The World Needs Visionaries
Claflin Lyceum Series to Present Ailey II, The Next Generation of Dance
Photo by Nir Arieli

Claflin University will host the critically-acclaimed dance company Ailey II, The Next Generation of Dance, on Wednesday, October 23, at 7:30 p.m. in the Stevenson Auditorium in downtown Orangeburg. Admission is free and open to the public.
The company's performance is presented by Claflin's 2019 Lyceum Series and the Downtown Orangeburg Revitalization Association (DORA). The Lyceum Series comprises guest lecturers, performers and events that stimulate and reinforce the cultural and intellectual environment of the campus community.
Ailey II is universally-renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country's best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today's most outstanding emerging choreographers.
Founded in 1974 as the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, the company embodies Ailey's pioneering mission to establish an extended cultural community that provides dance performances, training, and community programs for all people. Under the direction of Sylvia Waters from 1974 to 2012, Ailey II flourished into one of the most popular modern dance companies, combining a rigorous touring schedule with extensive community outreach programs.
With Artistic Director Troy Powell at the helm, Ailey II continues to thrive as he brings a fresh dimension to this beloved company. Dance Magazine calls Ailey II "second to none," and The New York Times declares, "There's nothing like an evening spent with Ailey II, the younger version of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater."

For more information about Claflin's Lyceum Series, contact Dr. Peggy Stevenson Ratliff at (803) 535-5233 or email
Conference on Contemporary English Language Arts and Pedagogy Set for October 30-31 at Claflin University

"Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum and E-learning " will be the theme of the 18th Conference on Contemporary English Language Arts and Pedagogy on October 30-31 hosted by Claflin University.  The mission of the conference is to provide educators throughout the southeastern region a forum to discuss the pivotal role of reading and writing in the secondary and postsecondary curriculum.  

Registration for the conference begins at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, October 30, and will continue throughout the day. While on-site registration is available, registering by October 24 is recommended. The registration fee is $35 for faculty members. The fee is waived for secondary educators from South Carolina as well as undergraduate and graduate students.

"The conference will explore the challenges and opportunities faculty and students encounter while seeking to effectively teach and learn the areas of language arts," said Dr. Mitali Wong, chair of the Department of English. 

"Another purpose of the conference is to encourage collaborative interdisciplinary projects among educators. Such joint ventures are expected to result in the development of strategies, plans, and solutions to improve both school-based and region-based instruction in reading and writing across the curriculum."
The conference will feature panel discussions and presentations on several topics including: teaching and learning in the digital age; studying and teaching literature (including World Literature and travel literature); creative writing/creative writing pedagogy; composition pedagogy; and teaching foreign languages.

Dr. Anthony Graham, provost at Winston-Salem (NC) State University, will be the keynote speaker for the luncheon on the opening day of the conference at 1 p.m. in Ministers' Hall. The title of Graham's message is "I Can Read, But I Struggle with Comprehension - College Students Who Struggle with Reading and Implications for University Faculty."

Prior to his appointment as provost at Winston Salem State University, Graham served in various leadership positions in the Department of Education at North Carolina A&T State University, including chair of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. Previously, Graham worked as a high school English teacher and as an academic counselor/lecturer in the Center for Student Success at NCA&T. 

Dr. Farhat Iftekharuddin will be the featured speaker for the plenary session on Thursday, October 31, at 11 a.m. in Ministers' Hall. Iftekharuddin currently works with academic infrastructure development in developing countries. He designs academic, administrative, physical, and fiscal structures for international universities that wish to implement the United States' model of higher education. He is a retired professor of English from the University of Texas at Brownsville. Dr. Iftekharuddin has more than 20 years of experience in developing and teaching online courses.

