Graduation for The Citadel, Class of 2015 is just a few months away. The questions about graduation week are picking up on the Facebook groups and in my private inbox. Most of the questions parents have including the schedule, ticket information, etc., can be answered on the Commencement 2015 page of the school website.
A few important tips follow:
If you haven’t done so already secure your hotel or lodging accommodations ASAP.
The seniors have to be out of the barracks before Friday. Check with your cadet about their plans to move out.
Events for graduating seniors begin Thursday before the Saturday graduation. See the Schedule of Events prior to arrival to plan your trip.
For Legacy graduates, Commissioning cadets and cadets who receive Lifetime Memberships to the Citadel Alumni Association, see the Special Events For Selected Groups schedule for important information.
Some cadet companies have parties planned for graduation weekend. Check with your cadet and their friends to see if something is already planned. Some families rent beach houses and host a gathering too.
The cadets who will commission into a branch of the military traditionally give a silver dollar to the person who renders their first salute. You can find helpful information about that tradition on several web sites. Marlow White: The First Salute – the Silver Dollar Tradition, A site that sells coins for the first salute: First Salute You can also find them on Amazon.com and coin dealers.
In the next several months the commissioning seniors will also have to purchase their dress uniforms. My son handled this on his own. I’m sure if your cadet has questions they can get information from their ROTC office on campus.
The commissioning service for the Army is usually the largest group and they start off early Friday morning. Be sure to arrive up to an hour before the scheduled start time to get a seat. The chapel fills up early. The cadet and the two people who will pin their bars on sit in a designated area, the other guests sit behind the commissioning cadets. The services for Navy, Marine and Air Force cadets are not as crowded.
Parents weekend 2014 was to be a little vacation for our family. We looked forward to seeing a few old friends and meeting new ones. This was our first trip to Charleston for Parents’s Weekend since my son was a senior in 2010.
We did get to Charleston as planned an hour before the seniors marched into the field house to receive their hard-earned rings. We joined the other families along Jones Avenue to get a glimpse of the knobs lining the street and the seniors marching down the road with huge grins on their faces.
Within in the first few minutes of snapping photos the plans for a restful weekend went out the window. I was across from second battalion snapping photos and my husband was stepping up onto a bench to get a better angle of the seniors. As I was snapping photos I heard our daughter scream. I turned to see my husband laying flat on his back in front of the bench. My heart sank as I ran the few feet to be by his side.
He said his ankle hurt, then exclaimed, “My lens!” My husband is a professional photographer. His 28-300 lens was shattered. While the crowd around him asked what hurt, he was more worried about the broken lens.
I’ve learned that while on the campus of The Citadel we run into the parents we were supposed to run into. Last Friday was no exception. Within minutes of arriving on campus. I ran i to my long time friend from high school in NJ, Gwen Lynch Christ. Right after Stanley fell off the bench a couple whom I had corresponded with via Facebook appeared. Terrie Lane said, “Dorie, this is Gene, have you two met in person before?” Gene Lane, a Citadel dad I met through Facebook who has a background in sports medicine, was next to Stanley asking if he could help.
Gene helped Stanley onto the bench and began to evaluate the situation. Stanley was in so much pain at the time it was hard for him to respond. Terrie ran to the battalion and asked the TAC officer for ice. Gene wrapped the right foot with the ice and a cadet with a gold cart arrived to take Stanley and our daughter to the car. At this point Stanley assumed he had a sprained ankle. He had stepped off the bench and rolled his ankle when he caught the edge of the concrete footing. We decided I would go to the field house to get photos of my “adopted” senior cadet. I’ve followed the career of Cadet Lucas since before matriculation day his knob year and wanted to be there to see him receive his ring. Stanley and Chelle went to the car and decided to meet us at 4th battalion.
I watched from the top of an aisle in the field house then left to find Stanley and Chelle by 4th battalion. Stanley was still insisting his ankle was sprained. He took photos of the seniors sprinting back to the barracks. He took photos of the proud families celebrating with their cadets. He then took photos of Cadet Lucas with his ring, with his mom and friend and with us. At some point Stanley turned to me and said, “I need to get my foot x-rayed. Something doesn’t feel right.”
We loaded our van and went to the emergency room at Roper Hospital just over a mile from the campus. Sure enough the x-rays showed a bone was broken in his foot. We decided that while he waited for the doctor I would take Chelle and check into our hotel.
On the way to the hotel a call came in from Hotwire. The room I had booked through them a month before was overbooked. I pulled into a fast food parking lot to talk to the Hotwire representative. The customer service person who was on the line said she would find another hotel. She didn’t. After talking to three additional Hotwire representatives I was told there were no more hotels in their inventory and they would refund my money. That left us 6 hours from home, with a husband in the emergency room and no hotel.
