The World Needs Visionaries
A Legacy of Visionary Leadership Gala  Celebrates
Claflin President Henry N. and First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale  and Raises Funds to Support Scholarships

"When I accepted the president position in 1994, I stated and I will reiterate the exact words -  my vision is for Claflin to be a premier liberal arts institution in the Southeast Region - an institution of the highest quality that demonstrates its commitment to excellence in carrying out our mission by being and doing the best she can with what she has and by continuously striving for better," said Claflin President Henry N. Tisdale on Monday, April 1, during A Legacy of Visionary Leadership Gala which served as a tribute to the extraordinary leadership and service Tisdale and his wife, First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale provided Claflin for 25 years. Tisdale announced last spring that effective June 30, 2019, he will retire as Claflin's eighth president.

"Today, as we celebrate the University's 150th anniversary, Claflin is experiencing phenomenal transformation in all areas," Tisdale said. "And our commitment to excellence is articulated in our current vision that Claflin University will be recognized as a leading 21st Century institution of higher education that develops a diverse and inclusive community of globally engaged visionary leaders."

Approximately 700 Claflin University alumni, staff, faculty, students, corporate and community supporters attended the affair which was held at the Columbia (SC) Metropolitan Center. A host of elected officials, prominent educators, and leaders of faith-based, and civic organizations were also present to congratulate the Tisdales on their remarkable leadership of more than two decades. In his absence, U.S. Majority Whip, Congressman Jim Clyburn sent a message expressing his admiration of the Tisdales. 

During the VIP Reception, the Honorable Stephen Benjamin, mayor of the City of Columbia, declared it Henry N. Tisdale Day and presented him with a citation and keys to the city. Senator Reginald Thomas also presented with the Honor of Kentucky Colonel on behalf of the Governor of Kentucky, the Honorable Matthew G. Bevin. 

Dwayne Bryant, founder and CEO for Innervision International, Incorporated, was the master of ceremonies. Grammy-nominated jazz and R&B artist Najee was the headline performer. He displayed his versatility and talent on the flute and the saxophone with a broad selection of both soulful and up-beat melodies. Claflin University's Jazz Ensemble and The Friends Band featuring Fred and Bunny Jones, a local R&B, jazz and pop group, were the gala's other musical guests. 

"Claflin was an outstanding institution when Dr. Tisdale and Alice Carson Tisdale arrived but they have taken the University to incredible heights," said John Lafitte of Ricoh USA. "They transformed Claflin into one of the nation's best universities not only among HBCUs but among all colleges and universities. Their commitment to the students is what impresses me the most about them. They will do what's necessary in the best interest of the students and the University."

Mrs. Janice W. Marshall, '70, led the audience in a toast to the Tisdales. Marshall, who serves on Claflin's Board of Trustees, was chair of the Gala Planning Committee. 

"Claflin's success is reflected in the standards President Tisdale and First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale set for themselves," Marshall said.  "Tonight, we are paying tribute to a true standard bearer whose vision positively impacted, influenced and inspired this great institution. We thank the Tisdales for leading the way and charting the course to make Claflin what it is today." 
The highlight of the occasion occurred when the members of the Board of Trustees presented Dr. Tisdale and Claflin University an over-sized check which represented the $250,000 raised by the gala to support the Henry N. and Alice Carson Tisdale Endowed Scholarship Fund.

"I thank God for ordering our steps and giving me such a gifted and beautiful partner," Tisdale said. "I want to take this occasion to express my gratitude to my wife of more than 40 years and the director of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College for 25 years, and our family for being here to share this special time with us. And, while Alice and I take credit for this fundamental transformation, we know that's due in measure to the unconditional support of the inspired women and men who work for us. Therefore, we accept this very high recognition and honor on behalf of Team Claflin" he said.

Joan Steward Stevens, '70, said that as a member of the Board of Trustees and an alumnus, she is extremely proud of the national recognition and impressive accolades her alma mater has received during President Tisdale's tenure. 

