Claflin University President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale and First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale were honored for their $250,000 donation to the University during the annual Leadership Giving Luncheon on Friday, Nov. 15.
The gift, presented to the University in March, will fund an endowed professorship in the STEM – science, technology, engineering and mathematics – disciplines, support the Alice Carson Tisdale Endowed Scholarship in Education and the Henry N. Tisdale Endowed Scholarship in Mathematics, and provide scholarship support for students in other disciplines and student athletes.
“Alice and I are here because we believe in Claflin University,” Dr. Tisdale told the capacity audience gathered at Friday’s luncheon in Ministers’ Hall. “We are educators at heart. We believe that this institution has the potential to produce outstanding graduates in every discipline in which we offer degrees. We are committed to helping students achieve success.
“Our gift, we hope, will serve as a catalyst in many ways, by helping to recruit and obtain outstanding teachers, scholars and mentors who will inspire our students. Our gift is about having our students leave Claflin with a great education because they were taught and mentored by the best.”
Dr. and Mrs. Tisdale’s gift supports the Campaign for Claflin University, the institution’s historic $96.4 million capital campaign designated in part to building the institution’s endowment. To date, more than $70 million has been raised toward the capital campaign goal.
Claflin’s Leadership Giving Program began in 1996 as a way to thank those who have given cash gifts to the University and to encourage more individuals to invest in the institution by making monetary gifts to Claflin. The name of the program speaks to its significance and the qualities of the donors who help make the University stronger.
The Leadership Giving Luncheon recognizes those significant monetary gifts made to the University over the past year and is held annually during Claflin’s Homecoming. It serves as Claflin’s way of saying “thank you” to those who have made an impact on the lives of the University’s students with their donation, and offers donors an opportunity to fellowship with one another.
Donors gave nearly $800,000 in Leadership Gifts to the University, from Oct. 16, 2012, to Oct. 15, 2013. Those who have given at least $1,000 to Claflin over the past year are invited to the Leadership Giving Luncheon. Presenting a special gift of $11,000 to the University at Friday’s event were John and Gail Young. Mr. Young is a class of 1960 Claflin graduate.
Since arriving on campus in 1994, the Tisdales have indelibly left their mark at the University. Through their hard work and dedication, they have helped transform Claflin into one of the nation’s best liberal arts colleges.
Under Dr. Tisdale’s leadership, Claflin University has seen an expansion of faculty and nationally accredited academic programs. Additionally, the award-winning Freshman College was established, and the Professional and Continuing Studies Center became a reality.
Under his guidance, facilities across the Claflin campus have been added, improved or enhanced. To highlight a few, the new Student Residential Center, University Dining Center, Molecular Science Research Center, and the James and Dorothy Z. Elmore Chapel were built; Legacy Plaza and the Arthur Rose Museum were established; and the Tingley Memorial Hall, Lee Library and Ministers’ Hall buildings were restored.
Under Mrs. Tisdale’s direction, Claflin’s Honors College – now known as the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College – has been strengthened and expanded to reflect Claflin's commitment to cultivating academically outstanding students. Entry standards were raised and measures taken to enhance the honors students’ experience on every level to prepare them for success in graduate and professional schools, and as leaders in their profession and society at large.
Claflin University continues to garner national recognition under Dr. Tisdale’s vision and leadership. Most recently, Washington Monthly ranked Claflin University the top liberal arts college in South Carolina. And U.S. News and World Report has consistently ranked Claflin as one of “America’s Best Colleges” for the past 15 years. In its 2013 edition, Claflin was again ranked a top national liberal arts college, and ranked seventh in the nation among HBCUs.
“We believe that this University is on the right path. We believe in the vision,” Dr. Tisdale said. “We believe in the commitment of Claflin University to prepare a new generation of strategic thinkers for visionary efforts and effective leadership.”
In her remarks about their gift to Claflin, Mrs. Tisdale thanked those gathered at the luncheon for their love, friendship and support in the two decades she and President Tisdale have been at the University. “The money that we gave, it’s a love offering,” she said.
Other top contributors to the University last year were:
William H. and Annette Johnson, ’72
Michael R. and Julie Brenan
Claflin University International Alumni Association
Juanita J. Davis, ’65
Willie L. and Betty Frazier, ’75 & ’74
Moses and Emma Harvin, ’75
C. John Hipp III
Larry and Gloria McCutcheon, ’72
John and Gail Young, ’60
Spencer R. Anderson, ’99
William Barnet III
Clyde and Sherry Bess, ’70 & ’71
Maudelle S. Bing
William F. Blue, ’73
Bessie H. Byrd, ’72
Edna L. Calhoun, ’53
Samuel B. and Alma Cooper, ’67 & ’67
Glenda G. Davis, ’63
Virginia M. Grose
Sadie D. Jarvis, ’63
Wilhelmenia J. Jefferson, ’54
Charles H. and Vermelle Johnson
Whittaker V. and Lillie Middleton, ’73 & ’73
Walter & Laura Moore, ’66 & ’64
Leo F. and Rosa Twiggs, ’56