I called AAA and the customer service rep found one hotel room at the Hampton Inn and Suites at the Isle of Palms Connector. While the cost for one night equaled what we were going to pay for three nights we took the room.
Once we returned to the hospital, Stanley was put into a splint and told not to put any pressure on his foot until he could see an orthopedic doctor at home. We left the hospital and went directly to the restaurant to meet Cadet Lucas, his mom and her friend. At least we enjoyed a wonderful celebratory dinner at the Charleston Crab House on James Island. We even had a little entertainment when a knob arrived with his family. The knob took one look at Cadet Lucas’ senior stripes on his shoulder boards and turned sheet white. The poor family requested a table farther away from ours. Cadet Lucas had no idea any of this was going on around him at the time. I spoke to the mom of the knob and told her about the Facebook group for 2018 parents and assured her Cadet Lucas was too busy enjoying dinner with his mom to remember her son the knob.
Our first six hours in Charleston did not spoil the whole weekend. We adjusted our plans, settled in for the night and had a good nights rest.
Each year at this time the searches for information on Parents’ Weekend light up my search stats for the blog. Since not much changes from year to year, I am posting the answers to the frequently asked questions and providing a link to previous blog posts on the topic.
The schedule for the weekend can be found on the home page of the school website, or by clicking HERE.
The schedule for the companies to go through the ring is on the weekly training schedule for October 6 – 12, click HERE, and scroll to the week’s schedule.
The dress for senior parents: for the afternoon ring presentation at 12:55, the cadets are in their most formal uniform. We decided to wear nice clothes for this event as well. You will see a little of everything.
The Ring Ceremony is when seniors traditionally escort their mother through the replica of the ring. It is really just an opportunity for a photo, but it is still a very meaningful event. Traditionally moms wear a long formal dress. You will see some in a cocktail type dress. Some cadets escort a girlfriend or other family member along with their mother.
other friends and family can watch from the stands. They do not have to wear formal attire.
Some cadets get a group together to eat before or after walking through the ring. The timing for dinner depends on when you go through the ring and the preference of the group. In 2010 Bravo company had an 8:30pm time so we went to dinner at 5:30 then went to campus. The cadets wore their blazers to dinner then changed. The moms wore their gowns to dinner.
The family and friends of the members of the Junior Sword Arch like to attend the beginning of the ceremony. Anyone can attend the event, but usually it is just the JSA families and friends, and the family and friends of seniors.
Saturday morning the barracks open and the four Kelly Cup squads compete. The knobs are promoted from cadet recruits to cadet privates in a ceremony in front of their company letter.
The parade is at 11:00, followed by lunch. The cadets only have 45 minutes so packing a picnic or eating in the mess hall are the best bet. You do need tickets to eat in the mess hall. See the calendar linked above for that information. After knob year some families just opt to tailgate for lunch.
It tends to still be warm in Charleston in October. Keep an eye on the weather forecast so you’ll be prepared with the right clothes.
After the football game the cadets have general leave.
Sunday the cadets have general leave for most of the day.
I am looking forward to being on campus for the first time since 2010. Last Spring I had the winning bid at the Brigadier Foundation fundraiser to shoot the cannon at halftime of the football game. My husband will be on the sideline shooting the game (Stanley is a photographer). My daughter and I will shoot the cannon then head back to the stands.
I am looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting many of the people. I only know through Facebook.
A variety of photos from Friday night of Ring Weekend
As the excitement and fun of the 4th of July holiday is winding down, I have observed an increase in search terms relating to Matriculation Day for the Class of 2018, Parents Weekend for the Class of 2015 and oddly enough LDAC information. The first two categories I expect each year at this time. What I have realized is the US Army moved their Leader Development and Assessment Course to Ft. Knox from Joint Base Lewis McChord and the way they are now delivering information to family and friends is not as easy to find or complete as in years past.
For the family and friends of cadets at LDAC I will include a few links I have found for current information. Be sure to click the links provided within these pages for more information:
For the Class of 2018 and their parents: The school has now updated the Matriculation Day information on their website. Be sure to check out each and every link and entry on the list. Some, like the assessments link, include links to items you MUST act on by a particular date.
I’ve noted a few changes from years past. In the Success Packet they now ask that incoming knobs label their clothes. Bedding will be labeled by the laundry service. In years past this was part of the first week experience. See page 7 of the Success Packet for the complete instructions. Tips for the items on the Success Packet required list and the Citadel Family Associations “Nice to Have List” can be found on this previous blog post, Welcome to the Class of 2018.
