Determination Pays Off for Claflin University’s Top Honor Graduate

May 05, 2015

Eva Freeman knew coming into Claflin University that she wanted to maintain a perfect 4.0 GPA. Nothing less than her absolute best would do.

That drive and determination has paid off, as Freeman has been named Claflin’s top honor graduate for 2015. She will be officially recognized during the 145th Commencement Convocation, set for 11 a.m. Saturday, May 9, at the South Atlantic Seventh-day Adventist Convention Center in Orangeburg. This year’s speaker will be Marc H. Morial, president and chief executive officer of the National Urban League. A ticket is required for admission to the ceremony.

“As a freshman, my friends thought my desire to be a perfectionist was unrealistic,” Freeman said. “Being named Claflin’s top honor graduate is, honestly, a dream come true for me.”

The Fayetteville, N.C., native completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in mass communications with a concentration in journalism and a minor in sociology in December. She is employed as a marketing analyst at UTC Aerospace Systems in Charlotte, N.C., one of the world’s largest suppliers of technologically advanced aerospace and defense products. Freeman’s job is to evaluate company sales data and create executive-level presentations, as well as coordinate with the company’s worldwide sales team to prioritize and secure future contracts. 

Freeman said she chose to study mass communications after a pressroom tour of The Fayetteville Observer, her hometown newspaper.                                                      

“I was impressed and inspired by the energy and passion I saw,” Freeman said. “It was in that moment of observation that I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the communications field, and it has remained a dream ever since.” 

While at Claflin, Freeman was a member of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College and worked in the University’s Information Technology department. She also volunteered at the local afterschool program Project Life: Positeen, and was a peer tutor for English comprehension, essay writing and interview etiquette.

“During my matriculation at Claflin, I had the privilege to be actively involved in the Student Orientation program as an Orientation Leader,” Freeman said. “I found this to be an enjoyable and rewarding experience. It was a pleasure aiding the incoming freshmen in their transition from high school to college, and gave me the opportunity to connect with many students who were seeking role models.”

Freeman said the exceptional relationships Claflin students have with their professors, the University’s modest class sizes and receiving a full academic scholarship all played a role in her decision to attend Claflin.                       

“There are many experiences that come to mind that have helped shape me as a person,” she said. “However, it is the instilling of the Claflin Confidence within every Claflin graduate that taught me to have faith in my abilities so that I am able to convey those abilities to potential employers. These words continue to shape and mold the decisions I make in my career and personal life.”

Having confidence in her abilities is just one piece of the puzzle that has helped Freeman succeed so far.

“I owe my success to many supporters – the friends I’ve gained, my academic-driven professors and the department chair, Dr. Donna Gough, for always supporting my academic goals and making sure I had every opportunity to refine my abilities,” she said. “Additionally, I thank Mrs. Alice Carson Tisdale for believing in me enough to financially support my education.

“I especially thank my two abundantly supportive brothers, Robert and Kevin, who always provide me a shoulder and hug when I need it. Lastly, I thank my parents – Keith and Nancy Freeman – for without their words of wisdom and purpose-driven love, I would not be the person I am today.”

Freeman’s larger life goal is to start a nonprofit organization for homeless youth.

“I am a firm believer that every child deserves to have a loving home and the knowledge that they will not have to go to bed hungry,” she said.

So what advice does the top honor graduate have for current and future college students?

“Surround yourself with positive, like-minded people,” Freeman said. “If you are surrounded by others who do not use every opportunity to succeed, it will be hard to stay motivated to excel.”

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