CONWAY, S.C. (WMBF) – Coastal Carolina University celebrates 68 years as an institution this week.
For professors like Taylor Damonte, Ph.D., who have been working at the university for over 20 years, this is a good time to reflect on how much the institution has changed.
“I really applaud the vision of those that you know 50 years were just having coffee in a café and dreaming about having a nationally ranked university,” said Damonte. “Nationally ranked athletics and just a wonderful, beautiful place.”
After spending years in the tourism industry in New Orleans and then tackling a couple of teaching gigs at various universities, Demonte and his wife came to Conway in 1998 to both take professor jobs at CCU.
“A good friend of mine who was a professor at the other school in the state, he said, ‘Taylor, I know it’s a very small school, but if you take a job at Coastal Carolina University 10 years from now, 20 years from now, you are going to be where everybody else wants to be,’” said Damonte.
He said that has remained true 24 years later. During his time at CCU, he’s seen the enrollment double, dozens of more buildings go up and the baseball team wins a National Championship.
He’s now the Director of the Clay Brittain Jr. Center for Resort Tourism. Even with all the growing, he says the campus remains just as beautiful.
“We have a beautiful campus,” said Damonte. “I would put our campus beauty up against any school in the country.”
Today, Damonte took a walk from his office to what just looks like a plain, white shed. It’s now used as a maintenance building, but in 1998, it served as the faculty club.
“There were many new proposals discussed and I’m sure grievances shared, but the challenges of the day were solved in this modest wood frame structure,” said Damonte.
Coastal Carolina will hold celebrations all week long to commemorate their 68th birthday.
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