December 16, 2021
The World Needs Visionaries
First Lady LaKisha Warmack visited Rivelon Elementary School to spread a little Christmas cheer. On behalf of her initiative, Claflin Treasure Chest, she, along with Claflin University faculty and staff, collected more than 400 toys for the students of Rivelon Elementary School. Pictured with First Lady Warmack are members of the second grade class and Principal Rena Bowman, ’88.
Help Claflin Reach $1 Million By December 31, 2021
The holiday season provides us an opportunity to express our appreciation and gratitude to those who have enriched our lives and enhanced our communities. As leal and loyal sons or daughters of Claflin University, our Alma Mater inspired and prepared us to pursue lives of passion, purpose, and fulfillment. As a supporter of the University, you have witnessed Claflin’s commitment to academic excellence and our enduring legacy of producing globally engaged visionary scholars.

Join us in supporting our talented and deserving scholars with an end-of-the-year gift to the Claflin Fund. This year’s goal is $1 million to provide additional funding for student scholarships. We are just $156,000 away from our goal!

Our students survived an unimaginable global pandemic to continue their journey toward earning a Claflin degree. However, it has not been easy. Many of our students and their families are struggling financially to pay for tuition, books, fees, and reliable internet access. Your generous donation to the Claflin Fund could determine if a student will be able to continue their education at Claflin.

Christmas is the time for giving – we ask that you give the gift of a Claflin education that will elevate, transform, and inspire students to achieve their full potential as contributing members of today’s global society. Your gift to the Claflin Fund is an investment in Claflin University and the future.

Your generosity is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to hearing from you soon. If you have questions about the Claflin Fund, please contact me at (803) 535-5347.

Click here to give a gift to help a student today!

With warmest holiday wishes,

Dr. Marcus H. Burgess, ’96
Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement
Marcia L. Fudge, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, Tells Claflin Graduates to “Always Be Mindful That the World is Watching You”
The Claflin 2021 Fall Commencement celebrated student success and reaffirmed that the University has not only survived but thrived during the current coronavirus pandemic. Claflin conferred bachelor’s and master’s degrees to more than 170 graduates during the ceremony held Friday, December 10, at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex.
“Today is one of the most important milestones for our graduates. Many years of dreaming, sacrifice, and hope have paid off for our graduates today,” said Claflin President Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack.
“When many of you arrived at Claflin three or four years ago, I am pretty sure you had no clue that you would face the most challenging global pandemic of our lifetime – COVID-19,” Warmack said.
“But I am excited to say to each of our graduates today, if not for your hard work, dedication, and real accomplishments, your degree would mean nothing. It would just be a piece of paper. But instead, it is a tangible symbol and outward recognition of the increased knowledge and skills that are now a part of you. Your diploma is a well-earned honor and recognition of your accomplishments.”
Marcia L. Fudge, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), was the keynote speaker. Secretary Fudge is the 18th Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Throughout her career, Fudge has worked to help low-income families, seniors, and communities across the country.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be here with you on one of the greatest days of your life,” said Fudge. “Throughout history, Claflin University graduates have been trailblazers, innovators, and groundbreakers, and we expect no less from you. You are the future history makers of Claflin.”
Fudge served as U.S. Representative for the 11th Congressional District of Ohio from 2008 to March 9, 2021. She was a member of several Congressional Caucuses and past Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus. In 1999, Fudge was elected the first female and first African American mayor of Warrensville Heights, Ohio, a position she held for two terms.
“This commencement ceremony represents a defining moment in your life,” said Fudge, whose career in public service began in the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office, where she served as the Director of Budget and Finance. “You will have many more to come but enjoy this one as long as you can. But as you prepare to embark on your next chapter, always be mindful that the world is watching you and be mindful of the example you set for those who look up to you.”
Fudge earned her bachelor’s degree in business from The Ohio State University and a law degree from the Cleveland State University Cleveland-Marshall School of Law. She is a Past National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a member of its Greater Cleveland Alumnae Chapter.
“Take pride in your success, and remember that people choose to hire, mentor, and promote people they like and respect,” Fudge said. “Resist the temptation to take the easy way out. Things that are important and valuable come at a cost. Opportunities will always come -- you just need to be prepared for them, so do the very best you can and trust that you have the talent and skills to overcome any situation. It’s not important to be the best to the world. Be the best to yourself.”
Claflin’s commitment to student success and academic excellence was further illustrated by Mykia Deshay Hugee, a psychology major from Columbia, S.C. Hugee earned valedictorian honors for the Fall Class of 2021 by maintaining an accumulative 4.0 grade-point average.
“Today, we celebrate our triumphs and achievements,” said Hugee in her Senior’s Challenge speech to her classmates. “Each of us had our own unique experiences a combination of good times and bad times. What people don’t understand is that we are not like any other graduating class. Not at just this institution, but in the world.”
Hugee referenced the global health crisis that disrupted every aspect of society – including higher education while reflecting on her Claflin experience. 
“If people look at us after today, they will see simply college graduates,” Hugee said. “But I see students who went home for a spring break and did not return until a year and a half later. Students who were in the classroom one day, but were in virtual classes the next day; students who were forced to enter the real world half-way through college.”
Hugee plans to work during the Spring 2022 semester before returning to school to pursue a master’s degree in social work or clinical psychology.
“Moments away from receiving our college degree, people say "I hope you are ready to enter the real world,” Hugee said. “But what makes us so different is that we have already entered the real world. We do not need to prepare for it the world needs to be prepared for us. As we begin writing our next chapter, let us remember all we have accomplished so far and how we did not let anything deter us because Claflin creates the visionaries the world needs.”

