Citadel alumni express frustration with Shannon Faulkner's speech on Saturday

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Several alumni and supporters of The Citadel are upset at comments made by Shannon Faulkner during a speech she made at The Citadel on Saturday.

Faulkner was invited by officials from The Citadel to speak at a symposium honoring Pat Conroy, another noteworthy alumnus of the school and a published author.

During her speech, Faulkner discussed her background as the first woman to attend day classes at The Citadel back in 1993. She was also the first woman to join the all-male Corps of Cadets at The Citadel, but she did not graduate.

At one point, Faulkner noted how Pat Conroy referred to her as "the mother of all Citadel women." She also referred to herself as a member of The Citadel family, even though she did not graduate from the school.

Nancy Mace, the first female graduate from the school's Corps of Cadets, responded to Faulkner's comments with a lengthy post on Facebook.

"She doesn't wear The Ring because she didn't earn it," Mace said in her post. "And she sure as hell ain't my mother. That's an insult to my mother."

In the Facebook post made on Sunday, Mace also addressed Faulkner's comments about opening the gates for other women who attended The Citadel.

"Why does she think she can assume credit for my and others success where she failed?" Mace said in her Facebook post. "She can't even begin to comprehend what myself and hundreds of other women went through to earn the ring. We wear the ring because we earned it."

Mace's post received more than a thousand reactions and hundreds of comments, many of which were from alumni of The Citadel.

"I didn't know it would strike that kind of cord," Mace said. "I really wanted to make a point to say, 'No, you didn't graduate from The Citadel.'"

Faulkner responded to Mace's comments in a statement.

"Many people do not remember that I went to classes as the only non-cadet day student for a year and a half," Faulkner said. "As I said on Saturday, I believe in The Citadel. I believe in the women at The Citadel. I am proud of each and every one of them. I do not take credit for their accomplishments; I merely opened the door."

The Citadel Alumni Association did not respond to multiple requests for a comment.

A spokesperson from The Citadel said the school has declined to comment on the controversy surrounding Faulkner's appearance and the controversy it has generated.

Copyright 2018 WCSC. All rights reserved.