$2.25M gift to fund honors scholarships

Steve and Emily Swanson, who graduated from the College of Charleston in 1989, donated $2.25 million to the school for scholarships for students in the honors program. It is the largest alumni gift in the college’s history.

Charleston entrepreneur Steve Swanson and his wife, Emily, have donated $2.25 million to the College of Charleston, the largest alumni gift in the school’s history.

The money will be used for scholarships for students in the college’s honors program.

College officials said the scholarship program will be used to attract the best and brightest students from across the country. It will cover all costs for South Carolina students, including tuition, room and board. Out-of-state students will receive free tuition.

For both groups of students, the scholarship will cover costs that remain after other financial aid and scholarship options have been exhausted.

The scholarship was good news for Mount Pleasant resident John Zeringue. The 18-year-old Wando High School graduate had a 4.9 grade point average and a score of 1,530 on the SAT. He plans to major in computer science and to live on campus next year.

“It’s good to get a reward for hard work in high school,” he said.

But he also was thrilled with the opportunity to meet Steve Swanson. He thinks Swanson is a very successful businessman who will be a good future contact.

The Swansons are 1989 graduates of the college.

Steve Swanson was on vacation and not available for comment Wednesday. But in a prepared statement, he said: “I received a full scholarship to the college. So, it seems utterly natural to give back to the school that gave me so much.”

Steve Swanson was a math major and a graduate of the Honors College. In 2001, he became CEO of Automated Trading Desk, which was acquired by Citigroup Inc. in 2007.

He is now focusing on new ventures, and is a member of the college’s foundation and business school boards. He also is on the Honors College Steering Committee.

Emily Swanson was a biology major and worked as an investigator with the Food and Drug Administration.

Reach Diane Knich at 937-5491 or on Twitter @dianeknich.