Tisdale to focus on students as he plans to retire

May 15, 2018

MCOM 304 final tisdale photo

Claflin President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale speaks during a news conference with The Panther two days after his April 17 retirement announcement. (Panther photo)

The focus for his last academic year as president will be on students, Claflin University President Henry Tisdale said in a news conference with The Panther on April 19.

With a little over a year left of his tenure as president, Tisdale still plans to work as hard as he has for the past two decades, starting with funding for students.

“My emphasis in the next year will be on fundraising, especially scholarships,” Tisdale said. The funds will go toward school supplies for students who cannot afford them.

The president also wants to build on the Career Pathways Initiative. The program helps students prepare for their careers by applying relevant course schedules and hands-on learning experience under the mentorship of advisers.

Tisdale said the university will be focused on exposing students to more internship and job opportunities to prepare them for the corporate world post-graduation.

“Why do students come to college?” Tisdale asked during the conference. “To get a job after graduation.”

To support these changes, tuition for the 2018-19 academic year will increase by 2 percent, he said.

Another goal for the president is to preserve the university’s legacy and history. He said the Claflin Archival and Preservation Program will be tasked with collecting art and photographs to record Claflin’s history.

In addition, the president also plans to detail the university’s initiatives and visionary leadership in a book.

“I’m going to begin writing a book to document Claflin’s success over the past 20 years,” he said.

The president is to retire on June 30, 2019, at which time he would have served the university for 25 years.

Tisdale said his goal as he started his presidency was to place Claflin among the top 10 institutions in the country. Today, the university flourishes among the top 10 HBCUs in America with a huge economic impact locally, he said.

The university continues to expand both in size and academic excellence. Over 83 percent of the faculty are Ph.D. holders and the ongoing U.S. 601 Improvement Project will be completed in the spring of 2019, he said.

“The institution is in a good place,” Tisdale said. “We’re at a great point to pass the baton.”

After retiring, he said he plans to spend more time with his family. His wife, Alice Carson Tisdale, will be leaving Claflin with him. “Alice and I would like to travel while we can.”

Yet Tisdale said he will still be active in the university as an alumnus and will also help the new president adjust. He will have no direct role in selecting his successor, he said.

What students are saying about Dr. Tisdale's retirement


"It's going to take a while for the new president to adjust since President Tisdale has left big shoes to fill." -- Juwan Smith, Senior

"President Tisdale has done a lot for this campus. He's leaving a legacy." -- Willie Johnson, Senior

"President Tisdale tries to engage with the students on campus. He will be missed after he leaves Claflin." -- Jalen Johnson, Junior

"I feel like he should stay until my class graduates. Our last two years are our most crucial years in college, so it may be a little difficult for us to adjust during our senior year." -- Nucreatia Gamble, Sophomore  

"He served for over 20 years. I'm glad he's leaving after my class graduates. He did a great job and I wish the best of luck for him." -- Amber Price, Junior

"Since I came to Claflin, President Tisdale has been the president, so I don't know the school any different. I don't honestly know how this will impact the university." -- Taylor Benjamin, Sophomore 

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