The Right Connections

Sam Gooding ’20 is not an alumnus yet, but you’d never know it after speaking with him. The commercial real estate major is a team member at Coastal Equity Group and the 2019–20 president of the Student Alumni Associates (SAA). His responsibilities at Coastal include managing two out-of-state real estate projects, while his duties as SAA president require upholding the traditions of the College.  

That’s quite a lot for someone who hasn’t even graduated. 

“The job has been a really interesting learning experience,” says Gooding, who found the position, which entails the review of a lot of the firm’s underwriting procedures and business practices, on the Career Center’s online job portal, Handshake. “I fill a lot of different roles.” 

As president of the SAA, which has about 75 members, Gooding has a seat on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and oversees all the club’s operations on campus, such as marshalling the graduation ceremonies and staffing alumni events. 

“We have a unique way to connect with alumni from the College while still being students here,” he says. “I’m really excited about the opportunity to give back to the College before I’m even gone.” 

“Sam is an inspiring campus leader who loves sharing the history and traditions of the College through his work with Student Alumni Associates, as well as a Charleston 40 guide,” says Ann Looper Pryor ’83, vice president of Alumni Affairs. “He’s an incredible representative of the amazing students here at CofC and will make a wonderful president of SAA.”  

With his Cougar pride and spirit, it’s no surprise that Gooding is also the recipient of the Grant Mayo Eney Memorial Endowed Scholarship, an Alumni Association award that goes to a real estate, business administration or arts management major with demonstrated leadership ability – interests and traits Grant exhibited before a fatal snorkeling incident in the Florida Keys in 2014. 

For Gooding the benefits of the scholarship go beyond the monetary. “The scholarship has been a real blessing for me because it’s given me the opportunity to connect with his parents and really continue Grant’s legacy on campus.” 

“When we met Sam, we felt that he was the perfect recipient for Grant’s scholarship,” says Grant’s mother Katie Eney. “He shares Grant’s personal traits, from his kindness, loyalty and engaged interest in people, to his tenacity, resourcefulness and leadership skills.”  

Grant’s father, Craig Eney, concurs: “We know Grant would have liked Sam, and we’re happy that Sam is carrying on Grant’s legacy at the College of Charleston.”  – Tom Cunneff