In Memoriam for Charles Ravenel
Charles “Pug” Ravenel (WHF 66-67): 1938-2017
Charles “Pug” Ravenel of the WHF Class of 1966-67 passed away March 25, 2017. One of his classmates helped assemble the following biography of Charlie’s life.
Charlie was born in Charleston South Carolina. By the age of 12 he had been a newspaper boy for five years, winning a newspaper sponsored scholarship to Philips Exeter Academy. Charlie then attended Harvard University, winning several additional scholarships and receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1961. He was elected First Marshall (President of the senior class). Charlie was a football legend, quarterbacking the Harvard football team to unprecedented success, and won the Bingham Award for his “courage, leadership and integrity” on the athletic field. He was selected to the Varsity Club Hall of Fame and was nominated by Street and Smith Magazine as an All American Candidate in 1961.
A Corning Glass fellowship in 1961 allowed Charlie to travel for eight months, through twenty seven countries, studying their political and economic conditions. Upon his return, he enrolled at Harvard Business School, finishing his MBA in 1964. He then accepted a position on Wall Street with Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette where he worked for nine years, rising to the position of Vice President, interrupted by his selection as a White House Fellow. As a WHF Charlie served in the Office of the Secretary of the Treasury. Among his roles he organized meetings between leaders in the financial world and leaders in government, including Dr. Henry Kissinger and President Johnson. He later served as Associate Deputy Secretary in the Department of Commerce. In 1967, he was a co-founder with Michael Bloomberg of the New York Academy for Black and Latin Education.
After returning home to Charleston, he mounted a campaign to serve as Governor of South Carolina, but a finding that he did not meet the term of residency requirement cut short a promising political career. Charlie’s later career work included service as Executive Vice President of the Medical University of South Carolina, a commercial and residential real estate practice, and pursuing his passion as Founder and CEO of Charleston Hardwood Trees.
Charlie served in many Trustee/Director roles, including for Phillips Exeter Academy, the Historic Charleston Foundation, the North Carolina Outward Bound School and the Society of International Business Fellows. He was also the USA President of the Spoleto Festival in 1988.
Charlie was married to Susan Woodward Ravenel for twenty five years, with whom he has two sons, a daughter and two step children. Charlie was married to Mary (“Mollie”) Curtis Ravenel for 25 years from 1963 to 1988, with whom he has a son and a daughter.
Remembrance from Harold P. Smith, Jr. (WHF 1966-67)
Charlie Ravenel died of the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease. While Charlie will and should be remembered for many things, I will always remember our first “meeting” that occurred in the fall 1956, ten years before we actually met at WHFs. Marian had invited me to join her family in watching the annual Andover-Exeter game, and I was assured (not by Marian) that Andover would prevail – handsomely, a clear case of poor (or nonexistent) scouting. Early in the game, as I looked out of the lovely New England countryside, the scene was marred by the enormously long trajectory of a football in flight. Worse yet, the ball never touched the ground, thanks to an Exeter receiver in the end zone. It was Charlie, of course, a fifth-year student at Exeter, (sometimes called a “ringer”) who had thrown that ball so far and so accurately. It was the first of many such tosses. Exeter won by over forty points, and Charlie went on to Harvard as its star quarterback.posted: April 4, 2017