For more information, contact Dr. Mitali Wong at (803) 535-5221 or email
Claflin University English Department to Host Launch Party for the Edisto River Review Journal

The Claflin University English Department will host a Fall Launch Party for the 2019 edition of the Edisto River Review on Thursday, October 31, from 5:30-7 p.m. in Ministers' Hall. Admission is free and open to the public.
The Edisto River Review is t he  English Department's  student literary journal. It was first published in 2014 and other editions of the journal were printed in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019. Dr. Nick R. Robinson, an assistant professor of English at Claflin, is the publication's editor. Robinson joined the editorial team in 2016.
"We have several new initiatives regarding the Edisto River Review," said Robinson. "In addition to the Fall Launch Party, the editorial team is planning the 2020 Spring Edisto River Review Reading-Awards Ceremony in April."
According to Robinson, the 2019 Edisto River Review will preview a new genre - graphic biography - to tell the story of Robert Smalls, the Beaufort-born escaped slave and South Carolina businessman, publisher, and Reconstruction-era senator. Smalls' remarkable accomplishments and his escape from slavery aboard a Confederate naval vessel was the theme for this year's publication.
"The 2020 Edisto River Review will offer another first for the journal as the trials and triumphs of an African American woman will provide the theme for the magazine," Robinson said. "The life of Mary Jane McLeod Bethune will inspire and convey a unifying perspective to both readers and authors of the publication."
Bethune was an educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, and civil rights activist best known for starting Bethune Cookman College, a private school for African-American students in Daytona Beach, Fla. She is also a co-founder of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF).
Robinson also revealed that a cover art contest will be held along with the annual writing competition in the 2020  Edisto River Review.  The art will focus on the theme of the journal and reflect Bethune's life and contributions as a civil rights pioneer .
"The first place winner's design will be featured on the front and back covers of the journal," said Robinson. "The second and third place winners will be honorable mentions and their work will be included in the journal along with other accepted art submissions. This aligns with our mission that 100 percent of the content in the  Edisto River Review  is a showcase for the literary and artistic talents our students."
Claflin University Raises Money for Student Scholarships at UNCF Prayer Breakfast

Claflin University raised nearly  $40,000  at its annual United Negro College Fund Community Prayer Breakfast on Saturday, October 12, at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex. Claflin's community partners including local churches, fraternities, sororities and other organizations throughout Orangeburg County and beyond made donations to help students at the University achieve their dream of earning a college degree. Claflin's annual fundraising goal for the UNCF Campaign is  $64,400.

Rev. Eddie Jones, pastor of Canaan Baptist Church in Lone Star, S.C., delivered an inspirational and spirit-filled message to a capacity crowd.

The UNCF is the nation's largest minority education organization that provides financial assistance to minority students who attend one of the UNCF's 37 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs). The organization provides operating funds, scholarships, internships, and professional training for faculty and administrators. 
Attorney and Mrs. William H. Johnson Sr. to Serve as Homecoming Parade Marshals

The selection of Attorney William H. and Annette B. Johnson as parade marshals for Claflin's Sesquicentennial Homecoming Parade is a well-deserved honor and recognition of couple's indelible contributions to the University. The Homecoming Parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 16, in downtown Orangeburg. The parade will start on Russell Street at Edisto Memorial Gardens and will end on campus at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex on Magnolia Street.
The couple's numerous gifts and donations to Claflin include establishing  The Attorney William H. and Annette B. Johnson Endowed Annual Faculty Award for Innovative Scientific Research. The recipient is presented a framed certificate and a financial award during the Commencement Ceremony.  The Johnsons also provided substantial financial support for Claflin's Veterans' Memorial Monument, which fulfilled a dream by Attorney Johnson's brother, the late  Charles H. Johnson, who was the University's dean of student affairs for nearly 20 years.  The monument, which lists the names of those veterans and provides a historical narrative of the university's ROTC program, is located near the James and Dorothy Z. Elmore Chapel.  Johnson served in the U.S. Navy and is a proud Vietnam War veteran.

Attorney Johnson is a member of the Claflin University Board of Trustees and he is chair of the Audit Committee. He previously served on Claflin's Board of Visitors.

