Claflin University and Marcus T. Johnson Launch Partnership to Support Panther Athletics and to Expand Career and Leadership Opportunities

Jan 31, 2022

From left - Entrepreneur Marcus T. Johnson and Claflin President Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack

Claflin President Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack and entrepreneur philanthropist Marcus T. Johnson had no idea that their lunch meeting in March 2021 would lead to a partnership with the University’s athletic program or introduce students to career opportunities in the automotive industry. Claflin’s Department of Athletics received a generous donation from Johnson to fund upgrades to athletic facilities, including a new video scoreboard in the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex. As President and CEO of Johnson Automotive Group, Johnson will also offer internships and management training programs to prepare Claflin students for executive leadership in the global workforce of the 21st century.

“We are tremendously grateful to Marcus and the Johnson Automotive Group. Our partnership began to evolve when Marcus was very straightforward and asked, “How can I help?” Warmack said. “He made it clear that he did not want anything from us – only that he wanted to support Claflin by investing in the future of our students and this historic University.”

Johnson’s primary goal within the partnership is to expand access and exposure for Claflin students to career opportunities at the corporate level. He believes this will enhance their preparation for leadership positions after graduating from Claflin.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are incubators for African American scholars, and these proud institutions have produced leaders in every industry. But some of their best and brightest graduates do not have access to transformational opportunities that will allow them to achieve their full potential,” Johnson said.

“Some are limited by the misconceptions of decision-makers who marginalize people of color. Often all they need are opportunities to display their distinctive talents and skills. My goal is to use my access and resources to expose these students to what’s possible and help them showcase their leadership, innovation, professionalism, tenacity to succeed, and other essential qualities that define highly-capable managers.”

The partnership aligns with Claflin’s emphasis on student success – a critical component of the University’s Value Proposition. Claflin maintains an impressive regional and national academic reputation, as evidenced by its recognition by national publications as a premier liberal arts university that prepares graduates for quality job placement, increased graduate school acceptance, and workforce readiness. U.S. News and World Report has ranked Claflin in the “Top 10” on its list of the nation’s Best HBCUs for 11 consecutive years. Claflin is the only HBCU in South Carolina ranked in the “Top 10.” The publication ranked Claflin seventh in the Best Regional Colleges in the South category and third among the Top Performers on Social Mobility for Regional Colleges in the South.

“We are extremely excited about the partnership and its potential impact on Claflin and the greater Orangeburg community,” Warmack said. “Marcus has a deeply-rooted passion for contributing to student success at Claflin and other HBCUs. His philanthropy underscores Claflin’s commitment to supporting programs and initiatives that enrich the lives of residents in this region. I believe this partnership will help promote the elevation and transformation we are experiencing throughout Claflin, Orangeburg, neighboring counties, and beyond.


To connect with Mr. Marcus Johnson, please visit his Facebook and Instagram profiles.

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