Claflin University concluded New Student Orientation Week with its annual Confirmation Ceremony last Sunday (August 18) in the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center. Dr. Derrick Swinton, interim dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, delivered the keynote speaker. The ceremony culminated a week-long series of seminars, lectures, and information sessions offered to assist freshman students with their transition from high school to college. The ceremony symbolizes the official enrollment of the Class of 2023 at Claflin.
New Student Orientation Week began August 10 with Freshman Move-In Day. Students and parents representing every region in the nation and nine international countries arrived on the campus eager to add a personal touch to the residence hall they were assigned.
Claflin administrators, faculty, staff, alumni and student volunteers welcomed the students and assisted with transporting their personal items to their rooms. Warmack, Claflin's ninth president who succeeded Dr. Henry N. Tisdale on August 1, was among the movers.
"I consider myself a servant-leader," said Warmack when asked about the message he was sending as he carried boxes, luggage and other items to several students' rooms. "The parents of these students are trusting us with their children and paying their tuition. No one who works at Claflin, including me as president, should think they are too good to help these families with their children's transition to attending college. I want the parents of our current students and anyone who sends their children to Claflin to know that when they come to Claflin, everyone at this institution is willing to help and serve them."
Emotions peaked during the August 11 Parting Ceremony, the Claflin tradition that symbolizes the students' separation from their families and the entrance to a new learning phase in their development. Students in the class of 2023 walked under the Claflin Arch of Confidence and passed through lines of well-wishers comprised of alumni, faculty, staff and university supporters who congratulated them for choosing Claflin to continue their education.
"It's true what they say about Claflin's family-like environment," said Marquita Hampton, a freshman from Camden and a business major. "Everyone has been extremely helpful and I learned more about the academic programs. I chose Claflin because my goal is to become a successful entrepreneur and the university has a nationally accredited business program. "
Artavious Benjamin, a freshman from Bishopville, said the university's recognition as one of the nation's top HBCUs attracted him to Claflin.
"I believe Dr. Warmack did an exceptional job in articulating his passion for Claflin and the students," he said. "I am excited and honored to be a member of his first freshman class."
Taimani Barrett said she fell in love with Claflin during her first visit to the campus - which was Move-In Day. She is a pre-med major from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
"My family and I have been following and reading about Claflin for quite some time," Barrett said. "I was attracted by the small class size, teacher-student ratio and the attractiveness of the campus. It's an inspiring and diverse atmosphere. I know I made the right choice."