University Relations // 10.19.2017
Charleston Southern University alumnus Don Nye introduced Dr. Jairy C. Hunter, Jr. to the Rotary Club of Summerville on Wednesday and took his fellow Rotarians on a trip down memory lane. Nye, a reverse mortgage consultant, was a part of the first graduating class at Charleston Southern University (then Baptist College).
Nye laughed as he shared memories of living off campus and on campus in the middle of nowhere – now a developed and growing community on University Boulevard. He commented on the university’s physical growth, strength in academics and firm financial foundation. “I don’t think the university would be where it is today without Dr. Hunter’s leadership,” he said as he welcomed Dr. Hunter to the podium.
Dr. Hunter opened with an impressive snapshot of CSU’s growth. With 3,575 currently enrolled, this number has tripled since Dr. Hunter began his tenure at the university. CSU also boasts a 14:1 faculty/student ratio, where 30% of the student body are minorities and 82% are S.C. residents. “Other universities would love to have the diversity we have at CSU,” he said. He added that two-thirds of our students live locally and most work while they pursue their degree.
CSU prides itself in academic excellence and with good reason. The university is number one in the state for its nursing program – a ranking they have had for the last decade.
“Our students have a 98% pass rate in NCLEX,” Dr. Hunter said. “We are very proud of that.” The school offers a total of 52 undergraduate and 18 graduate programs, with 16 online programs accessible for the working professional.
And looking to the future, Dr. Hunter showcased several capital projects designed for CSU’s continued growth in enrollment and academic programs, as well as its athletic programs. One signature project currently under construction – the Singleton complex – is of special significance to the school and the Charleston area. The complex memorializes Sharonda Coleman-Singleton, one of the nine killed at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. in June 2015 and mother to CSU baseball alumnus Chris Singleton.
“’Love is always stronger than hate’ – that’s what this young man said,” Dr. Hunter described. “(Chris) sent a message across the country.” A message that reflects the heart of CSU.
To conclude the presentation, Dr. Hunter spoke to the Rotarians about three qualities that make a leader: integrity, passion and service above self. One of these qualities, he said, is necessary for motivation – passion. And it’s one that he specifically encourages CSU students and alumni to have in the workforce.
“I get up every morning excited to go to work,” he said. “If you love what you’re doing and you’re passionate about it, you’ll work hard.”
Dr. Hunter referred to the Rebecca principle out of Genesis – where Abraham sent his servant to look for a wife for his son. “Let her be one that is willing to do what no one else is willing to do,” Hunter sourced. “Rebecca did what no one else would do AND did more. That’s where passion can come from.”
And Dr. Hunter is living proof of a passionate, dedicated leader. He will transition to President Emeritus on May 31, 2018 after 34 years of service, and will continue to serve CSU as a consultant and professor.