"Dr. Tisdale had a vision and he had a plan for accomplishing his vision," she said. "A lot of people have a vision but for some reason they never achieve the goal. Dr. Tisdale knew it was not going to happen overnight, but he had a plan to move Claflin to becoming a premier university -  and that's what he did."
First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale Praised During Last Scholarship Tea as First Lady

For more than a decade, during Women's History Month, women and men from all over the state have traveled to Claflin University to attend the First Lady's Hats and Gloves Scholarship Tea. But, the 13th annual tea on Tuesday, March 19, had special significance, as First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale made her "bittersweet farewell" to all the guests. Tisdale and her husband, Claflin President Henry N. Tisdale, announced their plans to retire after 25 years of service and visionary leadership, effective June 30, 2019. Dr. Tisdale serves as the University's eighth president and Mrs. Tisdale is director of Claflin's Honors College, which bears her name.
The Tullis Arena of the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex was filled with nearly 600 guests mostly women in stylish dresses and accessories. They wore hats in all shapes, sizes and colors, and the men came in their nicest suits. The tables were dressed in soft pink tablecloths with black and white accented chairs surrounding each one. Each table was adorned with pink and white cakes with edible flowers that sat atop event-fitting hatboxes as centerpieces.

"A room full of sisters like jewels in a crown! Vanilla, cinnamon and dark chocolate brown," Tisdale said at the podium. Her voice echoed over the microphone as she recited the words of "A Room Full of Sisters," a poem by writer, orator and educator Mona Lake Jones.

As Tisdale spoke to the crowd, she prayed that the event would continue for years to come after her departure from the university.
"I want to express my deep thanks and appreciation for the love and friendship you continually extended to me over these past 25 years. I promise you, I will not disappear," Tisdale said. "I will see you around often."

Tisdale reassured the guests that she would continue to "live her life like it's golden," a nod to the night's theme song, "Golden," by singer and songwriter Jill Scott.

"I plan to continue to live my golden life and do many things, one of which is to lend my voice to issues affecting women and children," she said. "I plan to stand beside our nine honorees this evening and walk in their paths for better healthcare, first class services for women, and benefits for women and children."

The nine African-American women currently serving in the SC House of Representatives were the night's Visionary Leadership Award honorees. Wendy C. Brawley (D-District 70), Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-District 66), Chandra E. Dillard (D-District 23), Rosalyn D. Henderson-Myers (D-District 31), Patricia Moore Henegan (D-District 54), Annie E. McDaniel (D-District 41), Anne Parks (D-District 12), Leola C. Robinson (D-District 25), and Krystle N. Simmons (D-District 117) all made their way to the stage to be recognized . The scholarship tea committee presented each honoree with a personalized teapot as a gift.
"And here is the powerhouse," Tisdale said about the women. "Living life and valuing life."

Representative Brawley gave thanks on behalf of her colleagues. "This is wonderful, and what you're doing really makes a difference," she said.
Three Claflin University students - Latyra Capers, a freshman, biology student from Summerville, SC; Esther Njeri, a junior, biology student from Radcliff, KY; and Tani'ja Wills, a sophomore, biology student from Roanoke Rapids, NC - received $2,500 scholarships during the event and were presented laptops from Mrs. Emma Harvin, of One Source Office Products.
The First Lady's Hats and Gloves Scholarship Tea committee made a special presentation to the First lady during the event, reading letters from former scholarship recipients and presenting Tisdale with a bouquet of pink roses and a gift.  The committee also presented a check to President Tisdale and Mrs. Tisdale for $25,000 to go towards scholarships for students at Claflin University.
University to Host Seventh Annual Evening of Elegance Scholarship Dinner

The Seventh Annual Evening of Elegance Scholarship Dinner will be held on Friday, April 12, 2019, at 6:30 p.m., in the Tullis Arena of the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex.

