The World Needs Visionaries
Claflin University to Host and Participate in Honda Campus All-Star Challenge National Qualifying Tournament 

On Friday, February 7, 2020, Claflin University is serving as the host institution of the National Qualifying Tournament of the 31st annual Honda Campus All-Star Challenge (HCASC), America's premier academic competition for top HBCU students. The fast-paced buzzer competition highlights students' academic prowess and ability to answer questions about history, science, literature, religion, the arts and pop culture. Claflin's HCASC team is also one of 65 teams competing for institutional grants and a spot in the HCASC National Championship Tournament taking place on the American Honda campus in Torrance, Calif., on March 28 - April 1, 2020.
Honda Campus All-Star Challenge is a year-round program that centers on academic excellence, community service, leadership, networking opportunities and mentorship. It includes campus engagement, qualifying tournaments and culminates with the National Championship. Since 1989, Honda Campus All-Star Challenge, one of Honda's longest-running philanthropic initiatives in the United States, has celebrated and recognized the academic talents of HBCU students. More than $9 million in grants from Honda have provided support for scholarships, facility upgrades and other investments to improve the HBCU student experience.
"This is Claflin's first time hosting the Qualifying Tournament. We are thrilled to host the tournament, and the students are so excited. They have been studying and practicing religiously since August. We're hoping to not only do well, but to bring home a big trophy in April," said Dr. Belinda Wheeler, associate professor of English, and the HCASC coach.
The four students representing Claflin are freshmen Otiana Thompson and Jevauni Malcolm, sophomore Travis Armstead II, and junior Mackenzie Brown. Dr. Andre Key, assistant professor of African American studies, is the assistant coach.
To help Claflin qualify for the National Championship, the public can vote for our team at until Monday, February 10. Register and vote up to three times per day. The top three vote-getting HBCUs will automatically advance.
The event will be from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex. To see a full list of competing HBCUs, click here. For more information, please contact Dr. Belinda Wheeler at or (803) 535-5717.
Claflin University Receives Grant to Enhance Technology in STEM Research

Claflin University's growing reputation in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) continues to attract funding for research, professional development and new technologies. Claflin has secured a grant for more than $470,000 from the U.S. Department of Defense to purchase a Xevo G2-XS Quadruple-Time of Flight mass spectrometer which can measure the accurate mass of molecules in research to detect various diseases and in developing drug targets to cure diseases.  
"The recent acquisition of the mass spectrometer is consistent with Claflin's research and STEM agendas," said Claflin University president Dr. Dwaun Warmack . "We want to recruit and retain outstanding STEM students. It is imperative that we offer advanced technology and training that will prepare them for prestigious professional schools, research laboratories and other career opportunities. I applaud Dr. Swinton and his team for developing a comprehensive and compelling proposal that effectively articulated why the mass spectrometer is important to the high-quality research conducted at Claflin. The grant provides a vital resource for preparing Claflin students in STEM disciplines."

According to Dr. Derrick Swinton, interim dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, the mass spectrometer has the ability to separate molecules that have similar or the same molecular weight and the ability to find these molecules that may be abundant at low levels. Researchers who are interested in detecting diseases and developing drug targets to cure diseases after detection find different metabolites or proteins that are responsible for certain diseases. 

"The mass spectrometer can detect and identify proteins that are responsible for causing types of diseases," said Swinton. "It can differentiate proteins down to the per million level. The spectrometer allows us to find a needle in the haystack in identifying molecules. It has the ability to analyze blood or tissue samples to determine if any levels of drugs or pesticides exist in molecules with pinpoint accuracy.  This will help us design drugs that will target a  molecule, usually a protein, that is intrinsically associated with a particular disease process,"  Swinton said.

The mass spectrometer will enhance Swinton's research in finding markers for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) in African American tobacco users. COPD is a chronic inflammatory lung disease that causes obstructed airflow from the lungs.

"Data shows that drugs on the market now that treat COPD are not as effective in the African American population," Swinton said. "I am looking for targets that can be used to design drugs specifically for African Americans." Although African Americans usually smoke fewer cigarettes and start smoking cigarettes at an older age, they are more likely to die from smoking-related diseases than Whites, according to information on the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention website. 

