Claflin matriculation comes as university reaching 150 years, retirement of president

Sep 13, 2018

Claflin President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale speaks on Matriculation Day, Sept. 6. (Panther photo by Olanma Hazel Mang)

Claflin University marked the official commencement of classes and the impending retirement of its eighth president on Sept. 6 at Matriculation Day.

Students, faculty, staff and alumni gathered in the Tullis Arena as the university rang the bells to officially open Claflin to learning. President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale spoke on traditions, celebrations and transitions.

"You must listen to learn," Tisdale said to students. "Listen with all levels: mind, body and soul."

Tisdale explained to students that, as with his presidency and with those holding political office, the first 100 days are when you are most powerful, privileged and valuable.

"The president is most influential at the beginning of his term because all of the focus is on him,” Tisdale said. “But he is also valuable because he is in the process of learning all that he must learn to have a successful presidency."

"This is a year of celebrations because we have so much to celebrate,” Tisdale said. He cited achievements and new developments to celebrate.

  • Claflin is ranked as a "Top HBCU."
  • Claflin is celebrating 150 years of academic excellence.
  • Claflin has a successful new computer science program.
  • Claflin sports teams joined the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA).
  • A new health and wellness center is to be complete by Oct. 29.

Tisdale addressed his retirement, set for June 30, 2019.

"When I sat in the position as president of this institution in 1994, my vision for Claflin College is that of a premier private liberal arts institution in the Southeastern United States, an institution of the highest quality that demonstrates its commitment to excellence and carrying out her vision by doing the best she can with what she has and always striving for better."

Tisdale challenged the university with the transition to a new president approaching.

To the students, Tisdale said a new leader will catapult the university. He encouraged the senior class not to be afraid of transitioning beyond the walls of Claflin and to utilize all of the skills the university has given them -- "Claflin confidence.”

Tisdale ended with remarks about his presidency and his wife's service at Claflin.

"For the past two decades, I'm pleased to be able to say that the university has experienced phenomenal transformation. Today I can say that over the past two decades, because of our collective work, a strong foundation has been built to ensure the future."

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