This special event will benefit a special need-based scholarship fund for Claflin students. The scholarship fund is designed to assist students who have an unmet financial need beyond the financial aid resources allotted to them through financial aid packages and family resources. 

To purchase tickets or to donate towards the scholarship fund, click here For more information, contact Tonyetta McDaniel at (803) 535-5333 or email Tonyetta McDaniel at

Countdown to Charleston; Claflin Hosts Alumni Convention in Holy City

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." Click here to watch a video that will welcome you to Charleston for the Convention!
Radio Personality Charlamagne Tha God Talks 
Mental Health with Claflin Students

Claflin University students filled the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center on Wednesday, April 3, to listen and participate in a Mental Health and Hip-Hop Forum featuring Charlamagne Tha God, one of the featured events during Claflin's 2019 CALA-bash celebration. 

Born in Charleston and raised in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, Charlamagne is best known for expressing his unfiltered opinions and giving out his "Donkey of the Day" accolade on the nationally syndicated radio show, The Breakfast Club, alongside cohosts Angela Yee and DJ Envy.  
Now that he has found his voice on radio, Charlamagne is using his platform to speak on his personal battle with mental health issues. He sat down to discuss his journey with Claflin faculty members, Dr. Arlecia D. Simmons, assistant professor of mass communications, who moderated the event; and Dr. Napoleon Wells, assistant professor of psychology and clinical psychologist.
"I think I've been what you call crazy," Charlamagne joked. "For me, I feel like you have trauma and you have pain and anxiety. I have this crazy sense of anxiety that I chalked up to being paranoid, and I was thinking 'why am I always feeling like this, and why do I always feel like I'm about to have a heart attack,'" he said. 

Charlamagne added, "I'm a stern believer in the law of attraction, so I believe that your thoughts become things. Anything that you want to happen in your life, you should think about constantly, and the things you don't want to happen, you shouldn't think about at all. But, what happens when you can't stop thinking about the worst?"

During the forum, the panel discussed everything from helping college students deal with stress from school and a recent tragedy in the media, the murder of rapper Nipsey Hussle. 

"I think the very first thing I will say to our community of students in general is part of what brother Charlamagne said, you're not crazy," Dr. Wells said. "You're black and you've been raised in this society; you, in fact, have experienced a certain amount of trauma. You can take the issue that we've had with Nipsey Hussle. You are bombarded with images; there are folks who are showing his death to you repeatedly. So within our area, we have what you call a secondary trauma, even if you haven't been exposed to it directly, if you see it enough or hear word of it enough, you can be impacted by it."

Charlamagne added that the rapper's death hit him in a different way and made him realize that the saying 'hurt people hurt people,' still stands true. He encouraged everyone in the audience to love each other and help each other while they still can, especially the men. 

"Sometimes you just have to tell your people 'I love you, and I support you,' and 'I value you,'" he said. He asked all the men in the room, "when was the last time you told your homeboy you love him? Or when was the last time you shook your homeboy's hand and gave him a hug and said I love? We don't do it enough."

Charlamagne also said that he would make everyone hug before leaving the event, and he kept his promise.

