The World Needs Visionaries
Claflin Honors Employees for Exceptional Service 

Ms. Doris Gathers Dantzler, Dr. Bridget P. Dewees, Ms. Lottie Robinson, Ms. Claudette Hopkins, and Dr. Jason Youngkeit were recognized for outstanding contributions to Claflin University during the 24th Recognition and Rewards Luncheon.

Continuing a 24-year tradition, Claflin University recently honored employees who served with distinction during the 2017-18 academic year at its annual Recognition and Rewards luncheon.

"We celebrate Team Claflin as we honor these award recipients for their outstanding contributions during the past year," President Henry N. Tisdale said. "Our success and emergence as a premier 21st Century institution of higher education is a result of the collective effort of our resourceful, engaged and dedicated administrators, faculty, and staff. I congratulate each of our honorees. We greatly appreciate their service and commitment to excellence."

Dr. Bridget P. Dewees, assistant vice president for institutional effectiveness,  was selected Administrative Employee of the Year; Ms. Doris Gathers Dantzler, senior payroll accountant, was named Professional Employee of the Year;  Ms. Claudette Hopkins, senior administrative assistant, was the Administrative Support Employee of the Year; and the Customer Service Award winner was Ms. Lottie Robinson, senior administrative assistant. Each winner received a financial gift and a plaque of appreciation.

Other employees who were nominated are as follows: Mrs. Gwendolyn Phillips and Mrs. Marilyn Stacey-Suggs (Administrative Employee of the Year); Mr. Terrence Jenkins, Ms. Nadine McMillan, Ms. Morgan Montgomery, Ms. Shanelle Myke, Ms. Shirley Nichols (Professional Employee of the Year); April Spraggins-Johnson (Administrative Support Employee of the Year); Mr. Herbert Hallman, Ms. Barbara McKelvey, Mr. Ernest Nimmons (Exemplary Customer Service).
Winners were selected based on standards of achievements that are consistent with Claflin's Guiding Principles: Commitment to Excellence; Commitment to Valuing People; Commitment to Being Student Focused; Commitment to Exemplary Educational Programs; Commitment to Financial Accountability; Campus Involvement; and other relevant factors.

Members of Claflin's world-class faculty were recognized for their excellent instruction in the classroom. Dr. Jason Youngkeit, an assistant professor who teaches Spanish, was this year's recipient of the United Methodist Exemplary Teacher Award. Dr. Marlena P. Washington, an assistant professor of chemistry, was the recipient of the South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (SCICU) Excellence in Teaching Award.

Other faculty award winners were Dr. Belinda Wheeler, who received the James E. Hunter Excellence in Teaching Award and Dr. Bijoy Dey, recipient of the William and Annette Johnson Innovative Scientific Research Award. Wheeler is an associate professor of English and has written or edited several publications

Dey, an assistant professor of physical chemistry, has been awarded two patents and his research articles have received multiple citations from scientists from around the world.

Wheeler and Dey were presented their awards at Claflin's 148th Commencement Convocation.
Claflin University was named as a finalist in four categories in the 2018 HBCU Awards. The categories are Best Choir, Best Student Newspaper, Female Athlete of the Year, and Male Student of the Year. The 2018 HBCU Awards will be held on June 22 at the Renaissance Baltimore Harborplace Hotel beginning at 6 p.m.

The HBCU Awards is the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievement at historically black colleges and universities throughout the country. Winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, journalist, HBCU executives, students and alumni for the merit of accomplishment and for generating positive coverage for HBCU campus communities. In 2015, Claflin University was named HBCU of the Year by the HBCU Awards panel. 

More than 700 nominations were received for this year's nomination process, an event record.
Best Choir - Claflin University Concert Choir

The Claflin University Concert Choir is composed of approximately 50 members, and is under the direction of Dr. Isaiah R. McGee, dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences and associate professor of music. The Choir continues its legacy of excellence in its myriad of performances averaging between 75 to 100 concerts per year including on-campus activities, community events, and the annual Spring Tour. In 2008, the choir traveled to Beijing, China to join a Choral Tribute for the prelude of the Olympic Games. The choir has performed with greats such as Stephanie Mills and Denyce Graves. While the nucleus of the Choir is music majors, the Choir is open to all students with a variety of majors and they all serve as official ambassadors for the University.
Best Student Newspaper - The Panther
Claflin University's The Panther serves both as a student newspaper and a laboratory publication of the mass communications department. Its primary focus is covering the university through online stories, photos and video. Once each semester, a special print edition of The Panther is produced, with the publication devoted to a single topic.

