what goes through your head when running races?

Capt. Jenkins: A training plan made up of long runs, speed workouts, tempo workouts, and strength training all centralized around my goal race pace is what I use to prepare for the Marine Corps Marathon. During races I tend to zone out from extrinsic factors and sometimes don’t even look at my watch until midway through the race so that I don’t have any mental shift or panic of going too fast or slow.

Lance Cpl. Purcell: When were you first introduced to the Marine Corps running team, and how did you become a member?

Capt. Jenkins: At my basic school [The Basic School] by a fellow member of my platoon, Paul Armijo, who also was on the team and my dedicated running friend.

Lance Cpl. Purcell: Are there ever any doubts about how you’ll perform? How do you deal with them?

Capt. Jenkins: When you have a specific training plan, know your ability, prepare for what you can, it takes a lot of uncertainty out of the race. However, there are a number of things you just can’t predict but rather just get better at adapting to.

Click here to read the full story in DVIDS

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Remembering Maxine Hudson, the first woman to graduate from The Citadel https://today.citadel.edu/remembering-maxine-hudson-the-first-woman-to-graduate-from-the-citadel/ Tue, 22 Nov 2022 16:56:22 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=33824 Maxine HudsonMaxine HudsonThe Citadel is mourning the loss of the first woman to earn a degree from The Citadel Graduate College.]]> Maxine HudsonMaxine Hudson

The Citadel is mourning the loss of the first woman to earn a degree from The Citadel Graduate College.

Maxine Hudson passed away on November 18, 2022.

She became the first woman to graduate from The Citadel after completing the degree requirements for a Master of Art in Teaching in Dec. 1969. Hudson and six other women formally accepted their diplomas during a commencement ceremony on May 30, 1970.

Hudson, who taught history for years at North Charleston High School, first started taking undergraduate courses on The Citadel campus during summers in the 1950s when cadets were not present, through a University of South Carolina extension program for teachers. She joined The Citadel’s graduate program when it was founded in Sept. 1968.

In 2020, Hudson marked the 50th anniversary of her commencement and spoke with Tessa Updike, director of The Citadel Archives, about her time at The Citadel.

Maxine Hudson speaking on phone and via zoom about being the first woman graduate at the citadel in 1970
Maxine Hudson via Zoom, interviewing with The Citadel Archives in 2020

Obituary from The Post and Courier

Maxine Taylor Hudson, dedicated and loving wife of the late Dr. Herschel C. Hudson of Charleston and wonderful mother to Shera Lynn Hudson of Stone Mountain, Georgia was lost to us all at the age of 94 on November 18, 2022.  Her contributions to the community and state were enumerable.  For thirty-eight years, she taught U.S. History, Government, and Economics to North Charleston High School students whom she loved and wanted to know what they should do to become good citizens and successful in life.  She was their Junior Class sponsor for many years and served as Social Studies Chairperson and on the Superintendent’s Advisory Board.  She was chosen as Star Teacher and three times as a national Taft Fellow.  She wrote the first integrated history of the state of South Carolina and was the first woman to complete a degree from The Citadel (December 1969.)  She was honored during Women’s History Month in 2014.  Her sharp quick mind, great sense of humor, and the wavy raven hair and green eyes of her youth will be remembered by many.

She is survived by her daughter and nieces Paula Taylor Seiling of Perrysburg, OH, Pam Taylor Walczak of Maumee, OH and Jennifer Taylor of Columbia, SC. 

The family will receive friends from 11:00 until 12:00 p.m., Tuesday, November 22, 2022 at Meares Funeral Home in Mullins. Her final resting place will be with her family at Riverside Cemetery in Nichols, SC, her childhood hometown.  

Maxine requested that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to her GoFundMe page or to East Cooper Meals on Wheels, P.O. Box 583, Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina 29465.

An online guestbook is available at www.mearesfh.com.

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Mission Essential: Special Agent Ty Yount, ’99 https://today.citadel.edu/mission-essential-special-agent-ty-yount-99/ Thu, 17 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=33734 Ty YountTy YountTy Yount was a middle school student in Morganton, North Carolina, when the Gulf War played out on the evening news and inspired in him a need to serve. He was a well-rounded student—an athlete, a member of the band and an Eagle Scout. In 1993, in the days before the internet explosion, it was from a bookshelf in his guidance counselor’s office that he discovered The Citadel.]]> Ty YountTy Yount

“Mission Essential” is an upcoming feature in The Citadel magazine about four graduates who have been brought together in their work with the Secret Service to ensure the protection of the nation’s highest elected leaders.

The full story is scheduled to be published later this month at magazine.citadel.edu. Prior to publication, each of the four alumni will be introduced individually on The Citadel Today.

