Photo above: Professor Chris Fudge addressing incoming freshmen during The Citadel Summer Success Institute in August 2021
It is with a sad and heavy heart that I share with you the passing of a very beloved Citadel professor and colleague, Chris Fudge.
From the time she arrived on our campus in 2000, Chris Fudge worked tirelessly to add value to the educational experiences of Citadel cadets. In her early years, she served first as Assistant Director and later Director of what we then called the Writing Center (precursor of the Student Success Center). In that role, she recruited and trained both professional and student tutors to work with cadets to improve their writing skills. She also taught English 101 during that time.
She then was asked to join the Office of the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs, where she developed the extensive curriculum we now use for the LDRS 101 course, a college success course which all freshmen take. She authored the first textbook for that course designed specifically for Citadel students, and she took on the responsibility of recruiting and training faculty from every department across the campus to teach in this important program. The results of her efforts were quite impressive: the average Grade Point Ratio for Citadel freshmen improved significantly just one year after that course was implemented, and freshmen now benefit each year from the fruits of her labors.
“I was fortunate to co-teach the freshmen seminar course with Chris and learned firsthand how very passionate and dedicated Chris was to helping her students learn and ultimately succeed,” said Diana Cheshire, Assistant Provost for Teaching and Learning.
Several years ago, Chris was asked to take over the supervision of our already very good CSI (Citadel Success Institute) summer program for entering cadets. Under her leadership, new courses were added to the list of choices incoming freshmen could take for credit before they matriculated in August. She also worked with the Commandant’s Office to develop a comprehensive physical training program to ensure that incoming freshmen would be ready for the physical challenges of entering the Corps, and she added field trips and other activities on weekends, which involved community service or team-building while also giving CSI students a chance to learn more about the Charleston area.
“I worked closely with Chris and I have never known a more fearless advocate for students. She often worked into the evening helping her students with academics or other concerns on campus,” shared Todd Shealy, Student Services Manager.
After seeing an example of a Curriculum Map for Majors developed by the Department of Civil Engineering, Chris realized that every major on campus could benefit from having that sort of easy-to-follow diagram of what courses students needed to take when. She worked with every Department Head to develop similar diagrams for every major we offer at The Citadel. All of those are now readily available on our website for students and faculty members to use for student advising each semester.
“Chris truly believed in every student’s potential. At every point in her 21-year career at The Citadel, she was a champion of any change that would help students succeed. Her impact on student programming will have a lasting effect on the College,” said Kevin Bower, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs.
Chris also developed the first webpage designed specifically for parents of cadets to answer their questions about cadet life and experiences. She spent endless hours on the phone reassuring worried parents, answering their questions and easing concerns.
She led the company adviser program, which involved recruiting and training company advisors. Additionally, she was the adviser for 3rd Battalion and Lima Company. Chris was a friend and mentor to cadets and colleagues alike.
“Last but not least, Chris and her husband, Royce ’70 and ‘81, served as Freshman Sponsors for a large number of out-of-state cadets, giving them a “home away from home” they could visit on the weekends. In that role, she did everything from providing home-cooked meals to giving free access to her washer and dryer. The relationships she developed with cadets in that role lasted for many years after “her freshmen” had graduated,” shared Mark Bebensee, former Provost and Professor Emeritus.
“As everyone who ever worked with her knew, Chris Fudge was a vigorous, hard-driving individual. There was nothing laid-back or easy-going about her. But it was that hard-charging, “never take no for an answer” personality that enabled her to do so much good for the young men and women of the Corps of Cadets,” shared David Allen, former Associate Provost for Academic Affairs and Professor Emeritus. Day after day, year after year, Chris did everything she could to help cadets overcome the hurdles—academic and otherwise—The Citadel put before them. She cajoled and encouraged, and she pushed them to persevere and do better. The success of our graduates, of all those alumni whom she helped when they were discouraged cadets, is Chris’s lasting legacy.
Chris Fudge embodied our mission to educate and develop principled leaders. She will be greatly missed.
Sally Selden, Ph.D., SPHR, The Citadel Provost and Dean of the College