Growing up in Charleston , SC, I took for granted the rich history of the city and all it has to offer. Amazing beaches, restaurants ,and a college in the middle of the city all make Charleston a pretty unique place. Even though my brother went to the College of Charleston, I knew I wanted a different experience. I chose Clemson University in upstate SC. The setting, size, sports focus, and curriculum were all quite different then the experience my brother had at College of Charleston. So I thought it would be neat to compare and contrast the mission of two universities from a state I called home for 25 years. Before I go into to detail about the mission statements, here is a brief run down of both schools.
- Land grant state university
- Focus on engineering and science
- Around 20,000 undergraduate
- Located in the small college town of Clemson, SC
College of Charleston
- State college
- Focus on liberal arts
- Around 10,000 undergraduate
- Located in downtown Charleston, SC
Clemson University prides itself on being a top 20 public university. Their mission traces back to its roots as a land grant university. Meaning the university was set up by the state and focuses teaching on agriculture, science, and engineering. Additionally, their mission is grounded in pursuing innovative research to solve global challenges.
This is in slight contrast to the mission of the College of Charleston. Their focus is on a liberal arts education. This includes an emphasis on intellectual creativity and curiosity within the arts. This is not to say that Clemson doesn’t foster an environment of creativity, it just that their emphasis is more STEM oriented. College of Charleston is also strongly tied to the history of Charleston, SC and being located in Lowcountry.
The missions do however share similarities, which I would expect given they are both state schools residing in South Carolina. Both clearly prioritize the educational needs of the area around them and the state. Students living in South Carolina are given priority with acceptance. Secondly, both schools place an emphasis on personal growth and the development of good citizens. A culture of respect, support, and responsibility are characteristics indicated by both missions.
While there may be difference is the type of education (science vs. liberal arts), size, and setting, there is a shared goal to provide students an intellectually challenging education, and graduate students that can serve their communities in meaningful ways.