Ty Yount was a middle school student in Morganton, North Carolina, when the Gulf War played out on the evening news and inspired in him a need to serve. He was a well-rounded student—an athlete, a member of the band and an Eagle Scout. In 1993, in the days before the internet explosion, it was from a bookshelf in his guidance counselor’s office that he discovered The Citadel.

“I was like a moth to a flame,” Yount said. “I went for a weekend visit, and then, of course, I was hooked.”

Yount majored in physics and served as First Battalion commander. As a rank holder and a member of the Class of 1999, he assisted in the successful assimilation of women into the Corps.

“The Citadel is an environment that breeds driven and successful people. All colleges do, but The Citadel is different,” said Yount. “We produce a person who’s different after those four years than who they were when they came in. The Marine Corps is the same way. When you are successful in those environments, you feel confident to meet any challenge.”

After graduating, Yount got married in Summerall Chapel and embarked on an eight-year career in the U.S. Marine Corps that included deployments to Okinawa and Iraq.

The hiring process to get in the Secret Service was intense, and Yount actually had to apply twice, but he was determined, and in 2008, he began his Secret Service career in the Dallas field office. After 14 years with the agency, Yount is still in his element.

“The Secret Service is an environment rich in comradery, selflessness and fellowship that motivates you to match the performance of the person next to you. On any given assignment, you can look around and see so many remarkable people you get to work with every day,” said Yount. “I don’t want it to sound cliche, and certainly I’m biased, but I don’t think there’s another agency who matches us with regard to principles, work ethic, morals—the values that exist within the Secret Service will make you a better person.”

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Mission Essential: Special Agent Andrew Lempp, ’94 https://today.citadel.edu/mission-essential-special-agent-andrew-lempp-94/ Wed, 16 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=33731 Andrew LemppAndrew LemppWhen Andrew Lempp was 10, he tagged along with his father and his 16-year-old brother on a visit from their Jamestown, North Carolina, home to The Citadel. His brother quickly decided he wanted no part of the military college, but Lempp, who dreamed of going into the military or law enforcement, was intrigued.]]> Andrew LemppAndrew Lempp

“Mission Essential” is an upcoming feature in The Citadel magazine about four graduates who have been brought together in their work with the Secret Service to ensure the protection of the nation’s highest elected leaders.

The full story is scheduled to be published later this month at magazine.citadel.edu. Prior to publication, each of the four alumni will be introduced individually on The Citadel Today.

When Andrew Lempp was 10, he tagged along with his father and his 16-year-old brother on a visit from their Jamestown, North Carolina, home to The Citadel. His brother quickly decided he wanted no part of the military college, but Lempp, who dreamed of going into the military or law enforcement, was intrigued.

From The Citadel, where he was a Kilo Company cadet, a political science major and a Summerall Guard, he became a logistics plans officer in the Air Force working on deployment plans. He then accepted an assignment as a command and control officer coordinating airlift missions for the Army.

Lempp became interested in working for the Secret Service after talking with an agent in charge of a transportation advance at McChord Air Force Base during Vice President’s Al Gore’s visit to Seattle in 1995.  He was lured to the agency by the promise of worldwide travel combined with law enforcement. During his phase two assignment, he worked on the treasury secretary’s detail for one year and on presidential detail for four and a half years. Before joining the Office of Protective Operations in July, he traveled worldwide and oversaw the protective details for heads of state—kings, queens, presidents, prime ministers.

“I always enjoyed history,” said Lempp, “and just seeing some of the things that we get to see—11:00 at night, being the only person standing on the south grounds of the White House, looking at the house lit up is a neat thing. Or being in an award ceremony for a Medal of Honor recipient or just being next to history as it occurs.”

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Mission Essential: Special Agent Brent Daniels, ’99 https://today.citadel.edu/mission-essential-special-agent-brent-daniels-99/ Tue, 15 Nov 2022 14:00:00 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=33728 Brent DanielsBrent DanielsBrent Daniels was a freshman playing intramural football on Summerall Field when the football team, returning from practice, stopped to watch. Later that night, the Atlanta native got a visit from two seniors. The next day he found himself talking to the coaching staff and joining the varsity team. He played his sophomore and junior years.  As a senior, he gave up football to serve as the vice chairman of the honor court.]]> Brent DanielsBrent Daniels

“Mission Essential” is an upcoming feature in The Citadel magazine about four graduates who have been brought together in their work with the Secret Service to ensure the protection of the nation’s highest elected leaders.

The full story is scheduled to be published later this month at magazine.citadel.edu. Prior to publication, each of the four alumni will be introduced individually on The Citadel Today.

Brent Daniels was a freshman playing intramural football on Summerall Field when the football team, returning from practice, stopped to watch. Later that night, the Atlanta native got a visit from two seniors.

“Daniels.”

“Sir, yes sir.”

“Do you play football?

