The World Needs Visionaries
Claflin Welcomes New Students During Spring Orientation

Claflin welcomed new students to the University during its Spring 2019 New Student Orientation week activities. From January 8 through 10, university administrators, faculty, staff and orientation leaders led information sessions and other activities to acclimate students to the University. 

Terrence Weeks, a mass communications major from Columbia, S.C., and Niela Elmore, a business management major from Orangeburg, both expressed their excitement about attending a HBCU.
"I feel like here, you're not just a number, it's more personable. I'm looking forward to the academics and seeing what opportunities will come from enrolling  at Claflin," Weeks said.

"I'm actually transferring from another school, so I'm excited to get involved on campus and with the other students," said Elmore.

Exchange student Shahzadi Fatima is from the second largest city in Pakistan, Lahore, but she feels she can really make an impact by attending Claflin.

"Claflin has some very iconic things here, and everyone has such a friendly nature," Fatima said. "I'm excited to take all the courses that I've selected and to see what difference can be brought in Pakistan by starting here. I want to see how I can serve my country by starting here at Claflin."

President Henry N. Tisdale was the speaker for the Confirmation Ceremony on January 9. He shared with the students ways they could be successful during their time at Claflin. "Keep God first, be confident, focus on graduating, and be mindful of the choices you make,"  Tisdale said. "Believe that you, too, can lead, and choose wisely the people who sit in the front row of your life."

The ceremony concluded with the students walking through the Arch of Confidence, symbolizing their entry into the Claflin family.
Claflin Hosts Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration
Claflin University will host its annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Program on Thursday, January 17 at 11 a.m. in the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center. Dr. Aurelio D. Givens, CEO and Life Coach of The ADG Group, will deliver the keynote address. Themed "We Are All One Humanity," the event is free and open to the public.
Dr. Givens received a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology from Francis Marion College (University), a Masters of Divinity degree from the Gammon Theological Seminary at the Interdenominational Theological Center, and a Doctor of Ministry degree in Sociology of Religion from ITC.
Dr. Givens is a great visionary who in 1993 established the Prayer, Praise and Worship Centers of America, Inc. He presently provides guidance to the ministries who are members of the PPW Fellowship. Previously, he served five years as a pastor in the SC Conference of United Methodist Church before launching the PPW Fellowship. 

In 2015, Givens was sought out by the Bernie Sanders campaign office when Senator Sanders was seeking the democratic nomination for President of the United States to serve as the national faith director. 
As a licensed funeral director, Dr. Givens served as the  principal organizer for the services for Rosa Parks;  led the coordination of the logistics for the official NAACP delegation at the services for Coretta Scott King; served as logistical director and organizer for the services for  Dr. Benjamin Hooks; and led the logistical coordination for the services for T roy Davis. Dr. Givens also serves as a certified grief counselor and lends his gift when called upon.
Dr. Givens is affiliated with a wide range of civic and social organizations including Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Suburban Lodge #213 Free & Accepted Masons, P.H.A.; Booker T. Washington Consistory #250; Unity Chapter #370, Order of the Eastern Stars (Worthy Patron); 100 Black Men of America, Inc.; and Concerned Clergy of Kershaw County.
Dr. Givens is the father of Kendall Givens Little, who is married to the former Cortney McIntire (both graduates of Claflin University).
Dwayne Bryant to Serve as Keynote Speaker at Claflin University's 2019 Spring Convocation
Claflin University will hold its annual Spring Convocation on Thursday, January 24, at 11 a.m. in the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex with Dwayne Bryant delivering the keynote address. The convocation signals the start of the 2019 Spring Semester. Classes will be suspended at the University from 10:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. to allow campus-wide attendance. Admission is free and open to the public.
Dwayne Bryant is an internationally renowned author, motivational speaker and TV personality known for his high-energy, witty personality. Founder and CEO of Inner Vision International, Inc., Bryant fuels audiences by sharing his credo of hard work, perseverance, integrity, and applied faith, which are the keys to his success. He is sought after by corporations, nonprofits and academic institutions for his proven ability to offer step-by-step resources to audiences on how to unlock their unlimited power. For clients, Bryant has conducted keynote addresses, workshops, conferences, town halls, fundraiser hosting, and acted as a TV segment host.
Bryant authored The VisionĀ®, a series of 21 Social Emotional Learning educational curricula, and sought-after book - "The STOP: Improving Police and Community Relations." He's produced DVDs "Make the Commitment," "Combat Bullying: Facts, Signs and Prevention Tactics," "The Lion, The Jungle and You!," "Success Is A Journey" and "Social Media and Your Child." Bryant is on a mission to fulfill his life's passion to motivate individuals, especially youth, around the world.
Bryant's dynamic personality landed him features on national TV, including: interviews on Oprah and ABC's Heart & Soul; TV host of  Know Your Heritage and  NextTV; and, a national commercial appearance for Walmart.
Dwayne graduated with dual degrees in business finance and international business from Florida International University.