Swinton's other research priorities include a collaboration with the University of South Carolina School of Medicine and Winthrop University which involves designing shelf-tissue implants from porcine (pig) tissue for transplantation into humans. This project is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the South Carolina Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (SC EPSCoR), a federal-state-university partnership designed to increase research support for states who have historically received low levels of federal research and development funds.

"This requires analyzing the protein profile of the tissue after it's removed from the pig," Swinton said. "This process also involves removing - as much as possible -  cells and proteins from the tissue to prevent a negative immunological response if it is transplanted into human patients. We will use the mass spectrometer to look at the proteins in the tissue after we prepare it for implantation."

Although African Americans usually smoke fewer cigarettes and start smoking cigarettes at an older age, they are more likely to die from smoking-related diseases than Whites, according to information on the Center of Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention website. 

In addition to supporting Swinton's projects, the mass spectrometer will enhance the research and training infrastructure for faculty and students, broaden the participation of women and minorities in STEM disciplines and enable the development of new interdisciplinary and cross disciplinary courses. The spectrometer is one of several state of the art technologies housed at Claflin's  Henry N. Tisdale Molecular  Science Research Center (MSRC), which opened in 2010. This includes the Bruker BioSpin 700 Megahertz Ultrashield Plus, which can completely breakdown the structural outline of any compound. The combination of Claflin's outstanding STEM faculty and access to these innovative technologies will contribute to improving the quality of the University's STEM graduates.   
"Claflin students will train on advanced instruments used in industry, thus preparing them for success in the workforce,"  Swinton said.

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) grant ( W911NF-18-S-0006) is supported by the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Army Research Laboratory's Historically Black Colleges and the Universities/Minority Institutions (HBCU/MI) program. The program's goal is to expand the involvement of HBCU/MIs in ongoing research at ARL.
Claflin to Host 14th Annual First Lady's Hats and Gloves Scholarship Tea

Claflin University is hosting the 14th Annual First Lady's Hats & Gloves Scholarship Tea on March 17, at 6 p.m. in the Tullis Arena at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex. This special event is held each year during Women's History Month and all proceeds benefit the First Lady's Hats and Gloves Tea Endowed Scholarship. The scholarship fund is designated for academically gifted and exceptionally talented students matriculating at Claflin.  
Themed "Valiant Women of the Vote," this year's event will honor former Senator Maggie W. Glover and former Representative Lucille S. Whipper.
Three $2,000 scholarships will be awarded at the event to three Claflin students based on need and academic success. For more information and to apply for the 2020 scholarship, contact Dr. Peggy S Ratliff ( ) or Mrs. Sadie D. Jarvis ( ). The scholarship application and essay deadline is Thursday, February 27. 

Click here to purchase tickets or to make a financial contribution. 
CIAA Tournament Tickets Now On Sale

The Claflin University Panthers will participate in the CIAA Basketball Tournament on February 25-29, 2020, at the Bojangles Coliseum and Spectrum Center in Charlotte, N.C. The tournament is widely-acclaimed as one of the nation's top sports, cultural, and entertainment attractions. Men's and women's basketball teams representing all 13-member institutions will compete for the tournament title and a berth to the NCAA Division II Championships. Let's cheer the Panthers on to a CIAA Tournament Championship!
Tickets are on sale now on Monday-Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. at the Claflin University cashier's window on the 2nd Floor of Tingley Hall. Please contact the CU Athletics Department at (803) 535-5504 or email for additional information.
Ticket packages for the tournament are as follows:
Courtside Tickets - $375 each 
Center Court - $250 each 
General Admission - $200 each 
The host hotel for Claflin University is the Doubletree Hilton Hotel Charlotte, N.C. Please click here to reserve your hotel accommodations. You may also call the hotel at (704) 347-0070 and use the group code - CLA. The deadline for hotel reservations is January 31, 2020. 
Please contact Tammy McCottry (803-535-5665/ or Zelda M. Lee (803-535-5348/ if you need additional assistance.
Alumni News

SAVE THE DATE - The Charlotte Alumni Chapter will host the 46th Claflin University International Alumni Convention on April 16-19, at the Charlotte Airport Hotel. Click here to register for the Convention.

Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack continued his Presidential Alumni Tour and visited the Columbia Chapter on Tuesday, January 28.

Can you tell that Krystal Abel, '03, has "Claflin Confidence" and is proud of her alma mater? This kindergarten teacher celebrated HBCU Week with her students in her classroom at Barringer Academic Center in Charlotte, N.C. 

LaDawn Frasier, '96, (also known as Khetnu Nefer) is teaching African Dance for Prince George Community College at the school's new Performing Arts Center in Largo, Md. She also owns "A Soulful Touch Wellness," a mobile women's wellness company located in the DMV area. Her company is dedicated to helping women achieve and maintain a state of well-being.  

Venyke Harley, '00, has been named the first director of human relations and organizational development for 1890 Research and Extension at South Carolina State University. Harley has more than 20 years of experience as a human resources professional in the private sector and local government. Prior to being named a director at 1890, Harley served as the loss control manager at the Municipal Association of South Carolina.

Congratulations to newly elected Belen Board of Education member, Aubrey Edward Tucker, '88, who was recently sworn in to office by Belen Municipal Judge Kathy Savilla. This is Tucker's first term on the board.  As a US Army veteran and retired administrator in the State of New Mexico, he is proud to continue to serve in the educational processes.  Belen Consolidated Schools is located in Belen, New Mexico.
Panther Pride

Claflin Panthers Loose in Overtime to Saint Augustine's

Saint Augustine's University (SAU) outscored Claflin University men's basketball team 8-5 in overtime for a 62-59 Central intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) Southern Division win over the Panthers on Wednesday, January 29.

The Panthers will compete at home for three straight games beginning with Fayetteville State University (February 3) followed by Virginia State University (February 5) and Johnson C. Smith University (February 8).

Claflin Defeats Saint Augustine's 57-47 in CIAA Southern Division Contest

The Claflin University women's basketball team outscored Saint Augustine's University 17-10, in route to defeating the Lady Falcons, 57-47, to secure its first win of the season on Wednesday, January 29.
Claflin will open a three-game homestand beginning Monday, February 3, when they host Fayetteville State in CIAA Southern Division contest. The Lady Panthers will then host Virginia State on February 5, and close out the homestand with Johnson C. Smith on February 8.

Claflin Softball Predicted to Win the CIAA

In only its second season competing in the CIAA, the Claflin University softball team was voted by league coaches to finish atop the CIAA standings and to repeat as Southern Division champions announced by the league office on Wednesday, January 29. The 2020 All-CIAA preseason softball team, as voted on by the CIAA Softball Coaches Association and Sports Information Directors Association, was also announced with the Lady Panther leading the way with six preseason team selections. MORE

Claflin Baseball Predicted to Finish 11th in the Peach Belt Conference

In the first season competing in the Peach Belt Conference (PBC), the Claflin University baseball team was selected to finish 11th  in the 2020 Preseason Poll as selected by the PBC coaches.
Claflin competed as an independent last season and in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) for the previous 10 years before making the PBC on July 1, 2019. The Panthers finished the 2019 campaign with a 25-18 record.
The Panthers will open the 2020 season on February 1-2, when they host Virginia State University. Claflin will host Virginia State in a double header on Saturday beginning at 1 p.m. and a single game on Sunday at 2 p.m.
The Panthers will host Lincoln Memorial University on Monday, Feb. 3 at 1 p.m.
All Claflin baseball homes game will be played at Historic Mirmow Field in Orangeburg, S.C.

Bennett Named CIAA Men's Field Athlete of the Week

Claflin University jumper Andrew Bennett has been tabbed this week's CIAA men's Field Athlete of the Week.
Bennett finished top 10 in the triple jump and top 15 in the long jump with marks of 11.54m and 5.98m, respectively, at the JDL Flat is Fast Invitational. The senior from Sumter, S.C., ranks 11th in the CIAA in the triple jump and 14th in the long jump this indoor season.
The Claflin University men's track and field team will compete in the USC "Carolina Challenge" hosted by the University of South Carolina on January 31 through February 1, at the USC Indoor Track and Field Facility in Columbia, S.C.

January 31, 2020
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