The Citadel hits milestone with largest group of freshmen women in history

VIDEO: The Citadel hits milestone with largest group of freshmen women in history
Female "knobs" get their haircuts (Source: Live 5)
Female "knobs" get their haircuts (Source: Live 5)
Jasmin Grewal sits in the barber chair as her hair is chopped off (Source: Live 5)
Jasmin Grewal sits in the barber chair as her hair is chopped off (Source: Live 5)
Class of 2020 logos are embroidered on to field uniforms (Source: Live 5)
Class of 2020 logos are embroidered on to field uniforms (Source: Live 5)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The Citadel will hit a major milestone Saturday as cadets move back on campus.

This year the military school has its largest group of women entering the freshman class.

As of Monday, 78 women were enrolled for the 2016-2017 year. That's a 25% increase from last year. As for the entire freshman class size, that also increased 23% from the prior year.

Friday the school barber shop was filled with families as their daughters took that first major step attending the school – the haircut.

"I was trying to wait until the last minute, maybe not have to cut it, but I'm donating it so it's fine," said knob Analisa Samusson.

Samusson had roughly 12 inches of hair cut off as part of the uniform at the college.

She wasn't the only woman though who took on a different look.

Dozens of other women started a day early preparing for their first year of military school by getting their haircuts, picking up uniforms, and buying textbooks.

"I'm nervous… I don't really know what to expect," said freshman Candice Malott.

"I'm really nervous I guess," added Jasmin Grewal. "It's just really different from what I'm used to. I'm a California girl so I've had really long hair and now it's all gone."

2016 marks 20 years since women were allowed to attend The Citadel. Since then, many things have changed including the number of women enrolling at the school each year.

"I'm really excited that we have such a big incoming class of women in our celebration of the 20th year," said Provost and Dean Dr. Connie Ledoux Book. "In March, we actually brought back a panel of women who were members of the first classes and it was such a powerful story."

"Twenty years… that's a long time," said Ali Guild, a senior. "[That's] basically as long as I have been alive. To see the numbers grow as much as they have, I think that's amazing."

Bailey Richardson is among the women to attend The Citadel this year.

Richardson is the first woman in the history of The Citadel to win the prestigious Star of the West Undergraduate Scholarship.

The award covers tuition, room and board, uniforms and books at The Citadel and includes a $500 per semester stipend for making the Dean's List.

"It makes me excited because coming from where I'm from a lot of girls don't come here," Richardson said. "Just to see that I have that in common with 77 other girls, that's just incredible. It shows there are girls out there like me that are willing to go for a challenge."

While men still outnumber the women at the college, the excitement can be seen among both genders.

"I think it's wonderful," Said Tristan Arrowood, Regimental Public Affairs NCO. "The school has been trying for a while to get more female members in."
"I definitely think those gender lines get blurred when you're looking at success," Book added. "You lean on each other no matter the gender."

Book adds there will be several events throughout the year to celebrate the milestone of women's admittance to The Citadel.

This year also marks 50 years since African American were allowed to enroll at the school.

Cadets are required to report by 10 a.m. Saturday.

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