Claflin Welcomes Record Freshman Class For 2016 New Student Orientation Week

Aug 14, 2016

Claflin University welcomed more than 500 freshmen to campus – most in school history -- for the start of New Student Orientation Week.

“The Class of 2020 is not only the largest class in school history, it is the most talented, as well,” said President Henry N. Tisdale in his remarks Sunday during the traditional Parting Ceremony. “We have students from 44 of the 46 counties in the state of South Carolina.  We also have students from Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, Washington, D.C. and from outside of the United States,” Tisdale added. 

Shonte Felder and Siron Mack, two students from North, S.C. arrived for “Move-In Day” at Claflin on Saturday. They listened intently to Dr. Tisdale’s message on Sunday before walking through the Arch of Confidence, a Claflin tradition to welcome students to the institution.

“It’s been a very exciting weekend and you quickly realize how different things will be from high school,” said Felder, who said she chose Claflin because she did not want to travel too far from home and she wanted to attend an HBCU (Historically Black College/University). Felder is majoring in early childhood education.

“We are receiving a lot of information so you have to keep up,” said Mack. Both Felder and Mack graduated last spring from North Middle/High School. “However, all of the counselors were very helpful and I am really looking forward to getting acclimated to the campus environment.”  Mack will major in biology. He said Claflin’s focus in STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programs is what attracted him to the University. 

Junya Taketsu and Kaiki Sumi made the journey to Claflin from Japan and Kansai University.  Both will major in political science.

“We are looking forward to experiencing the United States and Claflin University,” said Sumi. “We arrived Friday night so we have not seen much of the area but we are looking forward to meeting other students and getting involved in campus activities.”

Taketsu, who plays the guitar in his spare time, said Claflin’s location and academic reputation were his motivations for moving to Orangeburg.

“I did not know much about Orangeburg except that it is not a very big city, he said.  “We were looking for a small school in a small quiet city and Clalfin fit the profile.”

The Class of 2020 enters Claflin with a wealth of impressive academic credentials.  In addition to being school valedictorians and salutatorians, they are Gates Millennial Scholars, South Carolina Life, Hope and Palmetto scholars and Rudolph Canzatar/James E. Clyburn scholars.  Claflin admitted 36 of the 125 students who were Rudolph Canzatar/ James E. Clyburn scholars and for the tenth consecutive year, Claflin students were awarded the largest number of scholarships.  Thirty percent of students in the freshman class are pursuing degrees in STEM disciplines.

 “I thank you for bringing your sons and daughters to us,” said Tisdale.  “These young people are the hopes and dreams of our ancestors who have gone before us.  They will be the engaged visionary leaders of the 21st Century,” said Tisdale.

The freshmen will participate in a week-long orientation facilitated by the University’s Freshman College. This year’s theme is Exploring Pathways of Purpose and includes a variety of workshops and social activities to help get the students acclimated to the rigors of college life.

A special highlight will be the Freshmen Retreat held on Tuesday (Aug. 16) at Camp Bob Cooper in Summerton, S.C.  The annual Retreat serves to teach incoming freshmen leadership skills and prepare them for the transformational challenges they will face as a Claflin student.

The Freshman Confirmation Ceremony on August 21 will conclude the first week of activities for the Class of 2020. At the ceremony, each member of the class will pledge to uphold the hallmarks of the Freshman College, which are building character, confidence, pride, memories and pathways to success.

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