The Panther has a solid link with The Times and Democrat, Orangeburg's daily newspaper. Panther contributions appear on the newspaper's pages and at its website with frequency, expanding students' experiences from collegiate to professional media.
Female Athlete of the Year - Tiaria Norman
Tiaria Norman is a May 2018 graduate of Claflin University with a degree in education. She finished her three-year student-athlete career at Claflin with the most strikeouts in school history, 630. In 2018, she had 239 strikeouts and was ranked 6th in the nation in strikeouts and sacrifice flies.
Male Student of the Year - Brandon Brown
Brandon N. Brown is a sophomore political science and religion and philosophy major. He serves as a residential assistant in one of the male residence halls and will also serve as a 2018-2019 orientation leader.  He is an active member of the National Honor Society for Leadership and Success and Claflin University's chapter of the NAACP.  Brandon has earned numerous academic honors and awards such as the Academic Meritorious Award from the Department of Religion & Philosophy along with being on the Dean's List. After graduation, he plans to obtain dual-degree in Juris Doctor and Master of Divinity.
Student Spotlight - Stephanie Gibson
Senior biology major Stephanie Gibson was recently selected as one of four lucky winners in Sodexo's GREEN WITH ENVY/GO FOR THE GREEN GIVEAWAY National Prize Sweepstakes. As part of her winnings, Gibson will have a $2,500 donation made in her name to "The Conservation Fund," her charity of choice. She will also receive a $250 Visa Prepaid Card. GREEN WITH ENVY is part of an ongoing resident dining promotion series sponsored by Sodexo, the dining services company at Claflin University.

Featured at more than 600 college and university campuses that are managed by Sodexo nationwide, GREEN WITH ENVY was a spirited promotion dedicated to all things clean and green! The promotion featured unique meals that were nourishing, flavorful and fun to eat, as well as various wellness activities that encouraged mindfulness and promoted overall health and well-being. In addition to a variety of on-site activities, the GREEN WITH ENVY/GO FOR THE GREEN GIVEAWAY National Sweepstakes gave students the chance to enter to win one of four $2,500 donations to pay forward to a clean water or air initiative of their choice.
Student Spotlight - Natrawn Maxwell
2018 DTU Fellows pose with MC Lyte, center.

Senior mass communications major Natrawn Maxwell (far right) was one of six students chosen for the 2018 Discover the Unexpected (DTU) Journalism Fellowship sponsored by Chevrolet and the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA). During this 8-week summer internship (ending July 26), the fellows will discover and share positive, inspirational and relevant stories from African-American communities. Each fellow received a $10,000 scholarship and a $5,000 stipend.

For the internship, the students divided into two teams of three people, each having access to a new 2018 Chevrolet Equinox during their reporting assignments. They will work with The Washington Informer in Washington, D.C.; The Atlanta Voice in Atlanta, Georgia; The New Journal & Guide in Norfolk, Virginia; and New York Amsterdam News in New York City. Before beginning their on-the-road reporting assignments, the fellows participated in two days of journalism training with Chevrolet and NNPA leadership at General Motors' Global Headquarters. 

"The NNPA is looking forward to continuing our support of young storytellers to document positive stories in our communities," said NNPA President and CEO Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr. "Young journalists have the power to bring about positive change in our communities and this country through their words, so it is vital to include their voices in the conversation."

To date, Chevrolet has awarded more than $300,000 in DTU scholarships and stipends. For its first two years, the program included only a select number of schools. The 2018 online submission process was open to students at all HBCUs majoring in journalism, communications, mass media or visual arts.
Click here to follow the stories written by the fellows.
Alumni News
Bryant A. Williams, '07, has been named the Orangeburg Area Mental Health Center's 2017 Outstanding Employee of the Year. He earned a bachelor's degree in sociology from Claflin University. 
June 6, 2018
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@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