The World Needs Visionaries
A Message from the President
The General Conference, the legislative body of the global United Methodist Church, passed what is called "The Traditional Plan" at its meeting held nearly three weeks ago in St. Louis, Missouri. At its core, the plan upheld restrictions on performing same-sex marriages and the ordination of LGBTQ individuals.
Given Claflin University's affiliation with The United Methodist Church, it might lead you to wonder where Claflin stands in the aftermath of the vote. As you well know, Claflin was founded in 1869 on inclusion principles which are well-preserved in virtually all of our long-range planning tools to achieve sustained excellence.  Take, for example, the University's mission statement: "Claflin is a diverse and inclusive community of students, faculty, staff and administrators who work to cultivate practical wisdom, judgment, knowledge, skills and character needed for globally engaged citizenship and effective leadership."  
It is further articulated in one of the University's Guiding Principles, "Commitment to Valuing People," which states, "We will value people by providing a safe, wholesome and healthy environment that fosters mutual respect, diversity, and inclusion." And the fourth goal in the University's Strategic Plan 2016-2021 clearly delineates a commitment to diversity and inclusion. The goal states, Claflin will seek to "develop and implement an action plan that ensures excellence in diversity and inclusion among students, faculty and staff and the greater university (sic) constituency."  From these reaffirming pronouncements, it can be concluded that Claflin strongly and enthusiastically embraces diversity and inclusion. 
My position and values align with the University's statement on non-discrimination. It states that "Claflin University does not discriminate in the administration of its admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, educational policies, athletic programs, and other University programs and activities on the basis of an individual's actual or perceived race, sex, age, religion, national or ethnic origin, gender, gender identity and/or expression, sexual orientation, marital or parental status, pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery from pregnancy related conditions, veteran status, alienage or citizenship, or disability."
As we continue to develop a diverse and inclusive community of globally engaged visionary leaders, the University will continue its commitment to academic enlightenment for the purpose of social justice, tolerance and acceptance of all humanity.
- Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, president of Claflin University 

Claflin University to Host Gala to Celebrate 25 Years of Visionary and Transformative Leadership by President Henry N. Tisdale and First Lady Alice Carson

In honor of 25 years of visionary and transformative leadership by President Henry N. Tisdale and First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale, Claflin University is hosting "A Legacy of Visionary Leadership Gala" on Monday, April 1, 2019, at 6 p.m., at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center (1101 Lincoln Street, Columbia, S.C.). The black tie event will feature multi-platinum and Grammy nominated saxophonist and flautist, Najee, and dance music by Columbia, South Carolina's own, the Friends Band.
"This event will provide the Claflin community and constituents an opportunity to express our appreciation for the Tisdales' dedicated service and unwavering commitment to academic excellence during their 25-year tenure at the University," said James K. Lehman, chairman of the Board of Trustees and managing partner of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, LLP, of Columbia.
"Together, the Tisdales have guided Claflin to new heights and helped secure the University's status as a leading 21st Century institution of higher education. The proceeds from this event will support the endowed scholarship fund the Tisdales have established to support deserving Claflin students," Lehman said.
To purchase tickets for the Gala, please call Tammy McCottry at (803) 535-5665. To serve as a sponsor for this event, please call Marcus Burgess at (803) 535-5238. For more information on tickets and sponsorship, please visit .

Claflin Makes its Mark at the 2019 CIAA Tournament

Prior to the 2019 Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association's (CIAA) Basketball Tournament, many of the conference's loyal supporters who descended on Charlotte, N.C., Feb. 26-March 2, viewed Claflin University with curious admiration. However, by the close of the tournament -  hailed as one of the largest sports, entertainment, and social events in the nation -  their curiosity had been replaced with the affirmation that Claflin was the right fit for the nation's oldest athletic conference comprised by historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).
At the outset, it was the women's basketball team that made University and CIAA history. Graduate forward Ashley Fields (Charleston, S.C.) was named 2019 CIAA Defensive Player of the Year and to the CIAA All-Conference Team. Fields led the Lady Panthers in scoring (16.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.1 rpg) during the regular season. 
Freshman Dashia Jackson (Columbia, S.C.) earned CIAA All-Rookie Team honors.  She was second for the Lady Panthers in scoring (12.7 ppg.) and three-pointers made (52) during the regular season.

The Lady Panthers made more history when they defeated Chowan, 69-65, in the tournament's opening round . Claflin was led by Jackson (23 points) who was named the Most Valuable Player of the Game. Deja Dickens (17 points) and Fields (14 points) were Claflin's other double-figure scorers.

