The World Needs Visionaries

Claflin President Henry N. Tisdale Greets Largest Freshman Class at Parting Ceremony

President Henry N. Tisdale spoke passionately to the Class of 2022 about Claflin University's hallmark values of academic excellence and visionary leadership and then ushered the students through the famed "Arch of Confidence," concluding the Parting Ceremony ritual for the freshman class on Sunday, August 12 in the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center.

President Tisdale welcomed more than 500 freshmen during the weekend as Claflin prepares for the 2018-2019 fall academic semester. The students, family members, and Claflin faculty and staff filled the auditorium and several other campus sites that provided live streaming of the ceremony. 

Claflin will celebrate its 150th Anniversary of providing academic excellence and visionary leadership as the oldest HBCU (historically black college/university) in South Carolina. Claflin, which was founded in 1869, was chartered to provide educational opportunities to all students regardless of gender, race, religion, or ethnic origin. The Class of 2022 will be the last for President Tisdale, who announced he will retire in Spring 2019. 

"The Class of 2022 is the largest and one of the most talented classes in the university's history," Tisdale said. "This class is far beyond 500 strong and you were selected from one of the largest application pools in Claflin's history. We have students from 45 of 46 counties in South Carolina with the highest total coming from Richland, Orangeburg, Florence Charleston and Berkeley counties. This class includes students from every region of the United States and a number of international countries from throughout the world."

The top three majors for the Class of 2022 are biology, business and psychology and 30 percent are majoring in STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math). Many of the students are entering Claflin with college credit after participating in dual enrollment programs in high school.

President Tisdale was especially proud of the significant number of scholarship recipients in the freshman class. 

"The impressive list of scholarships awarded to students in this class include South Carolina Palmetto Scholars, Merit Scholars, South Carolina Life and Hope Scholars, Presidential Scholars, and James E. Clyburn-Rudolph Canzater Scholars," said Tisdale. "Last week, Congressman Clyburn awarded 127 Canzater scholarships to outstanding high school seniors. These students could have gone anywhere and taken their scholarships out-of-state. We are extremely pleased that 47 of those students chose Claflin."

Tisdale spoke both as the visionary leader who has led Claflin for more than two decades and as a parent, admonishing the students before sending them off on their journey to college and adulthood. He told the students to develop an awareness of what makes them uniquely Claflin.

"Keep God your creator first. Be mindful of the choices you make," Tisdale said. "Be mindful of the spiritual life in all that you do. Do the things that will keep you safe and out of trouble. We expect you to embody and practice social and moral responsibility in your daily lives. Carry yourself at all times with dignity befitting a Claflin scholar. Be mindful that you too can lead. The world needs visionaries."

Tisdale drew a chorus of cheers when he reported on the progress of Claflin's new Health and Wellness Center scheduled to open in November and the University's national rankings by prestigious media organizations such as the Washington Monthly, and U.S. News and World Report. He also announced that the 2018 freshman class will be the second class to matriculate through the UNCF/Lilly Foundation's Career Pathway Initiative (CPI), a $6 million grant designed to prepare students for high paying jobs and graduate and professional schools.

"You are part of a special university and part of the Claflin family," Tisdale added. "You are entering the university at one of the most exciting times in the history of the university. Be mindful of the 'Claflin Confidence.' That is something you can get here that you cannot get at any other place. We know it's real and we have seen it work in generation after generation of Claflin students and graduates. The 'Claflin Confidence' is a way of approaching the world. It's about knowing who you are, that you are your own person, and knowing what's right for you."

Bibet Itani, a freshman from Nepal, is one of Claflin's newest visionary scholars. Itani said he researched several colleges and universities before deciding that Claflin would be the best fit.

"Claflin has outstanding computer science and internships programs," said Itani who was accepted into the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College. "I was able to visit the campus several times and information on the website was very helpful. Everyone here is so friendly."

Itani also credits another Nepal student, Saroj Bhatta with helping him choose Claflin. "We met last summer and he told me he was thinking about attending Claflin, I told him it was a great school and he would be making an excellent choice." Bhatta is a sophomore majoring in computer science.

Malachi Wright did not travel half as far as Itani to arrive at Claflin. However, the Columbia, S.C., native also found Claflin's friendly atmosphere and high-quality academic programs hard to resist. 

"I plan to major in graphic design and pursue a career in animation after I graduate," said Wright. "This is a beautiful campus and everyone has made me feel at home." 

Janelle Johnson from North Charleston, S.C., is eager to start classes that will lead to her to earning a degree in criminal justice. After that, she wants to attend law school.  "Claflin was always my top choice, said Johnson. "I like the size of this campus and my high school counselor spoke very highly of the criminal justice program."

Janelle's mother, Rochelle, said her daughter is not the first member of the family to enroll at Claflin.  Janelle has an aunt in Philadelphia, Ruby Roper, '58, who also attended Claflin.

"She was very excited to hear Janelle chose Claflin to continue her education. Her aunt knows it has been a long time since her days in Orangeburg, but she had nothing but good things to say about her Claflin experience."
Stay Connected Throughout the Year
The Office of Communications and Marketing has produced a 12-month academic calendar titled "Claflin Is..." The calendar outlines academic and social events that will happen during the 2018-2019 school year as well as helps to gear up for Claflin's Sesquicentennial celebration which will begin Homecoming Week (November 11-18). Click here to view the calendar.
Alumni News

The  Gibbes Museum of Art has  announced Dr.  Leo F. Twiggs, '56 as the 2018 winner of the  Society 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art . Twiggs is the first artist from South Carolina to win the prestigious prize. Each year, the 1858 Prize is presented by Society 1858, a member auxiliary group of the Gibbes Museum of Art comprised of young professionals. The $10,000 cash prize is awarded to one artist whose work demonstrates the highest level of artistic achievement in any media, while contributing to a new understanding of art in the South. Dr. Twiggs will be celebrated at the Amy P. Coy Forum on September 19 at 6 p.m. at the Gibbes Museum. Click here for more information or to purchase tickets.

Panther Pride
Claflin University Women's Basketball Team Releases 2018-2019 Schedule

The Claflin University women's basketball team has released its 2018-19 schedule, which includes non-conference opponents from four different NCAA Division II conferences. For the second straight season, the Lady Panthers will open play on the road. In all, Claflin will have five non-conference matchups and 13 home games. Click here to view the schedule.

Claflin University Men's Basketball Team Releases 2018-2019 Schedule

The Claflin University men's basketball team has released its 2018-19 schedule, which includes non-conference opponents from four different NCAA Division II conferences.  In all, the Panthers will have six non-conference matchups and 11 home games. Click here to view the schedule. 

August 15, 2018
In This Issue
Connect with Us
@Claflin is published by the Office of Communications & Marketing 
President: Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, '65
Vice President for Institutional Advancement: Rev. Whittaker V. Middleton, '73
Assistant Vice President for Communications & Marketing: George Johnson Jr.
Public Relations Director: J. Craig Cotton
Web Communications Manager: Colin Myers, '07
Sports Information Director: Romanda Noble-Watson
Photographers: Cecil Williams, '60, Geoff Henderson and Colin Myers, '07