The World Needs Visionaries
Giving Tuesday a Success

Claflin alumni, employees, students and other stakeholders displayed their overwhelming support for the University by donating $116,014 on December 3, during the Giving Tuesday Campaign. The one-day fundraising total far exceeded the $25,000 goal set prior to the start of the campaign.  

Giving Tuesday was launched in 2012 and it is observed on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. It has become an international movement that celebrates charitable giving at the beginning of the Christmas and holiday season.

A special heartfelt thank you to each one who helped reach the goal and contributed to making a difference. 

If you missed the opportunity to share your gift on Giving Tuesday, you may:
  1. Go to
  2. Text CUGiving to 444999
  3. Call (803) 535-5357
Thanks again, for your support of Claflin University.
Vote for Miss Claflin in the Ebony HBCU Campus Queens Competition 

Make sure to keep voting for Miss Claflin University, Faith McKie, in the EBONY HBCU Campus Queens 2019 competition.  She is currently in third place. Campus Queens who finish in the top 10 in votes received will be named an Ebony HBCU Campus Queen.
Faith is a senior sports management major and a member of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College.
Let's get her to #1!  Voting in the competition is unlimited and will be open until December 31. Click here to vote now.
Claflin Honors One of its First Graduates at Annual Leadership Giving Luncheon

From left: Rev. Whittaker V. Middleton, Robert Miller, Charles Orr, Porsha Raysor and Dr. Dwaun Warmack

Claflin honored the late I.S. Nimmons, one of the University's first graduates at the annual Leadership Giving Luncheon held last month at Ministers' Hall. The luncheon was a part of Claflin's Sesquicentennial Homecoming events. Nimmons, a native of Bamberg, S.C., was in the first cohort of freedmen and their children who enrolled in Claflin when the University open its doors in 1869.

Robert Miller, president of the Claflin University International Alumni Association, presented a resolution that awarded Nimmons posthumously, full-membership into the CUIAA.  

Charles Orr, a Nimmons family descendant announced the selection of Porsha Raysor, a senior human performance and recreation major at Claflin, as the recipient of a $1,869 scholarship as the I.S. Nimmons Commemorative Sesquicentennial Scholar. Orr also presented Claflin with a large commissioned portrait of Nimmons and a copy of the resolution that will be permanently displayed in the H.V. Manning Library.

The annual Leadership Giving Luncheon recognizes gift totals of $1,000 or more from individuals that were contributed during the period from October 16, 2018, through October 15, 2019. This year, 244 leadership-level donors, 11 percent more than last year, gave a total of $894,518, were recognized. Of these honorees, 117 had increased their giving over 2018 levels by one or more giving levels. This year's Leadership Giving Luncheon was sponsored in part by The Regional Medical Center, a Sesquicentennial Regional Leadership Partner.

About I.S. Nimmons

Isaac Solomon Nimmons  (I.S. Nimmons) was born during slavery on August 28, 1852. He was in the first cohort of the freedmen and their children who enrolled in Claflin University when it opened its doors for the first time in October 1869.  Rev. Abram Middleton, an original trustee of Claflin University, and the founding minister of Orange Grove Methodist Episcopal Church (now Orange Grove United Methodist Church), encouraged his bright young parishioner, I.S. Nimmons, to pursue an education.

I.S. Nimmons' father, Isaac Nimmons, was a prominent freedman who was the coachman of Woodlands Plantation in Midway, S.C., and the body servant of noted 19th-centurry writer, William Gilmore Simms, the last slave owner of the plantation. Isaac Nimmons agreed to let I.S. Nimmons, his eldest son and namesake, attend the newly established university in nearby Orangeburg to get a "proper" education.

I.S. Nimmons entered Claflin with the intention of studying to become a minister. Instead, he became a successful farmer and landowner. In 1885, he married Josephine Grayson whose father, Richard Grayson, joined the Union Army during the Civil War and served with the 128th Infantry Regiment United States Colored Troops (USCT) incognito to prevent Confederates from harming his family in retaliation for him joining the Union cause.

By the time I.S. Nimmons was starting a family with his wife, Josephine Grayson, the senior Isaac Nimmons gave him 15 acres of land. Isaac Nimmons owned 514 acres. He had bought 220 acres from Rev. Sheldon S. Lawton in 1883 for $660 (nearly $17,000 in 2019 dollars). Early on, Rev. Lawton had been a member of the Claflin University faculty, and I.S. Nimmons would have been one of his students.

In the next twenty years, I.S. Nimmons added substantially to the initial 15 acres his father had given him and had acquired 600 acres by the beginning of the twentieth century. The adjoining farmsteads of his and his younger brother, Joshua Nimmons, covered more than 1,000 acres. I.S. Nimmons now had the three things his father and Rev. Middleton told him he needed to succeed: "The good Lord, a good learning, and good land."

Aside from growing cotton as a cash crop, I.S. Nimmons maintained fruit orchards and cultivated sorghum, a grain that was introduced to America by enslaved Africans. He was a supporter of the Negro State Fair Association started by influential African American leader, Richard Carroll, and a backer of the highly successful 1908 South Carolina Colored State Fair.   As a devout Methodist and elder of the church, I.S. Nimmons attended church conferences and was actively engaged in the community by helping to build schools, churches, and lodges. He established the Masonic Lodge in the Orange Grove section of Bamberg County and; as a skilled carpenter, personally helped construct the Mason's meeting hall.

