Graduate Pursues Her Passion for Writing at Claflin University
May 07, 2015
Writing has been her passion for as long as she can remember. So when Claflin University mass communications senior Princess Williams was named South Carolina Collegiate Journalist of the Year for institutions with fewer than 5,000 students, she was overjoyed.
“I was ecstatic,” said Williams, editor of Claflin’s student newspaper, The Panther, upon receiving the honor during the South Carolina Press Association’s Collegiate Division Conference, held April 10 at Bob Jones University in Greenville. “I know it’s a great accomplishment, and I’m very proud.”
Williams, a member of the Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College, is among the more than 400 graduating seniors who will receive their diplomas at Claflin’s 145th Commencement Convocation, set for 11 a.m. Saturday, May 9, at the South Atlantic Seventh-day Adventist Convention Center in Orangeburg. The 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.
For Williams – who plans to either enter the field as a reporter or attend graduate school in the fall – the road to Claflin was an easy one.
“I had an aunt and uncle graduate from here. They always spoke highly of this institution,” the Pineland, S.C., native said. “I toured the school during middle school, and participated in the TRiO Day programs with the Educational Talent Search Program with the Technical College of the Lowcountry each year from seventh-grade until senior year.
“When applying to colleges, I discovered that Claflin had my desired program and I made my decision to come here. I loved how the University was not too big and the institution is family-oriented.”
Williams got her start at The Panther during her sophomore year at Claflin, which happened to be the first year she had a class taught by Lee Harter, editor of The Times and Democrat and professional-in-residence at Claflin.
“That’s when I found out that I was good at writing,” she said. “I mean, if he liked it, then I guess it was good.
“I knew there were two things I enjoyed doing, talking and writing. I love talking to people. I’m always talking, so I knew communications was my goal.”
Williams was a reporter during her first two years at The Panther and was named the paper’s editor for 2014-2015. Her duties as editor have been diverse, she said.
“I’ve had to find talent for the newspaper, as well as write stories and post them on the website,” she said. “And you always have to take photos whenever you cover an event.”
In addition to writing and photographing every day events and activities at Claflin, Williams has had the opportunity to meet such notable individuals as comedian Bill Cosby, poet Nikki Giovanni, entertainer David Banner and former state Rep. Bakari Sellers, among others.
“It’s been very fun,” she said of her time at The Panther. “Never in a million years did I think I would be doing this. It’s been a journey.”
In addition to her work at the student newspaper, Williams also served as Claflin University’s Miss UNCF 2013-2014, as well as secretary of the Pre-Alumni Council and Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, and she is a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Mass Communications Society. She also worked in the University’s Call Center during her sophomore year.
“My four years at Claflin have been amazing,” she said. “I’ve learned so much about myself, and I’ve discovered so much potential that I didn’t even know that I had.
“Claflin taught me how to be more outgoing. It taught me a lot about professionalism, how to tailor my resume, how to dabble in a little bit of everything and don’t limit yourself. And the ‘Claflin Confidence’ – they instilled that in us a lot, knowing that you’re just as good as anybody else.”
Williams said many people have helped her get to where she is today.
“There are so many people, so many faculty and staff. I just want to say ‘thank you’ for seeing the potential in me and believing in me, and pushing me and always giving me encouraging words,” she said. “I’m just so thankful.”