Tony Meyer ’49: Bridging the Past, Present and Future

CofC students who received the Tony Meyer Scholarship were more than just beneficiaries to Meyer. They were family.

left to right: Meyer scholarship recipients Rachel Fowler ’05, Rachelle Lavelle ’00 & ’02, Caroline Starr Edwards ’09, Caroline Carpenter Bende ’05, Alex Pellegrino Rogers ’03 & ’15, and Cullen Baldwin ’17 with Tony Meyer at his 85th birthday gathering in 2014. 

Meyer was a fixture at the College of Charleston for decades, as a student, faculty member, coach, die-hard Cougars fan and alumnus extraordinaire. Even those who didn’t receive the scholarship bearing his name considered themselves his family.

When Meyer retired professionally from the College in December 1994, the Alumni Association, for which he served as Executive Secretary, established the Tony Meyer Endowed Scholarship in appreciation of his service. The Association conducted a fundraising campaign, which raised the $25,000 then required to create an endowed fund. To date, the fund has garnered more than $100,000 in contributions to provide scholarships for children of alumni. Meyer invested in his namesake scholarship as well, providing numerous gifts over the years and providing for the fund in his estate plans.

“I was the first Tony Meyer scholar. I was lucky to have been one of his scholars because through that scholarship I made a true friend in Tony Meyer,” says Rachelle Lavelle ’00 and ’02. “In college, he introduced me to many wonderful people. He recruited me to join the Student Alumni Associates, where I made great friends. I never would have gone to a single basketball game and gotten as involved in college life if it had not been for Tony. We had many lunches together during and after college that I will always cherish.

“The one thing that I will always remember about Tony is he never had a bad word to say about anyone, and he always had a smile on his face. The College of Charleston would not have meant the same to me without Tony Meyer. I will truly miss him.”

Since the first Tony Meyer Scholarship was awarded in 1996, 13 students have become extended members of Meyer’s family, many of whom received it all four years they were undergraduates.

Caroline Carpenter Bende ’05, is one such four-year Tony Meyer scholar who followed in Meyer’s footsteps by serving on the Alumni Association Board. Her father Rick Carpenter ’71 played basketball at the College.

“Through all the years that I knew Mr. Tony Meyer, I remarked often about how his was a life so well-lived,” says Bende. “When on my way to work, I would often see Mr. Tony out for his routine morning walk. When I would go to sports and social events, he was always there with a big smile, a big hug, and a big, unforgettable laugh. It would be hard to find a single person more engaged and more involved than Mr. Tony Meyer, and whatever he did was done with a smile, a laugh, and an energy that made him an absolute joy to be around.

“I will miss him terribly, but I believe he will rest easy knowing that he truly never wasted a day of life. As a former Tony Meyer scholar, I feel deeply honored to have my name forever associated with such a remarkable man.”

It will be impossible to replicate the impact Meyer had on generations of students and alumni at the College of Charleston. He was the bridge between the past and present, and now his scholarship recipients will serve as the continuation of his legacy.

“Tony Meyer was more than just the name of a scholarship. He connected me to my family’s past. We would get together and he would tell me stories of how he and my great grandfather, Willard A. Silcox ’33, used to ‘run the College.’ I was never able to meet my great grandfather, but through Tony I was able to learn more about him,” says 2019-20 recipient Sarah Silcox ’21.

“Tony made it a point to always say ‘hi’ when we saw each other and to have lunch with me each semester. Anyone who knows Tony knows how much of a basketball fan he was. He sat in the same place every game – across the arena from the home team bench, one row down from the top of the stairs. He would always stand up when the game got close or something major was happening. We would always meet at halftime and talk about the game and how each other was doing.

“Tony connected me to the College of Charleston’s past. The stories he told inspired me to wander through campus and try to picture what the College used to be like. Tony taught me the impact a great institution and a great home like the College of Charleston has on an individual. We really do have a Cougar family, and Tony would constantly remind me of that.”

Related: Former Tony Meyer scholar Alex Pellegrino Rogers ’03 and ’15 wrote about him in the 2019 Donor Digest. 

Make a gift in Tony’s honor here: Tony Meyer Endowed Scholarship Fund.