It is with great sadness that we mourn the passing of Dr. George Spaulding on May 23, an enthusiastic patriot of this country, an accomplished businessman, a great “Charlestonian,” philanthropist and a true friend of the College of Charleston.
As we celebrated Memorial Day, one in his obituary stood out to me as the embodiment of what George stood for: “He was named coach of the tennis team when the regular coach was drafted in the Army. On Dec. 10, three days after Pearl Harbor, he hitchhiked to a U.S. Navy Station north of Detroit and enlisted in the Navy.”
I had the pleasure of taking Dr. Spaulding’s “Intro to Business” course in 1988, and it was enlightening and eye-opening (at the time) to hear of his experiences living abroad and running divisions of General Motors in countries where he had to have a security detail as he brought one of our great American brands to inhospitable locales.
Among many other things, George embodied two significant attributes that have positively affected the College of Charleston over the past several decades. First, he proved the value of an executive in residence bringing real world business experience into the classroom, which the college has always embraced to the benefit of the institution and its students.
Secondly, he demonstrated the vast positive impact that Friends of the College — those who are not alums but who adopt the college as their own upon moving to Charleston — have on the school’s continued success.
I had the privilege of visiting George during his hospitalization and delivering him, as a means of inspiration, a College of Charleston flag that my daughter and I took to the top of Kilimanjaro last summer. While his body was failing, his mind was as sharp as ever, and he traded me one of his signature cards, “Enthusiasm: Don’t leave home without it.” I cherish that card, which speaks volumes about a man who clearly knew how to live life well.
As a former student, a fellow board of board member, I am proud to call him teacher and friend.
R. Keith Sauls