Keynote Address By Claflin Alumnus Joseph Jefferson Jr. '70 And Tribute To Emanuel Nine Highlight 146th Founders' Day Convocation
Nov 23, 2015
South Carolina Representative Joseph Jefferson encouraged students to prepare for opportunities in the future at Claflin University’s Founders’ Day Convocation on Sunday, concluding a week-long homecoming celebration at the historically black university founded in 1869.
The University also paid tribute to the victims and survivors of the shooting at historic Emanuel AME Church of Charleston, S.C. in June. In addition to presenting a framed memorial to Mrs. Jennifer Pinckney, widow of slain pastor Senator Rev. Clementa Pinckey, President Henry N. Tisdale announced that the University will offer two annual scholarships in the name of Senator Pinckney to students in the Edisto District of the African Methodist Church.
"It has been proven that you can get an excellent education at Claflin University," said Jefferson, who graduated from Claflin in 1970. "Look at all of the national recognition the University has received -- HBCU of the year and being recognized as one of the premier liberal arts universities in South Carolina and the nation by Forbes.com, Washington Monthly and other publications. I marvel at the beauty of this campus. President Tisdale has done a masterful job. He truly is a transformative and visionary leader," added Jefferson, who in 2000 was inducted into the Claflin Hall of Fame.
Jefferson has served 11 years in the South Carolina General Assembly as representative of Berkeley and Dorchester counties, House District 102. He is chairman of Local Government and Corrections Affairs Sub-Committee and he is a member of the committee for Medical, Military, Public and Municipal Affairs and the General Assembly Legislative Oversight Committee.
Jefferson said he plans to introduce legislation that will increase financial support for college students. Included will be proposals to provide incremental increases to restore S.C. Tuition Grants to its original funding of $3,200 annually per student and more funding for Life, Hope and Palmetto Fellows scholarship programs. S.C. Tuition Grants were significantly reduced in 2008 during the recession. The grants offer need-based assistance to eligible South Carolina students obtaining an initial undergraduate degree who are attending, on a full time basis, eligible independent non-profit in-state colleges.
"We want to help young people achieve their dreams of earning a college degree," said Jefferson.
The Presidential Citation was presented to Mrs. Barbara Johnson-Williams, president of the Orangeburg Branch NAACP for her outstanding community service.
Founders’ Day - (left to right) President Henry N. Tisdale, Mrs. Jennifer Pinckney, Rev. Chris Vaughn, Mrs. Barbara Williams, Representative Joseph H. Jefferson Jr. and Mr. James A. Bennett, chair, Claflin Board of Trustees.