Former College of Charleston President Ted Stern dies at 100

Staff Report
Published Jan. 21, 2013

Former College of Charleston president, philanthropist and Bronze Star recipient Ted Stern died Friday. He was 100. A memorial service was held at 1 p.m. today at the cistern.

Former College of Charleston President Ted Stern died Friday. He was 100. (Photo/Provided)
Former College of Charleston President Ted Stern died Friday. He was 100. (Photo/Provided)
Stern was considered to be responsible for transforming the College of Charleston into a nationally recognized institution of higher learning by taking the college public, expanding enrollment and the college’s physical footprint, the College of Charleston said.

“Ted Stern’s legacy as a campus and community leader is difficult to overstate,” said George Benson, president of the College of Charleston. “We mourn Ted’s passing and we extend our heartfelt condolences to his family. We have lost a dear friend and a great human being.”

When Stern began serving as president of the College of Charleston in 1968, the private school had 432 students and 28 faculty members, the college said. Stern worked with the General Assembly to turn the school into a public institution, which helped ensure its financial footing. By the end of his presidency in 1978, the college enrollment had grown to more than 5,300 students and 181 faculty members. Today, the College of Charleston has more than 10,000 students.

Stern led efforts to acquire approximately 80 buildings and constructed many of its most well-known facilities, the college said, and helped introduce the first graduate programs and South Carolina’s Governor’s School at the college.

“Ted Stern’s contributions to Charleston were of historic proportion,” said Charleston Mayor Joe Riley in a statement. “Truly one of the most influential leaders in our city’s history, his masterful, strategic and energetic guidance of the College of Charleston created a physical and educational transformation that will forever positively enhance our city and the College of Charleston.”

Stern grew up in New York City and was a 1934 graduate of Johns Hopkins University. He also enlisted in the U.S. Navy after college and received a Bronze Star. He received the Outstanding Individual Award at the National Philanthropy Day ceremony in Charleston in 2007.

“I am fond of saying that the College of Charleston was founded by three men who signed the Declaration of Independence and three other men who were authors of America’s first Constitution,” said former College of Charleston President Alex Sanders in a statement. “This is literally true. But there is a larger truth.  The real founder of the modern College of Charleston is Ted Stern . . . as a practical matter, he is our founding father.”

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