The Lady Panthers dropped a 55-42 decision to top-seeded Fayetteville State in the second round, which ended their history-making season. 

"I am very proud of what we accomplished, and I am honored that I had the opportunity to be a part of Claflin history as the head coach for our first win in the CIAA," said Revonda Whitley, who completed her second season as women's head basketball coach at Claflin. "The pressure and competition was intense, but the team seized the moment to achieve something special. Our journey ended too soon but this was a remarkable experience."
Claflin finished 15-14 overall and 9-9 in the CIAA.  "This was by far my most enjoyable year at Claflin," Fields said. "Playing in the CIAA during the regular season and in the tournament was an unbelievable experience. "We came into the tournament very confident, and we believed anything was possible. The personal awards, the historic win - I just feel very blessed. We hope this will inspire next year's team to go much further in the tournament and win a championship."
The men's team also made an impressive debut at the CIAA Tournament, albeit in a losing effort. The Panthers suffered an 83-80 overtime loss to Johnson C. Smith in the quarterfinal round.  The Panthers finished 13-14 overall, and 9-9 in the CIAA.  

Triston Thompson paced Claflin with 23 points - 15 in the second half.  Austin Lawson (18 points, 16 rebounds),  Brandon Davis (15 points) and Cornellius Reynolds  (11 points) also scored in double figures.

"We are disappointed the team did not advance in the tournament, but we are not disappointed in our effort," Thompson said. "This is a very competitive league and you have to play hard every night. That's been our attitude all season. We can already see how playing in the CIAA will bring more exposure to the University and the program."

Claflin students also distinguished themselves in CIAA Tournament Week activities away from the basketball competition.  None more notable than Shantavia Edmonds, the reigning Miss Claflin, who was crowned Miss CIAA during the CIAA Fan Fest last Saturday at the Charlotte Convention Center. Edmonds, a junior biochemistry major and member of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College from Rowesville, S.C., won a $2,500 scholarship from Food Lion. 
Another Claflin student who made her mark and helped Claflin expand its brand during at the CIAA Tournament was Faith McKie, a member of the Claflin women's track and field team who was one of four grand prize winners of the CIAA, Coca Cola, Food Lion Essay Contest. McKie was presented $5,000 scholarship along with the other three recipients during half-time of the CIAA men's basketball championship game. Students submitted essays on the topic "How do you live the legacy of your institution in your community?"

The essay contest was open to students attending the 13 institutions in the conference. 
Caleb Green, a member of the Claflin baseball team and the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College  was one of the 10 first place recipients who received $1,000 scholarships. As a whole, Claflin University finished third in institutional submissions.

Seniors Courtney Taylor (volleyball) and Torriun Towers (baseball) participated in the CIAA Men's & Women's Student-Athlete Empowerment Symposium which provided the student-athletes in the conference networking opportunities with sponsors and key leaders and arm them with tools and lessons to help prepare them for life after college.
"I am very pleased with the impression Claflin University has made on this year's CIAA Tournament," said President Henry N. Tisdale. "Many of our student-athletes were honored for their achievements on the court and in other areas. Miss Claflin winning the Miss CIAA competition, members of Claflin's Student Government Association participating in the leadership development and empowerment programs, career development sessions and the recruitment fairs are examples of the wide variety of CIAA activities and events that are beneficial to our students and others who attend the tournament, "Tisdale said. "We also witnessed some of our outstanding students receiving scholarships so I was very pleased with our representation at the Tournament."

Tisdale also mentioned opportunities the CIAA created for alumni and corporate engagement.

"We were able to spend some time with Claflin alumni at a special reception and they are very excited about the opportunity to attend the games and cheer for the Panthers," Tisdale said. "And presidents from CIAA institutions met with corporate leaders to discuss partnerships and collaborations. They want to do business with HBCUs."

One of the highlights of the Claflin reception on Thursday, February 28, was the impressive number of senior high school scholars from the Charlotte area in attendance who were invited by Claflin's Office of Admissions. The students had previously completed admissions requirements and were notified of their acceptance at Claflin. Financial Aid Director Terria Williams was present to offer scholarships to these students.

"I believe this is the beginning of a new era for athletics," Tisdale said.  "And for Claflin University."