Claflin alumni in the distinguished Golden Class of 1970 were also recognized during the Commencement Convocation. 
“The Golden Class of 1970 is truly special,” Warmack said. “They could not have imagined 50 years ago they would be seated here today. Two members of the class are on the Board of Trustees - Janice W. Marshall and Joan Steward Stevens. They represent being committed and giving back to this institution.”
Warmack hosted a Presidential Luncheon for the Golden Class of 1970 on Thursday, December 9, at Ministers’ Hall. He thanked the members for their service and contributions to the University and announced that the Golden Class of 1970 had donated nearly $100,000 to support scholarships at Claflin.
“This class not only gives their time and talent – but their treasure as well,” Warmack said.
In Case You Missed It - Pictures and Video from Claflin University's 2021 Fall Commencement Convocation
You can view pictures and video from the 2021 Fall Commencement Convocation.

Click here to watch the entire program shown on Facebook.

Click here to view pictures taken during Commencement hosted on Flickr.
Employee News
Terrence Jenkins has been named the interim women's basketball head coach. After a long career as an assistant coach with the Panthers men's basketball program, Jenkins will take the helm of the Lady Panthers and will look to lead the team to new heights.
Jenkins will take the reins of the program after a long, storied career with Panther athletics. Currently, Jenkins is in his 14th season with Claflin University. After beginning his career as a student assistant, he proceeded as a graduate assistant coach and as an assistant coach with the men's basketball team before moving into his position as interim head coach with the Lady Panthers program.
Before becoming a leader on the coaching staff, Jenkins made his mark as a leader on the court for the Panthers. He played two seasons with the Panthers where he was named team co-captain in and the 2002-2003 team's Most Valuable Player. He was equally impressive in the classroom where he earned the athletic achievement award presented to the men's basketball player with the highest grade-point average (GPA) and he also received the Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.'s prestigious David M. Dupree Award, which is presented to the student-athlete with the highest GPA in the Southeast. Prior to joining the Panthers, he spent two seasons at Denmark Technical College where he earned an associate degree in 2001. While at Denmark Tech, Jenkins was named the Rookie of the Year and was a two-time team captain and Most Valuable Player. Academically, he also earned a spot on the Dean's List in 1999-2001.
Jenkins is a 2005 graduate of Claflin University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in education. In December of 2006, he earned a Master of Science Degree in Rehabilitation from South Carolina State University. He is a graduate of Blackville-Hilda High School in Blackville, South Carolina. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi, Fraternity, Inc. and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
Alumni News
Congratulations to Dr. Leon Prieto, '04, and Dr. Simone Phipps, '05, for receiving the 2021 Distinguished Achievement Award for Breakthrough Idea from Thinkers50. Dr. Prieto is the director of the Center for Social Innovation & Sustainable Entrepreneurship and associate professor of management at Clayton State University. Dr. Phipps is associate professor of management in the School of Business at Middle Georgia State University. They were also featured in a recent online article in Forbes. The title of the article is "How Two of the World’s Top Business Professors Are Preparing Leaders For The Future By Honoring The Unsung Heroes Of The Past." Click here to read the article.
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@Claflin is published by the Office of Communications & Marketing 
President: Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack
Interim Vice President for Institutional Advancement: Dr. Marcus H. Burgess, '96
Assistant Vice President for Communications & Marketing: George Johnson Jr.
Public Relations Director: J. Craig Cotton
Web Communications Manager: Colin Myers, '07
Director of Athletic Media Relations: Trevin Q. Goodwin
Photographers: Cecil Williams, '60, Geoff Henderson and Colin Myers, '07