New student center on horizon, Warmack says
Mar 02, 2020
President Dwaun J. Warmack talks with Panther reporters.
Claflin University plans to a build new student center, Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack said.
A new student center is a needed addition to the Claflin campus considering the lack of amenities such as theaters and bowling alleys in the Orangeburg area, the new president said in a news conference with Panther reporters ahead of his March 20 inauguration.
“A primary objective is construction of a modern student center to enhance the student experience,” he said.
While no location has been decided, “the student center is typically in the center of campus,” Warmack said. He defined the new center as a living room for the campus.
With Warmack’s plan having the blessing of the board of trustees but still pending final approval, Vice President Dr. Leroy Durant is in charge of a group studying the issue by traveling with students to look at multiple student centers around the state.
“I want to raise 100% of the capital before we break ground,” Warmack said. “We are taking donations.”
The new student center would be a place for academics, entertainment and civic engagement, he said. It would include a grand ballroom.
It will also offer more national food chains than are presently on the campus, Warmack said. “We’re having some very frank discussions with food vendors.”
Warmack hopes to have the new center in place in two years.
Construction of another dorm is also under consideration, he said. Since many students have been placed at locations such as Campus Corner, “having our own would make a lot of sense.”
No plans for a new dorm have been developed, he said.
Warmack was introduced as Claflin’s ninth president on June 10, 2019, following the retirement of President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale. He took office in August 2019.
Before coming to Claflin, Warmack was the 19th president at Harris-Stowe University in St. Louis. Prior to that, he was a senior vice president of administration and student services at Bethune-Cookman University.
Warmack said he has learned some of the ups and downs of being president at Claflin and is aware that he has big shoes to fill in following Tisdale.
“I’m coming behind a living legend,” Warmack said. “Tisdale is a person who has done an amazing job with building, working on this institution, plus he’s an alum here. For me, I am honored to stand on the shoulders of giants. I’m fortunate to still have him here in the region to have that relationship.”
Warmack has a primary goal of seeing Claflin be further recognized as a premier institution regionally. “My measuring stick is not just HBCUs.”