Miss Claflin University Crowned as Food Lion's Miss CIAA 2019
On Saturday, March 2, Food Lion awarded Miss Claflin University, Shantavia Edmonds, with its coveted 2019 Miss CIAA crown, along with a $2,500 scholarship at the CIAA Fan Fest inside the Charlotte Convention Center in Charlotte, N.C.
Edmonds is a junior biochemistry major and a member of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College.
"I am so thankful to Food Lion, Claflin University and my parents for supporting me in this competition," Edmonds said during an interview immediately after being crowned. "My hope is to use this new designation to talk about food insecurity that not only exists on campus but in our community. I really want to set up a pantry on campus."
She is a member of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College and serves as the secretary of Claflin's Young Democrats of America. She is also an active member in the community, and served as a tutor for Jerusalem Baptist Church. She also was Miss Garden City Teen (2015-2016).
Edmond has worked as a pharmacy technician in Orangeburg, South Carolina and conducted research at the University of Virginia. She is a native of Rowesville, S.C., and is the daughter of James and Joyce Edmonds.
The Food Lion Miss CIAA Scholarship Competition winners are given scholarships based on their GPA, a community profile video on alleviating hunger, school involvement, interview, essay and online popular vote.

Claflin University to Compete in HBCU Battle of the Brains

On March 7-10, Claflin University will compete in the HBCU Battle of the Brains competition in Austin, Tex. The mission of the HBCU Battle of the Brains competition is to promote the talented business and STEM students within the African American community while highlighting the technology industry, in an engaging and dynamic way.

As part of the qualification process, HBCUs were encouraged to send their best and brightest team representing various schools (business, communications, engineering, mathematics, marketing, public policy, science, technology, etc.).

This will be the first time Claflin has competed in this illustrious competition. The team consists for MacVincent Agha-Oko (c omputer engineering), Fredrick Uy (business administration), and Emmanuel Ndubuisi (computer science). More than 25 HBCUs from around the country will be competing for the top prize: $25,000. Teams will be encouraged to incorporate technology, design, policy, business and STEM components into their business solutions.

Teams do not know the competition's designated prompt until they arrive at the completion. Teams will have 24 hours to provide a comprehensive solution to the designated issue and then they will pitch their solution live in front of an audience and crowd participation will constitute one of the five final votes.

The team has been meeting regularly and brainstorming strategies for the competition. "We know that the competition is going to be tough e specially since we have never competed at this specific competition before," said team coach Dr. Belinda Wheeler, associate professor of English . "We are very confident in our team's chances. We are traveling to Texas with the goal of winning," said Wheeler.

Claflin University Department of Music Presents "Arise Beloved" - 2019 Concert Choir Spring Tour

Claflin to Host 13th Annual First Lady's Hats and Gloves Scholarship Tea

The 13th Annual First Lady's Hats and Gloves Scholarship Tea will be held on Tuesday, March 19, 2019, at 6 p.m. in the Tullis Arena of the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex . Aligning with the 2019 Women's History Month theme, this year's tea is themed "Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence."

Each year, the tea's committee chooses a woman (or women) to honor with the Visionary Leadership Award. The 2019 Visionary Leadership Award honorees have made history by being a part of the largest number of African-American women ever to serve in the S.C. House of Representatives. The honorees are  Wendy C. Brawley, Gilda Cobb-Hunter, Chandra E. Dillard, Rosalyn D. Henderson-Myers, Patricia Moore Henegan, Annie E. McDaniel, Anne Parks, Leola C. Robinson and Krystle N. Simmons. These visionary women will be honored for their dedication and service to South Carolina and their ability to work in the House to bring positive and peaceful change to their respective districts and in the state. 

Vendor booths will be open before the program begins. Entertainment will be provided by the Claflin University Concert Choir and the Claflin Jazz Ensemble. Men are also invited to attend.

All proceeds from the event will benefit the Alice Carson Tisdale Scholarship, which is presented to female students during the tea. The students are chosen based on need and academic success. 

For more information or to apply for the 2019 scholarship, email Dr. Peggy S. Ratliff at  pratliff@claflin.eduMrs. Sadie D. Jarvis at, or Dr. Verlie A. Tisdale at

To purchase tickets, contact Ms. Charnita Mack at Tickets can also be purchased online by clicking here.

Alumni News

The Greater SC Coastal Alumni Chapters of Claflin University (which consists of Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton & Dorchester counties) will host the 45th Claflin University International Alumni Convention on April 25-28, in North Charleston, S.C. This year's planning committee is pleased to welcome attendees to Charleston, the "birthplace" of Claflin University, where the theme for the Convention is "Visionaries: From the Lowcountry to a Hilltop High."
Click here to register for the convention and to see the full schedule. Early bird registration is now open until March 25.

Dr. Travis P. Gleaton, '92, was the 107.3 JAMZ Upstate Black History Maker for February 13. He is the associate dean of students at Greenville Technical College in Greenville, S.C. He recently received his doctorate in Community College Executive Leadership at Wingate University. He is also a contributing author for Facing An Exponential Future: Technology and the Community College and COLLEGE ORIENTATION: A Comprehensive Guide to Improving Your Study Skills.  

