‘We, Too, Can Lead’ Matriculation Day Celebrates Diversity, Vision for the Future

Sep 10, 2015

Claflin Matriculation Day 2015In a celebration of diversity and inclusion at Claflin, including a display of 40 flags representing the countries of Claflin students, faculty and staff, President Henry N. Tisdale affirmed the University’s commitment to create visionary leaders with global perspectives.

“Moving forward we will continue to celebrate diversity which is in the DNA of this great university,” Tisdale said. “The substantive challenges facing today’s global society require a global outlook and a global approach to problem solving. Future leaders will need to be citizens. We must infuse a comprehensive program of globalization into our scholarship, teaching and research at Claflin University.”

Attending this year’s convocation was Dr. Marcio de Moraes, Rector of Methodista University in San Paulo, Brazil, where Claflin has an as an educational articulation agreement that speaks to global teaching and research interests. Methodista is the largest United Methodist university in Brazil with 21,000 students, 52 undergraduate programs and six graduate programs.  Moraes said his visit to Claflin demonstrates that the University considers its partnership with Claflin very important.

“It has been at least three years since Claflin University and the Methodista University at San Paulo established an exchange agreement that includes teachers and students,” he said. “Last May we had the joy of receiving President Tisdale at one of our campuses when we took another step in this cooperation agreement. We are ready for the faculty members and students from Claflin University to share with us to continue our partnership.”

Moraes said his university is working to provide courses in English by 2017, and in 2016, Claflin will welcome a faculty member from Methodista to teach Portuguese.

“We can learn much more when we open our minds and our hearts to know new cultures, new people and see new horizons,” Moraes said.

More than 450 freshmen were welcomed as the newest members of Claflin’s student body during Matriculation Day, comprising one of the largest classes in University history. Students in the freshman class represent every region of the United States and 6.2 percent are international students. The most popular major among them is biology followed by business administration, psychology, mass communications and politics and justice.

“We welcome you and we challenge you to take the next three – but not more than four, years -- to achieve your educational objectives,” Tisdale said.

Each year, Matriculation Day Convocation provides the University with an opportunity to celebrate traditions and successes, while looking forward to chart a new course for the new year. Tisdale summarized the future vision of Claflin in two words – Claflin LEADS, with LEADS being an acronym for leadership development, experiential learning, academic excellence, diversity and inclusion and student success.

“Today I challenge each one of us – administrators, faculty and staff, students, Board of Trustees, alumni and Board of Visitors --  to lead,” he said. “I just believe that we, too, can lead. We don’t always have to follow. We, too, can lead.

“I believe that if we continue as one Claflin on our journey of excellence, and if we work hard to bring about the infusion of sustainable resources, our commitment to producing global citizens and our brand of teaching, innovation and collaboration will put us in a league with the world’s leading 21st century institutions of higher education. I firmly believe that this is the time for Claflin University to step into a new reality, one where we lead by example and with enthusiasm.”

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