Claflin Hosts Ribbon Cutting for New Health and Wellness Complex 

You are cordially invited to the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony of the new Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex on Thursday, January 24, immediately following the Spring Convocation that begins  at 11 a.m.

The Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex is a 33,000 square-foot facility that  provides holistic health, nutrition, and lifelong wellness education to the Claflin University  campus community and area residents. The ultra-modern facility includes an auxiliary  gym, fitness center, demonstration kitchen, walking track, office space, classrooms,  and outdoor space to serve as a market place for local farmers.
President Henry N. Tisdale, '65, describes Claflin's newest facility as "A New Gateway" to South  Carolina's oldest historically black college or university (HBCU) with tremendous benefits. "The  mission of the Health and Wellness Complex is to provide a means for the Claflin community  and the Orangeburg community to gain healthier lives," he said. "The Health and Wellness  Complex is also tangible evidence of our commitment to serve our students and provide the  best environment for their success as future, boldly engaged visionary leaders."
The Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex became a reality through funding from  a variety of sources, including Claflin's historic capital campaign (which raised more than  $105 million), Orangeburg County Council, The United Methodist Church, Sodexo, the U.S.  Department of Agriculture, Blue Cross/Blue Shield, AFLAC, and other donors.
Have You Purchased Your CIAA Tournament Tickets?
The Claflin University Panthers will make their inaugural appearance in the CIAA Basketball Tournament which begins Tuesday, February 26, 2019 through March 2, 2019, at the 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!

The Panthers will need your support at the games! Tickets are on sale 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 available for the tournament as of Wednesday, January 9, are as follows:
  • Courtside Tickets - $485.00 each (only 2 tickets available)
  • Center Court - $250.00 each (only 4 tickets available)
  • General Admission - $200.00 each (only 124 tickets available) 
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) 227-2815 and use the group code - CLA.
Please contact Tammy McCottry at (803) 535- 5665 or email  or Zelda M. Lee at (803) 535-5348 or email  if you need additional assistance.
Get Ready for the 45th Alumni Convention in Charleston, S.C.