Having gone to Claflin and being an educated man, I.S. Nimmons followed and understood the issues of his times. He attended the inauguration of President Woodrow Wilson in 1913. He was hopeful at first about a  Wilson presidency, but subsequently condemned Wilson's policies of racial segregation.
When I.S. Nimmons died in 1934, his obituary published in South Carolina's largest newspaper, Charleston's The News and Courier, read in part:  "Isaac Nimmons, prosperous Negro of Bamberg County owned 400 acres of good farmland, and never once did he allow a mortgage to be placed on his plantation. He farmed the land himself and was rated one of the county's best farmers."

Over the past 150 years, generations of Nimmons descendants have attended Claflin University following in the footsteps of I.S. Nimmons.   
Alumni News

Jay Dukes, '10, founder of Aux Cord Wars, was featured on HBCU 101, a television show on  Aspire TV  that promotes HBCUs. During the episode, Dukes talks about his Claflin experience and his appreciation for how Claflin has contributed to his professional and personal achievements. Click here to see the episode.

Floyd Gordon, '80, is hosting a Christmas Art Show on December 6-8, at his art gallery in downtown Orangeburg. Gordon is known for his vivid dazzling watercolors and potent acrylics. Click here to visit the gallery website. 

Latricia Heyward, '00, was named Teacher of the Year at West Ashley Advanced Studies Magnet School in Charleston , S.C. In her 18th year of teaching, Hayward  currently  teaches seventh grade math, honors math and honors geometry. However, in her career she has worked at Baptist Hill, Stall High School and Clark Academy. 

Congratulations to Wilhelmenia Joyner Jefferson-Priester, '54, who was inducted into the Voorhees College Hall of Fame during the 17th annual Hall of Fame banquet. Jefferson-Priester taught for more than 25 years in pre-schools and the public-school system in Brooklyn, New York. She has served faithfully in many community organizations - the Decatur Street Block Association, Youth in Action, Family and Community Leaders (FCL) and is an NAACP Life Member. In 1952, she became a member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc., at Claflin University and was recognized as a Diamond Life Member. She served in several leadership positions within the sorority and has been recognized by the Delta Alpha Zeta Chapter in Brooklyn, N.Y., as Soror of the Year. She is a chartering member of the Upsilon Rho Zeta Chapter in Bamberg, S.C., where she has been a leader in receiving chapter awards and state honors.

Dr. Leon Prieto , '04, an associate professor of management at Clayton State University in Morrow, Ga., was named an associate research fellow at the Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge in England.  

Vela McClam Mitchell Thomas, '75 , chief executive officer of Lemae Group Wines, was appointed as an inaugural member of the Vinexpo Advisory Board on November 21, 2019.  Thomas and her late husband founded Lemae Group Wines, a wine importing company headquartered in Atlanta, in 1999. The couple's original mission was to bring the fine wines of Portugal to the U.S. It has since expanded to include wines from estate vineyards in France, Italy and Spain as well. Thomas has led the company for the past 10 years.

Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, '65, Claflin University president emeritus, will receive the Community Masked Award at the fifth annual Florence and Pee Dee Area UNCF Mayor's Masked Ball on Friday, December 6, at 7:30 p.m., at the Florence Civic Center.  Tickets are $125 and are available at .
Panther Pride

Claflin Panthers to Host Savannah State

The Claflin University men's basketball team will play Savannah State University on Friday, December 6. The non-conference matchup will get underway at 6 p.m. at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex.
Following the contest against Savannah State, Claflin will take to the road for a pair of non-conference games at Lincoln University on December 12, and Bowie State University on December 14.

Panthers Defeat Winston-Salem State

The Claflin University Panthers held off a late second-half rally from Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) in defeating the Rams, 60-53, in a CIAA contest at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Center (Tullis Area), Monday (Dec. 2).
The win ended a four-game losing streak by Claflin, improving the Panthers season record to 2-5 overall and 1-2 in the CIAA.

WSSU Defeats Claflin in CIAA Contest

Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) defeated Claflin University, 66-59, in a CIAA women's basketball game on Monday, December 2, at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Center. With the loss, Claflin remains winless in the season at 0-7 and 0-3 in CIAA.
The Lady Panthers will return to action on December 12 at Lincoln University and December 14 at Bowie State University.

Cornellius Reynolds Named Food Lion CIAA Men's Basketball Defensive Player of the Week

Claflin University senior Cornelius Reynolds was named the Food Lion CIAA Men's Basketball Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, December 2.
Reynolds (6-6, guard/forward, Daytona Beach, FL) averaged five defensive rebounds, including a game-high seven against Elizabeth City State, 2.5 steals, and a block in two games for the Panthers. The Daytona Beach, FL, native also averaged 9.5 points, including 12 against Virginia State, along with 6.5 rebounds and three assists for the week.
December 5, 2019
In This Issue

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@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