The World Needs Visionaries
White House Initiative Announces 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars

Three distinguished Claflin University scholars are among 44 students who were named 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars by the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Travis Armstead, a junior political science major from Chicago, Ill.; Jayda Teasley, a junior political science major from Gainesville, Fla.; and Ronitra Wilson, a junior political science and mass communications major from Columbia, S.C.,  were this year's recipients of the program's highest student recognition.

Travis Armstead
Jayda Teasley
Ronitra Wilson

"It is my privilege to congratulate the HBCU Competitiveness Scholars Class of 2020 on their outstanding academic achievement, community leadership, and entrepreneurial spirit," said U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. "These exemplary students have excelled inside the classroom and out, and have successfully met the unprecedented challenges to learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their determination, resilience, and commitment to excellence will serve them well as they continue their academic careers and prepare for future continued success."
This year's scholars represent 33 HBCUs. They were chosen based on their academic achievements, campus and civic involvement, and entrepreneurial ethos or "go-getter" spirit. Comprised of undergraduate, graduate, professional students, and international students from various academic backgrounds, the 2020 scholars were picked from among several highly distinguished HBCU students. In addition, each scholar was nominated and endorsed by the president of their university .

"I congratulate our three HBCU Competitive Scholars who have demonstrated their exceptional academic abilities in the classroom and their empathy and concern for others by participating in activities that engage and enrich the campus community, said Claflin President Dwaun J. Warmack. "They represent Claflin's next generation of bold and diverse visionary leaders. We are immensely proud of their collective and individual achievements which align with the University's commitment to student success."
Johnathan Holifield, executive director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, added, "I am simply thrilled to recognize the 2020 HBCU Competitiveness Scholars. These students are fine examples of the talent and boundless vitality found at America's HBCUs. This recognition heightens expectations for scholars to continue making meaningful contributions to our nation. I am confident they will deliver."
The students will serve for one academic school year representing the 2020-2021 cohort of Competitiveness Scholars. During this unique academic school year, the initiative will work closely with the program's federal and non-federal partners to develop a robust calendar of virtual events that will explore and exchange ideas, and share best practices around leadership, professional development, career pathways, government resources, and much more.
Competitiveness Scholars typically assemble during the annual National HBCU Week Conference. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, scholars will not be able to convene in Washington, D.C., for the National Recognition Program in the fall. Instead, plans are underway for an online recognition and virtual campaign to ensure the scholars receive their acknowledgement during the 2020 Virtual HBCU Week Conference. During this virtual event, they will participate in workshops designed to strengthen their leadership and personal and professional development in the areas of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Help Claflin in the Juneteenth HBCU Challenge

As we continue in the celebration of 155th Anniversary of Juneteenth - recounting the heroism and tenacity of our ancestors before us - and ahead to the issues we face today - a global pandemic illuminating the persistent health disparities in our communities, political polarization, and valiant calls for justice against systemic oppression, Historically Black Colleges and Universities continue to be a beacon of light and a place of refuge - offering hope and incubating new generations of leaders, creators, and problem-solvers.

Our culturally rich academic institutions together with you - our generous family of supporters - have always been responsive to the needs of the communities we serve.
We believe, as you do, in the power of philanthropy, and in the incredible capacity of a collective and intentional response to our most critical and urgent needs.

We are calling on our alumni, friends and corporate partners to consider how they can support and ensure the sustainability and relevancy of our historic cultural institutions of higher learning. 

We are asking you to join us in accepting the challenge . You can do this by downloading the givly mobile app in the Apple or Google Play store. Sign up and search for us by name. Then, make a gift and share to social media with the hashtag #HBCUChallenge #Claflinxgivly. Your generous donation will benefit student scholarships.
Our goal for this fundraising challenge is $56,000.
In honor of Juneteenth (June 19), consider a gift today that ends in $0.19:
  • $25.19
  • $50.19
  • $75.19
  • $100.19
  • Or more 
The fundraising challenge ends Tuesday, July 7.
If you are unable to give online, you may mail your check to:

Claflin University
Attn: Institutional Advancement
400 Magnolia Street
Orangeburg, SC 29115
If you would like to speak to one of our Institutional Advancement personnel, please call (803) 535-5357.
In advance, we can't thank you enough for your generous support of our university. Thank you for your investment in the future of our Panther nation.

