Claflin University Receives Unprecedented $20 Million Investment

Dec 16, 2020

The largest gift in school history will support student success and retention, sustainability, community workforce and economic development

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (December 16, 2020) – Claflin University has received a game-changing $20 million investment, the largest in school history, from philanthropist and author MacKenzie Scott. The gift will accelerate Claflin’s mission to develop visionary leaders that advance social change regionally, nationally and globally. 

The historic donation will be used to bolster Claflin’s teaching and learning; expand access to scholarships; increase the endowment to foster long-term sustainability; and support workforce and economic development throughout the Orangeburg community. As the campus lays the foundation for a capital campaign to drive infrastructure improvements, including a state-of-the-art student center, this gift will be a cornerstone in building a cutting-edge living and learning community. 

“We are grateful to Ms. Scott for her generous recognition of Claflin’s exemplary leadership and record of innovation in producing stellar academic outcomes,” said Claflin University President Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack. “This gift will have an immediate, transformational impact, not only on the university but on the greater Orangeburg, South Carolina community and the state. We are also inspired by the long-term impact it will have in preparing students to champion and shape the nation and world we all need – one that is more just, fair and equitable.”

Founded in 1869, Claflin University was the first HBCU established in the state of South Carolina and was the first institution of higher education to admit all students regardless of gender, ethnic origin, race, or religion. Located in Orangeburg, 50 miles southeast of Columbia, the state capital, Claflin University’s rigorous, student-focused academic programs and top-tier faculty have earned it a Top 10 HBCU ranking in U.S. News & World Report for 10 consecutive years. It is also ranked a Best National Liberal Arts Institution and is No. 1 among HBCUs for annual alumni giving at approximately 40%, which is more than six times the national average.  

Claflin University’s legacy of excellence has produced a number of distinguished academic scholarship recipients, including a J. William Fulbright Scholar, a General George C. Marshall Scholar, a Harry S.Truman Scholar and, in 2019, a Luard Morse Scholar. 

The gift to Claflin is part of a larger $4.2 billion gift to 384 mission-driven institutions selected because of their “strong leadership teams and results,” according to Scott’s announcement via Medium.

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