The Citadel School of Humanities and Social Sciences is hosting a free public event to explore the life and legacy of author Pat Conroy.
“Pat Conroy at The Citadel Symposium” takes place 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Saturday, March 3, at the Holliday Alumni Center. The daylong gathering will feature presentations and panels with guests ranging from literary experts to Conroy’s friends and loved ones.
Conroy earned more than a dozen literary awards as the author of 12 books. All of his books, including “The Great Santini,” “The Lords of Discipline,” and “The Prince of Tides,” were set in the Lowcountry.
Conroy graduated from The Citadel with an English degree in 1967, though he became estranged from his alma mater in 1980 after the publication of “The Lords of Discipline," an unflattering description of the school. After nearly 20 years, Conroy and The Citadel reconciled.
In 2000, Conroy received an honorary degree from The Citadel alongside Thomas Nugent Courvoisier, who was the subject of Conroy’s book, “The Boo,” which is about Courvoisier’s time as the college’s assistant commandant in charge of discipline. A year later, Conroy delivered the commencement address.
Sean Heuston, symposium organizer and Citadel professor of literature, said the event is an apt tribute to an important alumnus.
“In the wake of Pat Conroy's untimely death in 2016 and the 50th anniversary of his graduating class in 2017, it seemed appropriate that The Citadel should do something to honor the legacy of its most famous literary alumnus,” Heuston said in a statement. “The symposium will bring together distinguished Conroy experts, Citadel students and a wide range of people from the community who shared an interest his personal life and in his work.”
The symposium will include four sessions and feature numerous speakers, including Nathalie Dupree, John Warley, Jonathan Haupt, Catherine Seltzer, Shannon Faulkner, Gregg Smith, Cassandra King, Joe Riley and Brian Hicks.
Conroy died on March 4, 2016.