“Sir, yes sir.”

“Do you want to play football?”

“Sir, yes sir.”

The next day he found himself talking to the coaching staff and joining the varsity team. He played his sophomore and junior years.  As a senior, he gave up football to serve as the vice chairman of the honor court.

“The world is starving for leadership and decency and principled people. And in very plain terms, The Citadel is a factory for the hardworking, dedicated, selfless, smart and aspirational. People embrace every experience—whether adverse or rewarding, victory or defeat—and unleash their talents on a world, not just our nation, but a world that is really deprived of that presence, and they really just seek to be a light in the world,” said Daniels. “The Citadel is filling a need that is in the greatest demand I’ve ever known.”

After graduating in 1999 with a degree in English, Daniels began his law enforcement career with the Cobb County Police Department in the Atlanta metropolitan area. He graduated from the police academy on a Friday, and on Saturday evening he was out on his first patrol with his field training officer. Within 15 minutes he found himself on a high-speed pursuit of an armed fugitive from Louisiana who had taken two lives. When the fugitive jumped out of his vehicle, Daniels jumped out of the patrol car and tackled him before he reached the wood line.

It was an auspicious beginning to what has been a storybook career in law enforcement.

From patrol, Daniels worked in a gang investigation unit. After that, he was promoted to detective and worked in counter terrorism with a joint terrorism task force. Four years later, he started as a Secret Service agent. In his 18 years with the agency, he has worked in investigations in the Atlanta field office and served as a member of the elite counter assault team, completed three tours on presidential protective detail and served as the deputy campaign coordinator for the 2020 election. Today, he is the coordinator for the 2024 presidential campaign security team.

“In my current position, for the first time in agency history, we have a full-time campaign branch within my division, dedicated to preparing for future presidential campaigns. I lead a team of professionals who write the policy, who propose the budgets, who acquire and support requisitions, who train, who design training curriculums, who draft the interagency agreements with our strategic partners, who work with the major parties. We track polling to identify potential major candidates for the offices that they’re aspiring to fill. We pre-position equipment throughout the country based on polling data, based on operational data, going all the way back, probably 25 years’ worth of campaign data.”

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Mission Essential: Special Agent Yates Gupton, ’97 https://today.citadel.edu/mission-essential-special-agent-yates-gupton-97/ Mon, 14 Nov 2022 18:22:50 +0000 https://today.citadel.edu/?p=33715 Yates GuptonYates Gupton“I knew it was gonna be tough, and I knew it was gonna be a challenge. And I think that's part of what drew me. It's unique. Not everybody can do it.”]]> Yates GuptonYates Gupton

“Mission Essential” is an upcoming feature in The Citadel magazine about four graduates who have been brought together in their work with the Secret Service to ensure the protection of the nation’s highest elected leaders.

The full story is scheduled to be published later this month at magazine.citadel.edu. Prior to publication, each of the four alumni will be introduced individually on The Citadel Today.

“I knew it was gonna be tough, and I knew it was gonna be a challenge. And I think that’s part of what drew me,” he said. “It’s unique. Not everybody can do it.”

Yates Gupton, ’97, may very well have been talking about his job as the Secret Service assistant special agent in charge of staffing and logistics for the Office of Protective Operations, but instead he was talking about his alma mater.

Gupton and his younger brother, Joel, grew up in Supply, North Carolina, a small coastal community 30 miles south of Wilmington. His mother was a high school English teacher, and his father was an electrician at the paper mill. His Aunt Pat, who had a mysterious job with the CIA, sent the two boys packages from all over the world, sparking an interest in far-away places that had them scurrying to the encyclopedia to learn more.

When he was 9, Gupton attended a summer baseball camp on campus and decided then that he wanted to go to The Citadel. And when Aunt Pat retired and settled in the Charleston area, her James Island home became the perfect base of operations for Gupton and his Tango Company classmates who dropped in to eat Chinese food and watch “Smokey and the Bandit” on the VCR.

Gupton began his career in law enforcement with the North Carolina State Highway Patrol in Raleigh. Six years later, he joined the Secret Service in the Charlotte field office, where he worked in electronic investigations, dealing with computer hardware and computer systems, conducting forensics.

Now in the third phase of his Secret Service career, Gupton is occupied in what is known as the “war room,” coordinating all Secret Service protective details to ensure that they have the personnel to carry out their protective missions.

Gupton’s 17 years on the job have been action packed — he was present when President and First Lady Obama joined the Queen of England for lunch on her 90th birthday and on President Trump’s 2019 visit to Normandy for the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at the gravesite of almost 10,000 American service members. 

“One of the things that you don’t know until you’re on the job is some of the places you’re going to go, some of the people you’re going to see, some of the things you’re going to do. I don’t know where else you would get the opportunity but the Secret Service.”

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