A native of Orangeburg, S.C., Attorney Johnson earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Claflin University in 1972. He received the Juris Doctor degree (JD) at Duke University and a Master of Laws degree (LL.M) in trial advocacy, from Temple University.  After graduating from Duke University Law School in 1975, Johnson began a 39-year legal career on the regulatory side of the transportation industry as a legal representative with the Interstate Commerce Commission in Washington, D.C.
In 1978, he joined the staff of the United States Senate Commerce Committee, where he was named chief counsel of its Surface Transportation Subcommittee. In this position, he was responsible for managing and drafting all surface transportation legislation originating in the Senate. Included was the "Staggers Rail Act of 1980," which deregulated the U.S. Rail Industry, transforming it from a highly constricted economic model of operation to the competitive rail industry of today.
In 1981, Johnson accepted the associate general counsel position with the Consolidated Rail Corporation (CONRAIL) in Philadelphia, Pa. He represented CONRAIL as lead trial counsel in complex commercial cases litigated in the Pennsylvania state and federal courts.
In 1997, Johnson joined the Norfolk Southern Corporation and served as its senior general attorney and intellectual property counsel until his retirement in 2014.

For his community leadership and distinguished legal service, Johnson has received various recognitions and commendations. He is listed in "Who's Who in American Law," a recipient of the Urban League of Philadelphia Leadership Institute's "Cecil B. Moore Award," and the Boy Scouts of America "Whitney M. Young, Jr. Service Award." Johnson is also the recipient of official "Letters of Commendation" from President Jimmy Carter in recognition of his significant leadership role as counsel to the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee Surface Transportation Subcommittee. He was recently inducted into the  National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame.

Annette B. Johnson is a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. She moved to Orangeburg after they married in 1970 when Attorney Johnson enrolled at Claflin. Previously, Mrs. Johnson had attended Manhattan Medical School and began career in healthcare. She had worked at several hospitals in New York before landing a position as medical technician at Regional Medical Center. She also worked as a researcher in endocrinology at Duke University Hospital while her husband attended Duke University Law School. Throughout their marriage, Mrs. Johnson has been a devoted supportive wife and mother of three sons.
Bishop Kenneth L. Gibson to Serve as Homecoming Worship Service Speaker

Bishop Kenneth L. Gibson, '79, will be the guest pastor for Claflin University's annual Homecoming Worship Service on Sunday, November 17, at 9:30 a.m. in the James and Dorothy Z. Elmore Chapel. Bishop Gibson is the pastor of Savannah Grove and Jordan Chapel Free Will Baptist churches.
Bishop Gibson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Religion and Philosophy from Claflin University. He received a Master of Education degree in Counseling and Psychology from Troy University. He has done further studies at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta, Ga., and the Morehouse School of Religion.
Bishop Gibson was consecrated to the sacred office of Bishop on July 15, 2017. He holds the rank of Captain in the US Army Reserves (Retired). He is also employed as an in-school coordinator at Lake City High.

His civic and fraternal affiliations include the following:
  • Presiding Prelate - United Free Will Baptist International Conference (2017-present)
  • Moderator - United Free Will Baptist International Conference (1997-2017)
  • Chairman - Free Will Baptist Executive Board (1997-Present)
  • Chairman - Free Will Baptist Board of Council
  • Member - Free Will Baptist Young People Christian League (Y.P.C.L.) Conference
  • Member - Free Will Baptist Women's Conference
  • Member - Free Will Baptist Sunday School Conference
  • Member - Savannah Grove Freewill Baptist Church
  • Member - Olive Grove Masonic Lodge #339
  • Member - Olive Grove Lodge #188 Order of  Eastern Stars
  • Chaplain - Phi Sigma Chapter of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated
  • President - Florence Chapter of Claflin University International Alumni Association
  • President - Town of Coward Democratic Caucus
  • President - Town of Coward Area Voter's League
Bishop Gibson has traveled extensively throughout the United States and abroad, teaching and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. He has received more than 200 awards and certificates for outstanding achievements. On June 6, 2002, he received a resolution from the South Carolina House of Representatives for 20 years of service to the Savannah Grove Free Will Baptist Church. On August 9, 1998, Bishop Gibson received a proclamation from the Honorable George M. McKelvery, Mayor City of Youngtown, Ohio, for his appearance as guest revivalist at the Holy Bible Church of God.
Faculty News

