Claflin Welcomes Class of 2019

Aug 09, 2015

Claflin Welcoming Class of 2019“My experience so far at Claflin has been very good – I love Claflin so much,” said incoming freshman Malik Washington from Charleston, S.C. “It's been very informative and I've learned a lot. I'm looking forward to the next four years."

Washington was one of 427 freshmen Claflin University welcomed to campus this weekend during the beginning of New Student Orientation. The Class of 2019 features a diverse group of students representing every region of the United States and seven countries. This year’s freshmen are some of the best and brightest including high school valedictorians and salutatorians, 28 Rudolph Canzatar/ James E. Clyburn scholars and high achieving students from across the nation.

“We salute the Class of 2019, more than 400 strong,” said President Henry N. Tisdale during the Sunday’s Freshman Parting Ceremony. “We’re excited about this very talented class. This is the next generation of visionary, global and ethical leaders. We thank you for choosing Claflin University and now you are a part of a very special university and part of the Claflin family. You are entering the University during one of the most exciting periods in its illustrious history. We want you to not just come and join the Claflin family. We want you to become true Panthers and true Claflinites.”

Students come from counties across South Carolina, with Richland County sending the most students. The class includes students from 20 other states, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Kenya, Nepal, Nigeria, and Trinidad.

Claflin’s highly recognized Department of Biology is what attracted Kingstree, S.C., native Amber Fulton to Claflin – along with the fact that the University president is from her home town.

“I chose Claflin because it is the number one HBCU in the nation,” she said. “I was also attracted to the Biology Department. I attended Panther Academy along with several other students from Kingstree.  We all talked about how Claflin being the number one HBCU in the nation influenced us.  I also heard a lot of positive information about the Biology Department and the opportunities for biology majors after they graduate.  I want a career in nursing after I graduate.”

Freshman and St. Louis, Mo., native Preston Bruce plans to major in Bioinformatics as a Presidential Scholar. The St. Louis High School student was courting Brown University and the University of Southern California, but a chance encounter with Claflin’s Director of Admissions, Michael Zeigler, changed his mind.

“I attended a job fair and met Mr. Ziegler,” he said. “He asked for my information and later called me. Claflin has study abroad programs and I will have an opportunity to study the Japanese language and visit Japan. I am a big fan of anime (Japanese animation) and manga (Japanese comics), so it will be great to actually visit where they originate. 

“I am majoring in Bioinformatics. It is an emerging field that combines the study of computer science and biology.  It can be used to track the development of diseases such as cancer and various genetic disorders. I have always had an interest in science and genetics. Claflin is one of the few schools with a dedicated Bioinformatics major.  I have been on campus for about five weeks. It has been exciting but I will miss my parents.  I am really enjoying the weather and the events and activities we've been involved with.” 

New Student Orientation Week began with the freshmen arriving to residence halls with anxious parents by their side. During the Parting Ceremony on Sunday, Aug. 19, President Henry N. Tisdale assured the parents that their children would soon grow into confident young men and women of vision. Tisdale encouraged members of the class to be conscientious of their social and moral responsibilities and to develop a global outlook, leadership qualities and a spiritual life.

“As you enter Claflin I want to give you some things to begin thinking about,” Tisdale said. “Consider the Claflin Consciousness and what it means to be participating in the Claflin community. We want you to keep some special things in mind as you take this journey toward visionary leadership at Claflin: remember to keep God First; remember to be mindful of our values, the Claflin Guiding Principles; remember you, too, can lead. The world needs you; be mindful of the Claflin Confidence; be mindful of the choices you make … and we expect you to graduate in four years.”

The path to achieving those dreams began by walking through the Arch of Confidence, a Claflin tradition to welcome students to the institution. 

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.

“This experience is meant to be well-rounded, informational and fun for our new students and parents,” said Cynthia Duncan - Joseph, director of The Freshman College. “This year we included orientation workshops for our parents, too, because this is as much their experience as the incoming students’. We will have useful sessions to help them navigate the campus as well as mini courses taught on various subjects and a collective discussion about our common reader book, The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore, which reflects the orientation theme.”

A special highlight will be the Freshmen Retreat held at White Oak Conference Center in Winnsboro Aug. 13-14. 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 16 will conclude the first week of activities for the Class of 2019. 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.

”We are attracting a more diverse pool of students who strive for excellence, and the Class of 2019 is a great illustration of that,” Tisdale said. We want the Claflin education to be accessible and attainable to all students – from South Carolina to California to India and beyond.”

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