The Greater SC Coastal Alumni Chapters of Claflin University (which consists of Berkeley, Charleston, Colleton & Dorchester Counties) will host the 45th Claflin University International Alumni Convention on April 25-28, in North Charleston, S.C. This year's planning committee is pleased to welcome attendees to Charleston, the "birthplace" of Claflin University, where the theme for the Convention is "Visionaries: From the Lowcountry to a Hilltop High."
As noted in the book,  On a Hilltop High: The Origin and History of Claflin College to 1984 by Dr. Blinzy L. Gore, in Charleston, a small group of black and white ministers gathered for deliberations on the grounds of a local religious institution, and when they concluded their efforts, they had given birth to the notion of Claflin University.
The merger of Baker Biblical Institute at Charleston and the Normal and Training School at Camden resulted in Claflin University opening its doors in Orangeburg, S.C., on October 27, 1869. These ministers, along with Lee and William Claflin, T. Willard Lewis, Alonzo Webster and many others formed the foundation upon which Claflin stands today - 150 years of academic excellence and visionary leadership! 
Click here to register for the convention and to see the full schedule. Early bird registration is now open until March 25. 
Claflin Hosts 27th Annual Granville Hicks Leadership Academy for Laity and Clergy
On January 31 and February 1, 2019, Claflin University will host the 27th Annual Granville Hicks Leadership Academy for Laity and Clergy. Themed "Where Do We Go From Here?" this event equips laity and clergy for ministry and leadership within the church. The Academy will take place in the James and Dorothy Z. Elmore Chapel.
The Granville Hicks Leadership Academy honors the Rev. Dr. Granville A. Hicks, a 1957 Claflin graduate who has been recognized for his leadership as a pastor and district superintendent in the South Carolina Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church. Hicks was instrumental in creating programs to improve race relations, education and leadership development at the conference. It began as a lecture series before evolving into a leadership academy that emphasizes connections between the academy, Claflin University, and The United Methodist Church. The event empowers attendees with biblical knowledge, intellectual growth and theological reflection.
For more information, contact Rev. Dr. Ernest C. Etheredge at (803) 531-5150 or
Calling All Claflin Alumni in STEM-related Fields
The School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics will recognize outstanding alumni through its Wall of Fame as a part of Claflin University's sesquicentennial celebration. 

Eligible nominees must have earned a bachelors or masters degree from Claflin University. Nominees will be recognized for one or more of the following in a STEM-related field:
  • Professional leadership
  • National or international recognition
  • Creation and/or management of impactful organizations or businesses
  • Impactful patents/inventions
All nominations must be submitted by Tuesday, January 15, 2019. Posthumous and self-nominations are welcomed. Click here for the nomination application.
Claflin Lyceum Series to Feature Award-Winning 
Author Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes
Claflin University's 2019 Lyceum Series will feature award-winning author and educator Dr. Jewell Parker Rhodes on Tuesday, February 5, at 7 p.m. in the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center. Admission is free and the public is invited. 
Rhodes is the author of five novels for middle-grade children, including Ghost Boys, a New York Times bestseller and #1 Kids' Indie Best Pick. The story centers on Jerome, a black youth who  is killed by a police officer  who mistakes his toy gun for a real threat. As a ghost, Jerome observes the devastation that's been unleashed on his family and community in the wake of what they see as an unjust and brutal killing. He soon meets another ghost: Emmett Till, a boy from a very different time but with similar circumstances. Together, they embark on a journey towards recognizing how historical racism may have led to the events that ended Jerome's life.
"We are very fortunate to have a widely-acclaimed novelist and educator such as Dr. Rhodes participating in this year's Lyceum Series," said  Dr. Peggy Stevenson Ratliff, chair of the Lyceum Committee and professor of English at Claflin. "Her appearance is consistent with the purpose of the Lyceum Series, which is to present nationally-recognized  lecturers, authors, visual and performing artists, educators, and events that stimulate and reinforce the cultural and intellectual environment of the campus community. Her visit also aligns with celebrating the University's 150th Anniversary."
A native of Pittsburgh, Pa., Rhodes is the founding artistic director and Virginia G. Piper Endowed Chair in Creative Writing at Arizona State University. She  earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Drama Criticism, a Master of Arts degree in English, and a Doctor of Arts degree in English (Creative Writing) from Carnegie Mellon University.

She has received numerous awards for her literary compositions.  Rhodes received the  American Book Award; National Endowment of the Arts Award in Fiction; Black Caucus of the American Library Award for Literary Excellence; PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Award for Outstanding Writing; and the Coretta Scott King Honor Book.

According to Dr. Belinda Wheeler, associate professor of English at Claflin and a close friend of Rhodes, the author will speak to local youth during her visit to Claflin. Wheeler has agreed to donate copies of Ghost Boys to middle and high school students who want to read the book before Rhodes arrives.

