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Our Mighty Citadel

Keith Brace

Where Everything Started

Keith Brace has it made. He currently serves as a TAC officer, a retired military officer who teaches, advises and coaches cadets in the barracks. It’s his dream job, and if you happen to ask him what his favorite thing about being a TAC officer is, he’ll tell you he loves to go out in the morning and PT with cadets.

PT is military parlance for physical training.

“I spent my whole career doing PT every morning, and I just love it,” said Brace, a 1991 graduate and retired U.S. Army lieutenant colonel. “I love being out there and hearing them call cadence while we're running around campus.”

Brace was in junior ROTC as a high school student in Derwood, Maryland, when his older brother Kenny, ’89, received an Army scholarship to attend The Citadel. Brace visited him, liked what he saw and scored an Army scholarship for himself. At The Citadel he thrived, earning rank and becoming Tango Company commander his senior year. He earned a spot on the Junior Sword Drill (now called Junior Sword Arch) and the Summerall Guards, he reveled in the camaraderie of his classmates, and he attended airborne school. And when he graduated, he was off to the Army, where he served as an infantry officer.

“I played sports,” he said. “I liked competition and the military just seemed like the right fit for me because I didn't see myself behind a desk. I wanted to be doing something active. I felt like I had a little fight in me at a young age, and I thought that was a good way to channel that fight. The military just excited me.”

The Army didn’t disappoint. Brace jumped out of airplanes, fired cutting-edge weapons, led soldiers and traveled. He was a patriot, and he lived to do his part to protect and serve. Two weeks into a year-long deployment in Iraq, he learned the hard way how to put his gear back on and lead after an IED killed several members of his unit, including his commanding officer. In the 11th month of that same deployment, Brace himself narrowly avoided death when his vehicle was attacked and hit with an IED.

How did he recover? “It was my faith, my family, my friends,” said Brace. “The way my Army took care of me and my troops in the aftermath of that is something I take great pride in.”

In 2011, Brace retired from the Army with 20 years of service and returned to his alma mater to serve as a TAC officer. “This is a dream job to be back here where it all started,” he said. “I understand this place. I love what The Citadel is all about—every bit of it, the challenges, the uniqueness...this is home for me. My four years here as a student were incredible. They are four years that I look back on with nothing but great pride—four years that really set me up for success in my life.”

Brace serves as the Fourth Battalion TAC officer and Tango Company TAC officer, and in that role, he supervises the day-to-day military training of cadets.

“I like to think of it as me as a coach on the sideline, helping the cadets run the play. It's not my time to be on the field anymore. I had my time. And so my goal is to help them be successful in their role as cadet leaders and as cadets in general. I want them to get the same thing out of this school that I got out of this school. I want them to push themselves.”

Coaching and mentoring for Brace means sharing his life’s experiences and ensuring that the cadets are set up for success with the “intangibles,” as he calls them, to be successful: self-discipline, time management, courage, and leadership.

“I think back to my time here and know that I learned leadership. I learned how to take care of people. I learned resiliency—how to pick myself up and dust myself off and keep moving forward to face a challenge, to push myself beyond what I thought I was capable of. All of those things, I think, have served me very well in my life.”

And with Brace and a little PT to guide them, these lessons will serve the cadets he mentors in their lives, too.

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#1 Public College in the South

The Citadel has been ranked #1 Public College in the South offering up to a master's degree by U.S. News & World Report for 10 years in a row.

1 in 3 Cadets Earn a Commission

Approximately 1 in 3 cadets earn a commission into the U.S. Armed Forces upon graduation.

Citadel Graduate College

The Citadel Graduate College offers 25 graduate degrees programs with 22 concentration options, 25 graduate certificates and 10 undergraduate degree completion programs.

12:1 Student-Faculty Ratio

The 12:1 student-faculty ratio ensures direct access to nationally recognized scholars.

2,300 Cadets

Approximately 2,300 students comprise the South Carolina Corps of Cadets at The Citadel.

Over 90% Cadet Placement

Over 90% of Cadets report professional employment, military, or graduate school acceptance within 6 months of graduation, which is significantly above the national average.

$250,690,056 Raised

20,784 donors contributed to the Foundation for Leadership campaign, a 6 year effort to support the college.

Over 1,100 Non-Traditional Students

The Citadel Graduate College has a population of over 1,100 students, 23% of whom are a part of the undergraduate degree completion program.

16 Varsity Athletic Teams

The Citadel is part of the Division I Southern Conference with 9 men's varsity teams and 7 women's varsity teams.

Learning in 23 Countries

Citadel cadets and students study abroad in 23 countries across several continents.

22% Veteran Students

22% of the Citadel Graduate College are veteran students studying locally and abroad with The Citadel ranked as #1 Public College for Veterans in the South.

24 Undergraduate Majors

The Citadel offers 24 undergraduate majors and 39 minors.

#1 College for Alumni Giving in the South

The Citadel is ranked #1 College for Alumni Giving in the South with a current alumni network of over 39,000 people.

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