The Citadel Class of 1979 Leadership Day to be held Oct 20

Citadel cadets frame a house for Habitat for Humanity on Leadership Day 2018

War on Terror Medal of Honor recipient to participate

Photo above: Citadel cadets frame a house for Habitat for Humanity on Leadership Day 2018

The Citadel Class of 1979 Leadership Day is an annual event when more than 1,000 cadets go out into the Lowcountry to help community partners through volunteer service. Others study leadership and ethics with professionals on and off campus. And, each year, a Medal of Honor recipient visits to share their leadership story.

The day is organized by the college’s Krause Center for Leadership and Ethics and is now being funded by The Citadel Class of 1979.

We believe our endowment of The Class of 1979 Leadership Day will have a positive and lasting impact on every cadet, in every class, long after they graduate. It also ensures that the legacy of the Class of 1979 extends well beyond The Citadel’s gates and into the future.

Col. Leo Mercado, USMC (Ret.), former Commandant of Cadets, The Citadel Class of 1979

On this day the regular class schedule is paused and cadets, students and many members of faculty and staff are involved in service learning. Before the pandemic, The Citadel provided an average of 20,000 hours of community service annually. The college hopes to eventually get back to that level of service as more face to face opportunities for volunteers become available.

Honored guest for the day: Sgt. Kyle White, Medal of Honor Recipient

Photo of Sgt. Kyle White courtesy of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Specialist Kyle J. White distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a radio telephone operator with Company C, 2d Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry Regiment, 173d Airborne Brigade, during combat operations against an armed enemy in Nuristan Province, Afghanistan on November 9, 2007. 

Those are the words from the beginning of White’s Medal of Honor citation on the Congressional Medal of Honor website. White will be at The Citadel on Oct. 20 to share his story personally. He’ll be addressing freshmen at 9:30 a.m. in McAlister Field House, which is open to the public. Later in the day, White will be honored by the South Carolina Corps of Cadets on campus during a closing activity.

According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, there have been 3,508 recipients total. White is one of 66 living recipients.

What cadets will do

Leadership Day assignments depend on the grade level of the cadets, as listed below.

Freshmen are led by trained upperclassmen and normally visit elementary schools, engaging the students in an activity to increase their awareness of heroism and service to others. Due to the pandemic, the freshmen will stay on campus this year and create packages and materials for teachers to provide the lesson on heroism at a later date.

Cadets volunteering at Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston for Leadership Day in 2019

Sophomores choose from a variety of service projects on and off campus. Below are some of the places they will be volunteering.

  • Bicycles for Humanity at Porter-Gaud School
  • Bulls Island, Cape Romain Wildlife Refuge
  • Keep Charleston Beautiful cleanup locations: Gadsden Green Housing Authority, Food Lion (King St.), South Carolina Aquarium, Sanders Clyde Elementary School
  • Learn Horse Rescue, Awendaw
  • Lowcountry Orphan Relief
  • Sea Island Habitat for Humanity in Ravenel
  • The Green Heart Project

Juniors The Junior Ethics Enrichment Experience is a one-day seminar on ethical decision making and character development designed to promote ethical culture. Cadets will learn how to recognize the moral dimensions of complex cases, make ethical decisions using well-developed theories and develop their character using virtue ethics.

Seniors The LDRS 411 Senior Leadership Integration Seminar is typically an off-campus, full-day professional development seminar. Cadets engage with career professionals to learn about their leadership and ethics practices, then faculty facilitators aid cadets in planning how to apply their four-year, Citadel Leader Development Program education to their lives their lives after graduation based on their field of study.

New this year will be a closing celebration, honoring Sgt. White, with the entire South Carolina Corps of Cadets on Summerall Field beginning at 5:15 p.m.

Citadel cadets, joined by Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, volunteer with Hope to Home, the Krause Center’s community partner of the year in 2020.