"I want to place copies of her books into the hands of young Orangeburg readers," said Wheeler. "This is an excellent way to give students an opportunity to read Jewell's work prior to her visit." 

For general information about Claflin's Lyceum Series, contact  Dr. Peggy S. Ratliff at ( 803) 535-5233  or email .

To apply for a copy of Ghost Boys, local students (of all ages) are asked to contact Dr. Belinda Wheeler at  or call (803) 535-5717.
Employee News
Marcus H. Burgess, '96 , is the new associate vice president for major and planned gifts at Claflin University.  Burgess has served several institutions in a leadership capacity including York Technical College in Rock Hill, S.C., as the executive director for campaigns and strategic initiatives; Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens, Fla., as the vice president for university advancement; Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C., as the vice president for institutional advancement; and Claflin University as the director of alumni affairs/annual fund. This past year, Burgess helped to close a $3.2 million gift for Florida Memorial University, the largest in the school's history. He was also appointed to the CASE (Council for Advancement and Support for Education) District III Board of Directors. Burgess is the son of Mack ('68) and Janie ('69) Burgess, and is married to Leandra Hayes-Burgess. Together they have three children: Marcus, Mariana and Tyler. He is currently a doctoral student at Vanderbilt University in the Peabody School of Education. 

Head men's basketball coach Ricky Jackson, was recently featured in the Richmond Free Press when the Panthers defeated his alma mater Virginia Union University. In April 2018, Coach Jackson was named the  2017-2018 Clarence "Big House" Gaines Award recipient as the college basketball coach of the year for Division II. Jackson was also named the 2018 Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC) Outstanding Tournament Coach and the BOXTOROW 2017-18 Coach of the Year.  He led the Panthers to a share of the 2017 SIAC East Division title and followed that up with last season's SIAC Tournament Championship and a berth in the NCAA Division II Tournament.
Alumni News
Charles Eady, '88, has released a new book titled Hidden  Freedom. Eady is an  artist, author and educator who began his family research years ago. He soon discovered documents showing free blacks in South Carolina who owned land and businesses before the Civil War. The lawmakers opposed their rights with laws and wanted them to leave the state, however they stood with boldness for their rights. His book  gives an insight into a hidden south that's largely unknown.

Congratulations to Cecil J. Williams, '60, for being named T&D 2018 Person of the Year. "I would not trade any aspect of my life for the unique experiences on the 'hilltop high,'" Williams said. Read the complete story in the Times and Democrat by clicking here. Williams, who is the director of historic preservation at Claflin University,  is a photographer, publisher, author and inventor best known for his photography documenting the C ivil Rights Movement  in  South Carolina  beginning in the 1950s.
Panther Pride
Claflin Holds Off Shaw in CIAA Contest

The Panthers of Claflin University withstood a late second-half comeback by Shaw University, defeating the Bears, 65-61, in a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) basketball contest on Monday, January 7, at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex.
With the win, Claflin snapped a two-game losing streak in lifting its season record to 6-9 overall and 5-5 against CIAA teams. The Panthers also improved to 3-2 in the Southern Division.
Claflin will return to action on Wednesday, January 16, when they host Virginia State University in a CIAA matchup. The game is a make-up game which was postponed from December 11, 2018.
The Panthers will play four straight games. The road trip begins at Livingstone University on Saturday, January 19, followed by Fayetteville State University on Monday, January 21, and Johnson C. Smith University on Monday, January 28, and concludes with Benedict College on Thursday, January 31.

Lady Panthers Win Against Shaw in CIAA Contest

Claflin University upended Shaw University for the second time this season, 77-67, in a Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) women's basketball contest on Monday, January 7, at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex.
With the win, Claflin improved to 8-8 overall and 6-4 in the CIAA, but more importantly, 3-2 in the Southern Division.
The Lady Panthers will host Albany State University of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference on Monday, January 14, at 5:30 p.m.
January 10, 2019
In This Issue
Calendar of Events
Connect with Us
@Claflin is published by the Office of Communications & Marketing 
President: Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, '65
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