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When retired Marine Maj. Gen. John Grinalds arrived as president four years ago, The Citadel had been shaken by controversy surrounding the admission of female cadets. He quickly announced the state military college was “on a campaign” to turn things around. On Tuesday, Grinalds provided figures to show the success of that campaign — the largest freshmen class in two decades and more than 100 female cadets schoolwide. “There is an essential goodness to The Citadel in what it achieves,” Grinalds said. “That has never been lost in the midst of very poor publicity and controversy that surrounded The Citadel five years ago.” After a lengthy court fight, Shannon Faulkner became the college’s first woman cadet under a court order in 1995. She dropped out after less than a week, citing stress and isolation. The school suffered a public blow when cadets shouted and cheered upon learning of her departure. The following year, in response to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the college dropped its all-male admissions policy and four women enrolled. Two left after a semester, alleging that they had been hazed. When Grinalds arrived in 1997, he sought to repair the school’s image and increase enrollment of both male and female students. In 1997, there were 559 incoming freshmen. This year, 694 freshmen are at the school, including 40 women. As of Tuesday, the school had 112 female cadets, with the total topping 100 for the first time. Ten women graduated last spring. In all, the college has 1,934 cadets, almost more than it knows what to do with. With classes starting Wednesday, 53 cadets were temporarily being housed in a trailer and a wrestling training room. In considering the school’s recent successes, Grinalds noted that sometimes what appears to be negative can prove to be a positive. Senior cadet Sha Peterson of Chicago said she first learned about The Citadel though news accounts of the hazing of the female cadets. She decided to give the school a chance. “I figured it can’t be too bad. I came expecting the worst and it wasn’t like that at all,” she said. “It’s difficult. The first year you go through emotional and physical obstacles, but it’s worth it.” Copyright 2001 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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