Claflin – Gammon Dinner Continues Historic Partnership

Jun 17, 2015

Claflin Gammon Dinner SpeakerClaflin University and the Gammon Theological Seminary continued its tradition of fellowship and support during the annual Claflin-Gammon Alumni Fellowship Dinner held Tuesday, June 9, in Florence, S.C. The dinner is held during the South Carolina United Methodist Church Annual Conference.

“We are in this room because we are standing on the shoulders of those who have gone before us,” said South Carolina Resident Bishop Jonathon Holston. “There are students, persons in our communities and persons in our congregations who are going to need some shoulders to stand on as well. These two institutions represent the best of who we are, and the best of our communities.”

The Claflin-Gammon connection dates back many years as Claflin has long steered a strong and influential pipeline of graduates to pursue theological studies at Gammon. The Claflin-Gammon Dinner began shortly following the merger of the state’s black and white United Methodist Conferences in 1972.  The University’s sixth president, the late Hubert V. Manning, noticed other higher education institutions hosted reunion and fellowship dinners during the annual Conference after the merger. 

To recognize the partnership between the two institutions, the then President Manning appointed former Dean Marian G. Anderson to organize the Claflin-Gammon Dinner in 1973.  The Dinner celebrated its 43rd anniversary this year and continues to bring together alumni and friends of these two institutions.

“We greet you and thank you for all that you’ve done to be supportive of Gammon,” said The Rev. Dr. Joseph Crawford, treasurer of the Gammon Board of Trustees. “Gammon is built upon the leadership that came before us and we want to continue that. Gammon is still sound, well and is producing more leaders throughout the world – not only here, but throughout the world who have come to gain a theological education.”

Rev Whittaker V. Middleton, vice president for Institutional Advancement at Claflin said that the Claflin-Gammon partnership is necessary as they continue to build upon the mission and historic achievements of the two institutions.

“Both Claflin University and Gammon Theological Seminary were founded to improve the human condition spiritually and intellectually,” he said. “Our partnership began at a time in the history of our nation when access to such an education was denied to African Americans and other underserved populations. Today both institutions stand strong.”

This year’s keynote speaker was Rev. Dr. Robin Dease, Hartsville District Superintendent. Rev. Dease reinforced the history of the institutions with a sermon titled Footnotes in Our Story.

“There’s another kind of leadership at work that tends to get overlooked,” she said. “Our success and our achievements all hinge upon the many unnamed and unmentioned and anonymous leaders who got us where we are today. They are the footnotes in our stories, your story and my story.

“We are all connected,” she continued. “We are all at least a footnote in one another’s story. This is about the unseen folks who made contributions and their names will never be recorded; who do the work and their names were never called. All those people are the wind beneath our wings who helped us get where we are today.”


About Claflin University

Founded in 1869, Claflin University is recognized by national publications such as U.S. News and World Report, and Washington Monthly as one of America’s best liberal arts colleges. The University proudly serves the state of South Carolina, the nation and the world. Its beautiful historic campus is home for approximately 2,000 students from every region of the United States and more than 20 international countries. Claflin students demonstrate extraordinary achievement, distinctive confidence and a lifelong desire to transform society through visionary leadership. Its academic programs prepare students to compete and succeed in a global and technological society.

Outstanding alumni include Chief Justice of South Carolina Supreme Court (Ret) Ernest A. Finney, Jr.; renowned photographer, author and publisher Cecil Williams; internationally recognized artist Leo Twiggs; Vela McClam-Mitchell, president/CEO and owner, Georgia International Travel; and the eighth president of Claflin University, Dr. Henry N. Tisdale. For more information, visit or

About Gammon Theological Seminary

Founded in 1883 by the Methodist Episcopal Church and with assistance from the Freedmen's Aid Society, Gammon Theological Seminary, located in Atlanta, GA, is the United Methodist constituent member of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), a consortium of six historically African American theological schools. Gammon/ITC is a co-educational, professional graduate school of theology. Its faculty personifies vigorous scholarship, rigorous academic discipline, and significant research in the service of the church and other communities in the world.  Gammon/ITC is the world's premier resource for black church scholarship and faith-based solutions to the spiritual and socio-economic challenges confronting the African American community.

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