Dr. Walter B. Curry Jr. , adjunct faculty, recently received the 2019 International African-American Historical and Genealogy Society Book Award in the Non-Fiction Category-Genealogy, for his publication "The Thompson Family: Untold Stories from the Past (1830-1960)" at the International AAHGS Book Award Ceremony. His book  is the first of several volumes that chronicle the genealogical diversity of the Thompson Family. From the bowels of the Skillet Community of Salley, S.C., this book showcases the reflections and experiences of relatives that intersect the common themes of African-American history, as well as themes of civic engagement, tragedy, and achievement. Several narratives in the book include a slave who purchased his freedom, a relative who served as a cook in the Confederate Army, a young relative who was tragically murdered, and a sharecropper who became a prominent soil conservationist. The book is available on
Alumni News

Claflin University is looking forward to welcoming you "home" for Homecoming 2019 on November 14-17. Click here for the complete schedule and registration.
A full schedule of events and activities are planned for your enjoyment and participation. We will also celebrate reunion for the classes of 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, 1974, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1994, 1999, 2004, 2009, and 2014. Celebrate your class with memories that last forever. 

Activities include a  5K Walk and Run, annual scholarship  golf classic, the Homecoming Parade, a men's and women's basketball doubleheader game, Greek step show and the Annual Founders' Day Convocation.
Tickets for the Presidential Scholarship Gala may be purchased online by clicking  here. For more information about the Gala, call (803) 535-5665 or (803) 535-5357.

If you are a class officer/agent, please contact Zelda M. Lee, '77, director of the Annual Fund/Alumni Relations, at (803) 535-5348,

Marlin Benjamin, '19 , is featured on the website of Georgia State University (J. Mack Robinson College of Business). He is currently pursuing his MBA with an accounting focus and working full time as a business analyst on the Merchandising Execution Team (MET) for Home Depot corporate in Atlanta, Ga. 

Benjamin is a part of Robinson's Flex MBA program, which is a degree option for students, who also work full time, that allows them to work alongside professional advisors to choose what classes they need and when they need to take them to fit their schedule. When asked why he wanted to pursue his MBA, he was quoted saying, "I interned with Home Depot my senior year of undergrad and fell in love with the culture. My MBA degree will help provide me with the experience I need to grow with this company." Benjamin is looking to complete the program in two years, and after, he plans to take the CPA exam.
Panther Pride

Lady Panthers Fall to Shaw in CIAA Volleyball Match

Shaw University defeated Claflin University 3-0 (25-13, 25-17, 25-9) in a CIAA Southern Division volleyball match on Wednesday, October 16, at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Center in the Tullis Arena. With the loss, Claflin dropped to 4-9 overall and 3-5 in the CIAA.

The Lady Panthers will return to action in the second CIAA round-up at Winston-Salem State University. Claflin will face three teams from the northern division of the conference, beginning Saturday, October 19, with Virginia State University at 12. On Sunday, October 20, Claflin will face Lincoln University (PA) at 11 a.m., followed by Virginia Union University at 1 p.m.

Claflin University Basketball Season Tickets on Sale Now

Ticket packages are on sale now for the 2019-2020 Claflin University men's and women's basketball season. The cost for the season package is $120, which is a $30 savings if purchased separately. Tickets are available for purchase online. Deadline to purchase season tickets is Tuesday, November 12, at 5 p.m. MORE
October 18, 2019
In This Issue

Calendar of Events
Connect with Us
@Claflin is published by the Office of Communications & Marketing 
President: Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack
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