Claflin President Henry N. Tisdale to give State of The University Address at 148th Matriculation Day Convocation

Sep 05, 2017

Keneisha Wiggan receives daily confirmation that choosing Claflin as the place to pursue her college degree was indeed the right decision. 

“The transition from high school to college was more than I anticipated, but I am very comfortable at Claflin,” she said. Wiggan is a freshman computer engineering major from Jamaica. “I am looking forward to the Matriculation Day Convocation so I can learn more about Claflin’s past accomplishments and what new programs and initiatives are planned for the future.”

Wiggan will be among more than 500 freshmen from the record-setting Class of 2021 who will attend Claflin’s 148th Matriculation Day Convocation at 11 a.m. on Thursday, September 7 in Tullis Arena at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Center with the theme “Claflin LEADS: A Shared Vision for the 21st Century.” All students, faculty and staff participate and the general public are also invited to attend.

“My decision to attend Claflin has been reinforced since classes started,” Wiggan said. “I did some research and discovered that Claflin is ranked in the top 30 percent for universities with computer engineering programs.  I can see myself graduating from Claflin with a degree that will prepare me for a successful career in computer technology.”

The Matriculation Day Convocation is one of Claflin’s treasured traditions and marks the official beginning of the new academic year. It is highlighted by the State of the University Address by President Henry N. Tisdale, the installation of Student Government Association officers and performances by the University’s musical groups, including the Concert Choir, D.R.E.A.M. (Gospel Choir) and Wind Ensemble.  A groundbreaking ceremony will be held following the convocation at the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Center for Claflin’s new Health and Wellness Center.  The project will expand and renovate the existing gymnasium to provide holistic health, nutrition, and life-long wellness education to the campus community and local residents. The ultra-modern facility will include a fitness center, demonstration kitchen, walking track, office space, classrooms, and a farmer’s market with locally-sourced foods.

The Class of 2021 is the most academically talented and diverse group in University history.  Claflin’s total enrollment for the 2017-18 academic year is expected to reach an all-time high of more than 2,000 students.   This year’s freshmen were selected from the university’s largest ever pool of applicants. The Class of 2021 comprises students from 44 of 46 counties in the state of South Carolina. Richland, Orangeburg, Charleston, Greenville, and Darlington counties have the highest representation. Other states contributing to the class include Georgia, North Carolina, Maryland, and the District of Columbia. The Class of 2021 also has a significant number of international students. 

The leading majors of the freshman class are biology, business, psychology, computer science and sport management and more than 30 percent of the freshman class are enrolled in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs.  The class also has an impressive number of students whose academic excellence in high school earned them prestigious scholarships.  Among this group are 36 students who were awarded Rudolph Canzater Scholarships from the James E. Clyburn Scholarship and Research Foundation. The foundation awarded 125 Canzater Scholarships and Claflin was the institution of choice for more recipients than any other college or university.  

Among the important developments at the University that President Tisdale most likely will acknowledge is Claflin’s leadership of the UNCF® Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) Grant, funded by Lilly Endowment Inc. Claflin, Benedict and Voorhees College received part of a $35.4 million grant that will help the institutions design and implement programs to improve employment outcomes for graduates.

Dr. Tisdale may also highlight the success of the Imagine the Possibilities Capital Campaign which raised more than $105 millionThe campaign was the most successful in University history.  The priorities of the campaign were Building the Endowment, Strengthening Academic Programs and Enhancing Facilities.

Student success is one of the hallmarks of Claflin’s Value Proposition.  The University recognized 10 students – the most is school history -- who achieved 4.0 cumulative grade point averages during its 148th Commencement Convocation.  These students, referred to as "The Talented 10," were presented Presidential Academic Excellence Awards.  Emmanuel Mong, a computer science major from Nigeria, was selected “Honor Graduate” for the Class of 2017, as a result of completing the highest total number of credit hours.  All 10 were members of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College.

History was also made last year when Claflin celebrated its inaugural graduates of the RN to Bachelor of Science Degree in Nursing and the Master of Education Degree in Curriculum and Instruction programs.

If Tisdale mentions Claflin’s world-class faculty, he will undoubtedly allude to their success in cutting-edge research and commitment to preparing students for high-paying careers and graduate study at prestigious universities.  Tisdale’s assertions were confirmed by Dr. Ananda Mondal’s selection for the Early CAREER Development Award and a $550,000 grant by the National Science Foundation.  Mondal is an assistant professor of mathematics and computer science.

The expectation for the new academic year is to continue Claflin’s upward trajectory toward achieving recognition as a leading 21st Century institution of higher education that develops a diverse and inclusive community of globally engaged visionary leaders.  

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