Another large change is the school will not be mailing a copy of the Guidon, the book that knobs MUST learn and memorize parts of this year. It is available online. They suggest incoming knobs begin to memorize the knob knowledge prior to Matriculation Day. The List of Knob Knowledge and where to find the information is on page 55 of the Guidon available online.
For an over view of Parents Weekend see the entries at the end of the post.
The Facebook group for parents, The Citadel: Parents of the Class of 2018
( please request to join and also send me a note on Facebook or an email, found in the About Dorie section of this blog, to verify you are the parent of a cadet. Extended family members and friends are not allowed in the group)
For the parents of the Class of 2015:
Congratulations!! You are about to enter one of the most fun years at The Citadel. Ring Weekend will be here before you know it, October 10 – 12, 2014. If you haven’t done so already be sure to book your accommodations for the weekend. Be ready to see your cadet smile like you haven’t seen them smile on campus before.
The activities begin Friday with the ring presentation around noon. If you can get there early enough to watch them march into the field house as the knobs cheer them on. It is open seating for this event and there are no limits to the number of people who can attend. You will see all types of dress on the people attending. It is an important event. The cadets will be in there most formal uniform. Families should dress comfortably but appropriately for the occasion.
After they receive their rings the seniors RUN out of the field house and knock their rings on the chapel, a nod to the days they received them in the chapel in a ceremony just for cadets. They then Run back into their barracks for a toast at the company letter. Station yourself at a sallyport with a view of the company letter and have a zoom lens for great photos. Our son’s senior year his TAC allowed my husband and a few others into the battalion to take photos. You should not assume permission will be granted. Check with the TAC Friday morning to see the current policy.
The afternoon, from about 2:00 until it is your cadet’s company designated time to go through the ring, is free time. The Cadet Activities office posts the Ring Ceremony information sometime in September. Check their website.
Each company is assigned a time to go through the ring by the Cadet Activities office. It is really just a photo opportunity for the cadet and their family. Whomever will walk through the ring with their senior cadet needs to arrive 15 minutes before their designated time. The wait can take up to an hour, so be sure you have on comfortable shoes for standing. You will be instructed on where to look as you walk through the ring and the sword arch. If you have a high-end camera your family member or friend may be able to get a good photo without a flash. Anyone not going through the ring can watch from the stands. There is no dress code to sit and watch. Anyone walking through the ring should dress appropriately for this formal occasion. It is tradition for women to wear a formal gown, but in recent years many have worn cocktail length dresses, or a dressy skirt and blouse. Like most everything else on campus, you will see a little of everything.
Dinner reservations should be made around the time the company’s designated time to go through the ring. Our year Bravo Company went through after 8:00, so a group of us met for an early dinner. Our cadets then went out together, without parents afterward.
The Junior Sword Arch opens the presentation around 6:00, see the official schedule this fall for exact times. Anyone can attend and see this performance.
After the Friday festivities the rest of the weekend is like every other Parents Weekend, open barracks Saturday, a concert on the parade field, parade lunch on your own and the football game.
You can see photos of dresses worn in previous years on the blog entries listed here:
Each year at this time the cadets return to The Citadel for the start of second semester, just like other colleges around the country. It is a time of year most of the cadets dread, They return to campus after a month of warm beds, long hot showers, great food and time with their family and friends. On campus they resume their regimented schedules that include early morning physical training in the cold damp weather of the low country of South Carolina.
The knobs will begin to see the Recognition Day light at the end of the tunnel. The seniors just begin to realize that their time as members of the Corps of Cadets at The Citadel is coming to a close. The junior Bond Volunteer Aspirants begin the final steps towards Cuts Day and the hope of becoming a member of the Summerall Guards. Sophomore gain a few more privileges too. High school seniors are beginning to focus on preparing to join the Corps of Cadets.
The search terms people use to find this blog tell me that many cadets (and their parents too) are doing their homework. I have no way of knowing who is using these search terms, but I imagine the break down to be something like this:
The senior cadets and their parents are searching for topics like: Citadel gifts; life for graduates after The Citadel; Citadel graduation cake.
The knobs and their families are searching for: Citadel Recognition Day schedule (it isn’t posted yet); Citadel class of 2017
What ever may have brought you to this site, Welcome! I hope you find the answer to your questions here. Remember to use the search window on this site. I try to add the links to official information on the school website. You should also go to the citadel.edu website and use the search window there.
I wish every cadet (and future cadet) and their family the best where ever they are in the process of joining the Long Gray Line.