Faculty and Staff News

Dr. Andre Key, assistant professor of African American studies, wrote an article that appeared in the Religion Dispatches titled "What Is Juneteenth To America? It Has To Be More Than 'Black 4th Of July' If It's To Be Truly Meaningful." In the article, Dr. Key states "For Juneteenth to be a meaningful addition to American civil religion there must be a recognition of what it is not. First, Juneteenth is not the "Black 4th of July," which would just represent a re-inscription of Black marginalization through yielding to a parochial interpretation of this day as a replacement for the 4th of July by African Americans, though this perception has already gained traction amongst some African Americans. " Click here to read the entire article. 

Dr. Peggy Stevenson Ratliff, professor of English, co-edited a book titled "Transforming Students into Leaders through the Literary Arts and the Social Sciences." This book offers college professors, college students, and the general reader, a variety of ideas for developing techniques for creative and critical thinking and strategic reading and writing skills. Additionally, some of the contributions in the publication present strategies to help students cultivate effective interpersonal skills, foster a greater understanding of cultural diversity, and skills for collaboration in a culturally inclusive workplace. Chapters in the publication also include submissions by Dr. Nan Li, associate professor of education; Dr. Kumkum Singh, academic computing coordinator; Dr. Patrick L. Stearns, associate professor of mass communications; Dr. Verlie G. Tisdale; interim vice provost for academic programs and professor of biology, and Dr. Jason Youngkeit, associate professor of Spanish. 

Alumni News

Attention all Claflinites, we need your help. Please click  here  to take a brief survey to help us with plans for our upcoming Homecoming Weekend Celebration. Deadline to complete the survey is Friday, July 10, 2020.

LaNishia Boyd, '20
has been selected as a 2020-21 Woodland Hall Graduate Fellow at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. The fellowship cohort comprises new master's and doctoral students who have proven their commitment toward excellence in scholarship and leadership. Fellows will also participate in the Society of Woodland E. Hall Fellows, a collaborative, interdisciplinary organization that fosters networking, partnership, and academic support among past and present fellowship recipients. The society endeavors to increase career readiness and job placement of graduates by providing opportunities to enrich their resumes and CVs with transferable skills and professionalism.

Dr. B. DaNine J. Fleming, '96will be inducted into the 2020 Class of the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame in recognition of her exceptional achievements in the field of community service. Dr. Fleming is an associate professor in academic affairs, director of training and intercultural education in the Department of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC).
The 35th Annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony will be held on Friday, September 25, 2020, at 6 p.m. in the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Hotel, in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Fleming will join a distinguished list of more than 300 alumni from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) who have been enshrined into the Hall of Fame since 1986. Included are such notables as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, Walter Payton, Leontyne Price, Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall, Oprah Winfrey, Ambassador Andrew Young, Will Packard and Nancy Wilson.

Each year, alumni of HBCUs are honored for significant contributions they have made to their respective institutions. This event promotes the viability of HBCUs and highlights the accomplishments of their alumni. The mission of the NBCA Hall of Fame Foundation is to serve as a catalyst and partner for ensuring the stability, strength and excellence of the nation's Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

Altroy Staley, '03, has been named the new 
new head coach for girls basketball at Lakewood High School in Sumter, S.C. Prior to Lakewood, Staley served as the head coach for boys basketball at Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School in Bamberg, S.C. He has also served as the head coach for girls basketball at Hunter-Kinard-Tyler High School (Neeses, S.C.) and North High School (North, S.C.). 

Betty Wilson, '14, has been named a co-winner of the Doctoral Student Award at the University of South Carolina College of Social Work. A third-year Ph.D. candidate, Wilson was selected by a faculty committee to receive this award and was recognized for excellence in scholarly leadership and service activities. Wilson's research is focused on the impact of police violence exposure on the mental health of Black people and their communities. She is also interested in developing and implementing culturally specific interventions to help mitigate the trauma-related impacts of police violence as well as policy reform and social change efforts around policing.

June 26, 2020
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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