Claflin President Henry N. Tisdale addresses Mass Communications Department students during a news conference that focused on plans for the future of the campus.
By ANDRES WATERS
Dr. Henry N. Tisdale is marking 20 years as Claflin president, focusing on the future and emphasizing a legacy of success upon which he intends for the university to build.
During a news conference with Mass Communications Department students, Tisdale said, “You are here during a great time in Claflin history.”
“I returned to my alma mater with ideas of change,” Tisdale said. “I wanted academic success to be the flagship of the university.”
To achieve that, his first objective was to bring in a world-class faculty and staff. Two decades later, Claflin is acknowledged as an academic and research leader among HBCUs and liberal arts colleges and universities nationwide.
Campus growth and improvement have been priorities. “Going forward we will be looking for ways to transform the institution,” he said.
Though there have been many developments around campus during his tenure, there is room to grow, Tisdale said. He cited the most recent expansion, the Claflin Commons student housing, which is under construction and will open along Goff Avenue in the fall of 2014.
University officials and friends broke ground for the new residence hall in September 2013. Claflin Commons will house 200 students and feature a workout room, a large lobby (which will be called the Commons Area), and a new plaza.
Tisdale told students about other expansion plans, emphasizing improvements to Goff Avenue that will make it safer for students, faculty and staff.
A major step in improving Goff is improving the parking, Tisdale said. He said the university is trying to remove parking along the street by working with Orangeburg City Council and property owners to achieve the objective. There are also plans to pave the gravel parking lots on Goff Avenue and obtain approval for adding speed humps to the street in order to slow traffic.
The changes are part of the university’s “Complete Streets” plan, which is about making the streets safer for pedestrians. Other improvements include more lighting along the streets, an escort program featuring fraternity members and other male students, and more security cameras around campus.
Acquiring more property for the university, upgrading the science and technology center, and upgrading the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Center are also on Tisdale’s agenda.
The upgrade for the Health and Physical Education Center will include adding a swimming pool, dance studios and even a second basketball court.
As to what Claflin University will be like in five years, Tisdale told students to look for great change.
“We’ll be looking for ways to transform the university … ways to take the university higher.”