Parent Philanthropy Council
Spotlight: Mark Gilliam, Chair, The Citadel Foundation Parent Advisory Council
Name: Mark E. Gilliam
Home Town: West Columbia, S.C.
Occupation: Sales Consultant
Cadet’s Name: Taylor D. Gilliam, Class of 2011 (pictured, right)
Cadet’s Company: Palmetto Battery
1. Why do you serve on the Parent Advisory Council?
I believe it’s important to become involved, stay informed, and help contribute through shared dialog and vision. If you can impact changes at this level, why wouldn’t you want to? Equally important is the financial commitment for future classes.
2. As the parent of a cadet, why do you feel it is important to give back to your son’s/daughter’s college?
This answer is easy; you want to share in the academic success of your son’s or daughter’s educational endeavor. With the ongoing rise in education costs, coupled with reduced support at the state and national levels, it is imperative to financially support their experience further.
3. What does The Citadel mean to you and your family?
The Citadel is a one-of-a-kind, unique college experience. With its vast offering of educational opportunities, the broad military legacy, and unlimited leadership training programs, it has become a springboard for further personal and professional success. The bond of friendships and relationships is unparalleled.
4. What advice can you give to parents of cadets, especially knob parents?
In today’s world of e-mail, cell phones, texting, Facebook, and Twitter, try to avoid the parent rescue and the helicopter parent. They will soon realize they have entered the most challenging and difficult endeavor they have ever attempted. Remind them that knob year is less than a year long. Through their shared experience as a class of freshmen, they will grow as a class and develop their skills at problem solving, learning about themselves, and finally realizing they are capable of much more than either of us thought. These lofty ambitions are realized consistently year after year if we as parents monitor ourselves accordingly. Lastly, continue to support them with timely letters and, especially, care packages. A care package at the post office has been ranked along with presents on Christmas morning.
5. What other service activities are you involved in—boards, community service, church, etc?
Lifetime Member Citadel Alumni Association, Officer in the Lexington, S.C. Citadel Club, Member of The Citadel Brigadier Club, Annual Donor to The Citadel Foundation, Junior Warden at All Saints’ Episcopal Church, membership in various civic clubs.
6. Any other advice or feedback you would like to share?
I would like to stress that pursuing a 4-year college degree at The Citadel may sound like an insurmountable task, yet in the grand scheme of life, we know how quickly that time passes. Determine what you want to do, be flexible so that you can change when needed, develop a sense of humor: a prerequisite for a military college, and lastly engage your curriculum and enjoy your time while there. Remember it’s even tougher on the outside world. Finally, support the school through giving to academics and athletics, and make plans to return for Homecomings.