Charlamagne Tha God's most recent book Shook One: Anxiety Playing Tricks On Me can be found at Barnes and Noble, on Amazon and at other major retailers. For a look at the full forum, visit Claflin University's Facebook page.
Claflin University Freshman Awarded Global Fellowship
Claflin University freshman Frederick Uy has been  named a Frederick Douglass Global Fellow, an honor awarding him a full scholarship to represent Claflin University in a study abroad program in London this summer. Uy is one of 10 students across the country to earn the prestigious Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship (FDGF).
The FDGF is operated jointly by the Council on International Educational Exchange (CIEE), the nation's largest non-profit facilitator of studying abroad, and the Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions(CMSI). Each year, the Fellowship is awarded to 10 outstanding students that attend a Minority Serving Institution (MSI). 
Uy, who was born in the Philippines and later moved to Tacoma, Washington, is pursuing a double major in Finance and Computer Science. After his undergraduate studies, Frederick hopes to enroll in a joint MBA and Law program then become a financial lawyer who helps smaller companies thrive.  "It has always been a dream of mine to study abroad and be in a learning environment outside of the standard classroom," he said, noting that he looks forward to being forced to adapt outside his normal comfort zone.
"Studying abroad will push me to become a better person from networking and being engaged with different people and different cultures," Frederick said. "This opportunity is very important for my career because it will allow me to establish strong and solid connections and relationships with successful people in the business world." 
Fellows are nominated by their college presidents and selected during a national competition. The winners have demonstrated high academic achievement, possess exemplary communication skills, display the hallmarks of self-determination, exhibit characteristics of bold leadership and have a history of service to others.
The Frederick Douglass Fellowship, which launched in 2017, is representative of efforts by CIEE and CMSI to increase diversity in study abroad by breaking down the barriers of cost, curriculum and culture that prevent students from participating in international education experiences. Named for the African-American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer and international statesman Frederick Douglass, the Fellowship encourages students to use his life as a model to becoming bold, globally conscious and service-oriented leaders.
Faculty News
Dr. Walter B. Curry, Jr., adjunct professor of education, participated as a panelist on MORE Justice: Midlands Organized Response for Equity and Justice first "Community Forum on Education: Building Positive School Climate" at Reid Chapel A.M.E Church on March 21, 2019. The panel discussed the current racial inequities in school suspension rates among students of color in public schools.

Alumni News
Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College alumna Nyasha Chikowore, '06 , has released a children's book that was published by the American Psychological Association. The book is titled Giraffe Asks for Help. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in psychology. For more information, email Nyasha at

Congratulations to India Murph, '14 and '18, who has been accepted into the South University School of Pharmacy. A native of Saint Matthews, S.C., Murph anticipates completion of the program in 2022. 

Rashad Myers, '08, was recently named the 2019 Leader In Youth by the Camp HYPE Foundation at their Annual Fundraising Gala. This year, the foundation recognized outstanding educators in Florence, Clarendon, and Williamsburg (SC) counties who have made significant contributions to the field of education. The foundation seeks to help students in those counties excel by providing them with exceptional summer STEM instruction and memorable learning experiences.

Saidah Wright, '18, a former Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College student at Claflin University, became the first Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences student selected for the Johns Hopkins Pharmacy Internship program.  While a student at Claflin, Wright also became the first student to earn a degree through Claflin's 3+4 partnership with the Campbell University College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.  The program allows students to earn a biochemistry degree after three years at Claflin. The students spend their senior year completing the program at Campbell, where they earn credits toward a doctorate in pharmacy.  Wright, a native of Orangeburg, S.C., is enrolled in a dual degree program at Campbell. She is pursuing the Doctor of Pharmacy and the Master of Science in Public Health. Wright is one of 20 students Johns Hopkins hires to work at one of its locations during the summer.

Panther Pride
Lady Panthers Softball Remains Undefeated in the CIAA

The Claflin University Lady Panthers softball team swept Saint Augustine's 7-0 and 10-1, on Wednesday, April 3, to remain undefeated in the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). With the wins, the Lady Panthers improved to 26-13 overall and 11-0 in the CIAA.

Claflin will return to the diamond on Saturday, April 6 when they host Winston-Salem State University in a CIAA double header. It will be senior day for the Lady Panthers with senior day activities occurring prior to the first pitch at approximately 12:30 p.m.

Claflin Track and Field Continue to Make Strides

As the outdoor track and field season roll on, the Claflin University track and field teams continues to make strides.  The Panthers men's and women's team posted several Top 10 finishes at the Terrier Relays on Saturday, March 30, hosted by Wofford College.

Both teams will return to the track on April 5-6, when they travel to Charlotte, N.C., to participate in the JCSU Invitational hosted by Johnson C. Smith University.
April 5, 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
Student Interns: Alaysia Kelly and Deontre' McCray