Shaterica Neal, '13, was recently elected the youngest council member in the town of Gray Court, S.C. In a Facebook post, Councilwoman Neal stated "I am immensely grateful for my mom, my 'kitchen cabinet,' family, friends, and loyal supporters who so generously contributed their time and effort to my campaign during this election season. Your advice, your volunteerism, your donations, your kind words, and your encouraging messages helped me stay the course!" 

Derrick Quarles, '14, (left) graduated from the third cohort of the James E. Clyburn Political Fellowship. The Clyburn Fellowship offers leadership, policy, and campaign training to young professionals residing in South Carolina and was created to develop and train the next generation of Democrat leaders.  

Congratulations to Megan Rivers, '10, who was named "Employee of the Month" at WCIV ABC 4 in Charleston, S.C.  Rivers is the traffic anchor and a multimedia journalist for WCIV, appearing every morning on Good Morning Charleston. This is her second time being named "Employee of the Month."

Iconic basketball player Miriam Walker-Samuels, '92, (right) will become the first SC Athletic Hall of Fame inductee from Claflin University. Walker-Samuels, who set the NAIA record of most points in a career (3,855), has been selected to the Induction Class of 2019. She was the head coach of the Lady Panthers from 2003 until 2009, and in her first three seasons as coach, she led the team to consecutive national tournaments. The event will take place on May 13 at the Columbia Metropolitan Center. For more information or tickets for the event, please call (803) 779-0905. (Photo courtesy of the T&D) 
Panther Pride
Claflin to Host The College of Saint Rose in Mid-Week Game

The Claflin University baseball team will host The College of Saint Rose in a mid-week baseball game on Wednesday, March 6, at Historic Mirmow Field. The first pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Following the mid-week contest, Claflin will entertain Florida Southern College for three games this weekend. The action starts on Friday, March 8, with the series-opener at 5 p.m. followed by the second game on Saturday, March 9, at 3 p.m. The series wraps up on Sunday, March 10, with a single game at 1 p.m. Sunday's game also closes out a 17-game home stand for the Panthers.

Claflin Softball Defeats Johnson C. Smith to Start CIAA Era

The Claflin University softball team opened its Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) era with a double header sweep of Johnson C. Smith University, defeating the Golden Bulls, 8-0 and 8-0, on Monday, March 4, at Adden Street Field in Orangeburg.  Claflin, winners of three straight games, improves to 11-12 overall and 2-0 in the CIAA.
Claflin will have eight days off from competition before returning to the diamond on Wednesday, March 13, when they travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C. to face Bluefield State in a neutral site doubleheader. The Lady Panthers will then travel to Elizabeth City, N.C., the weekend of March 15-17 to participate in the CIAA Roundup.

St. Jean Earns USTFCCCA Top Honors in the Atlantic Region

Claflin University freshman sprinter Derick St. Jean has been named the 2019 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) NCAA Division II Men's Indoor Track & Field Atlantic Region Men's Track Athlete of the Year. The regional awards were announced Monday by the USTFCCCA. MORE

Claflin Baseball Defeats Miles College

Claflin University defeated Miles College on Sunday, March 3, 9-8, at Historic Mirmow Field. Claflin will return to action with four games at home, starting Wednesday, March 6, with a single game against The College of Saint Rose at 6 p.m. followed by a three-game series with Florida Southern College on Friday, March 8, through Sunday, March 10. MORE

Claflin, Converse Split Non-Conference Double Header

The Claflin University softball team split a non-conference double header with Converse, dropping game one 5-3 and winning the second game, 10-2, in five innings on Saturday, March 2, at Adden Street Field in Orangeburg, S.C. MORE

Claflin, Miles Spilt Doubleheader

The Claflin University Panthers and Miles College Golden Bears split a pair of baseball games on Saturday, March 2, at Historic Mirmow Field. MORE

CIAA Stories (February 22-March 1, 2019)

March 6, 2019
In This Issue
Calendar of Events
Connect with Us
@Claflin is published by the Office of Communications & Marketing 
President: Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, '65
Vice President for Institutional Advancement: Rev. Dr. Whittaker V. Middleton, '73
Assistant Vice President for Communications & Marketing: George Johnson Jr.
Public Relations Director: J. Craig Cotton
Public Relations/Social Media Coordinator: Charnita Mack
Web Communications Manager: Colin Myers, '07
Sports Information Director: Romanda Noble-Watson
Photographers: Cecil Williams, '60, Geoff Henderson and Colin Myers, '07
Student Interns: Alaysia Kelly and Deontre' McCray