Parade, Games and Much More Planned Saturday During Claflin University’s Homecoming

Nov 20, 2014

Claflin University’s 2014 Homecoming festivities continue on Saturday, November 22, with its traditional parade, back-to-back basketball games, tailgating, a Greek Step Show and more.

The day begins at 9:30 a.m. with the 145th Anniversary Homecoming Parade along Russell Street, beginning at Edisto Memorial Gardens, to the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Center on Magnolia Street. Dozens of bands and organizations are on the slate to participate.

This year’s parade marshal is James A. Bennett, a member of Claflin’s Board of Trustees since 2006 and chairman of the University’s Capital Campaign Steering Committee. Bennett is executive vice president and director of public affairs at First Citizens Bank.

Bennett, of Columbia, received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of South Carolina and is a graduate of the South Carolina Bankers School. His previous positions include president and CEO of South Carolina Community Bank, head of First Citizens Bank’s Community Banking Group Division and president of Victory Savings Bank.

In addition to his service on the Claflin University Board of Trustees, Bennett also serves on the board for SCANA, Baptist Healthcare System, Governor’s School for the Arts Foundation, Columbia Urban League, Midland’s Business Leadership and The Knight Foundation, and is a member of the Richland School District Two Business Advisory Council and Legislative Agenda Task Force for the South Carolina Chamber. Gubernatorial appointments include those to the Governor’s PASS Commission, Education Oversight Committee, S.C. State Ports Authority and Governor’s School for the Arts.

Bennett was the first African-American to receive the Outstanding Young Banker Award from the South Carolina Bankers Association, in 1998. Other awards include: Outstanding Young Business Leader by the S.C. Jaycees (1993); John H. Whitman Award by the Columbia Urban League (1998); Board Member of the Year Award from Big Brothers and Sisters; Whitney M. Young Service Award by the Boy Scouts of America (2000); African-American Achievement Award from the March of Dimes (2006); African-American Male Image Award from Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity (2008); AT&T African American Calendar (2008); National TRIO Achievers Award (2010) and University of South Carolina Alumni Award Recipient (2012). He and his wife, Cynthia, have two children, J. Anthony and Houston.

Hundreds of alumni, friends and guests of the University will enjoy the festive atmosphere of the Ultimate Claflin University Alumni Tailgate Experience on the grounds of the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Center prior to and during the Homecoming basketball games in Tullis Arena. Tip-off for the Lady Panthers vs. Northwood University is at 1:30 p.m., and the Panthers will take on St. Augustine’s University at 3:30 p.m. General admission to the games is $20. Alumni registration will take place from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in The Panther Den.

The inaugural Homecoming Tailgate Challenge is planned this year to allow for a little friendly competition among the tailgating cooks. Tailgaters are invited to sign up before 12 p.m. at The Panther Den to have their food judged. The winner will receive a special prize and bragging rights.

At 5 p.m., Claflin’s Gospel Choir D.R.E.A.M. will host a live concert recording at New Mount Zion Baptist Church. The concert is free and open to the public. The Greek Step Show will follow at 8 p.m. in Tullis Arena. Tickets are $20.

Two events benefitting FOCUS 100, an emergency fund for students, will be held Saturday evening, sponsored by the Claflin University Office of Alumni Relations. The Orange and Maroon Dance is set for 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in The Garden Room of The Cinema; tickets are $45. And Claflin University’s Official Post Step Show Party will be held from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. at The Premier. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.

Homecoming 2014 will wrap up with the 145th Founders’ Day Convocation at 4 p.m. Sunday, November 23, in Tullis Arena. Speaker will be famed author and poet Nikky Finney.

For more information about Claflin University’s Homecoming, visit You can also follow Claflin on Facebook and Twitter, #CUHC2K14.

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