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|PROFESSOR RITA LIVINGSTON
Department of History
|A Professor Who Has Truly Touched the Lives of Many|
|By Erica Rusnock|
Walking into the office of Professor Rita Livingston, her walls are bare with a Statue of Liberty hat and a few papers hanging. Papers are strewn across her desk and a large world history time line is hanging on the wall across the room.
Although her office may not look like most professors', the stories that Livingston has would easily fill a room and then some.
Since 1983, students at the College of Charleston have had the opportunity to take Livingston's world history classes. The Spring 2010 semester will be her last full-time semester at the college. She will be semi-retiring but will continue to teach one or two classes with the college, while also continuing to write books.
"The history department is in good hands," says Livingston. "I've enjoyed teaching students especially in my History 102 class. But it's now time for somebody else to do this full-time."
College of Charleston senior Jill Elenburg, currently working on research for her senior seminar class, is receiving research help from Livingston on her Civil War topic.
"The college is going to lose an awesome professor," Elenburg says. "She is so helpful and enthusiastic. She always has a smile on her face and wants to help in any way she can."
Helping others when she can is something that Livingston tries to do everyday, whether its helping students, or people in dire straits. In the fall of 2005, Livingston took a group of students to New Orleans to help in the recovery efforts. She has returned many times since, including a trip in the spring of 2006 when she led a smaller group of students.
"It's amazing how long it takes for parts of the city to come back," Livingston says. "Maybe with the help of the New Orleans Saints' win in the Super Bowl, this will be a shot in the arm to get things moving."
A native of Ridgeland, S.C., Livingston found a deep appreciation for history in Jasper County where she was raised. This is where her interest in the history of South Carolina counties began. Livingston would graduate from Columbia College with degrees in English and history, and then earn a master's degree in history from The Citadel.
Over the past 10 years, Livingston has completed four published pictorial history books, "Reflections: A Pictorial History of Jasper County, South Carolina" in 2001, "From Cotton Fields to Golf Courses: A Pictorial History of Elloree and Santee, South Carolina" in 2004, and "From the Salkehatchie to the Savannah" in 2006. These three books represent her passion for history and, in particular, South Carolina history.
Another huge undertaking of Livingston's was the group effort of the Cougar Club and various other people, including the book's author, communication professor Vince Benigni, to publish 2007 "True Maroon: An Illustrated History of Athletics at the College of Charleston." The book covers the years 1897 through 2007 and is filled with
"This book took over two years to put together but it was well worth it," says Livingston. "I really like watching people's faces light up when they look at this book because it truly is something special."
Livingston is currently working on the histories of 46 county court houses in South Carolina, a book that will be available in May 2010. This project has been a huge
Another project that she hopes to get going is a reflection on the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church in South Carolina. It will be the history of the church in text in pictures.
In the classroom and with the creation of opportunities such as the trips to New Orleans, Professor Livingston has genuinely made a difference in her students' lives as well as in the lives of the people she has touched through her enthusiasm to make a difference.
Her passion for teaching, and love for history can be seen in the classroom, in her published works, and most of all through her actions.