Claflin University is
located in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Claflin University was founded in 1869 and is
the oldest historically black
college or university in the state of South Carolina.
Claflin was founded in 1869 by Methodist
missionaries to prepare freed slaves to take their places as full
American citizens. The University takes its name from two Methodist
churchmen, Massachusetts Governor William Claflin
and his father, Boston
philanthropist Lee Claflin, who provided a large part of the funds
to purchase the campus.
1899 football team
Webster, a minister and educator from Vermont and a member
of Claflin’s Board of Trustees, secured Claflin’s charter in
The charter forbids discrimination of any sort among
faculty, staff and students, making Claflin the first South
Carolina university open to all students regardless of race, class
Claflin opened its doors with Dr. Webster as its first president.
He came to
South Carolina to teach at the Baker Biblical Institute in Charleston, an institution established by the S.C.
Mission Conference of 1866 of the Methodist Episcopal Church for
the education of African American ministers. In 1870 the Baker
Biblical Institute merged with Claflin University. An act by the
South Carolina General
on March 12
, designated the South Carolina State Agricultural
and Mechanical Institute as a part of Claflin University. In 1896
the S.C. General Assembly passed an act of separation
which severed the State Agricultural and Mechanical Institute from
Claflin University and established a separate institution which
eventually became South Carolina State University.
Since the administration of Dr. Webster, Claflin has been served by
seven presidents: Dr. Edward Cooke (1872-1884); Dr. Lewis M. Dunton
(1884-1922); Dr. Joseph B. Randolph (1922 1944); Dr. John J.
Seabrook (1945-1955); Dr. Hubert V. Manning (1956-1984); Dr. Oscar
A. Rogers, Jr. (1984-1994); and Dr. Henry N. Tisdale
Dr. Cooke left the presidency of Lawrence College
to become the second
president of Claflin. During his administration, a disastrous fire
destroyed the Fisk Building, a proud monument designed by Robert
Bates, recognized as the first certified Black Architect in the
United States. In 1879 the first college class was graduated.
The Reverend Dr. Dunton, former vice president and development
officer, was Claflin’s third president. Dr. Dunton, a graduate
University, was a practical educator.
administration the law department was set up under the Honorable J.
J. Wright, a former Associate Justice of the South Carolina Supreme Court
graduates were admitted to the South Carolina Bar; Claflin’s
property increased from six to . After his retirement, Dr. Dunton
deeded his personal home and of land to Claflin.
Randolph, Claflin’s fourth president, was the former president of
Samuel Houston College and former dean of Wiley College.
As a professional educator, he placed
emphasis on a complete liberal arts education for the students who
were inspired intellectually, culturally, and spiritually to launch
into varied fields. The high school and upper grades were
discontinued, but the first four elementary grades were retained
for the teacher education program; this part of the program was
Seabrook, director of Morgan Christian Center, Baltimore,
Maryland, became the fifth president of Claflin.
Seabrook persuaded the South Carolina Annual Conference to increase
substantially its annual giving to Claflin. Furthermore, he
revitalized the interest of the New England Conference of the
Methodist Church in the institution. The endowment was increased,
and the curriculum was expanded. The college received its first
accreditation by the Southern
Association of Colleges and Schools
Dr. Manning was appointed Claflin’s sixth president. He was a
Methodist minister and former associate professor at Claflin. Under
Dr. Manning’s leadership the faculty was strengthened, the
endowment increased and the physical plant was significantly
Dr. Rogers, former dean of the Graduate School at Jackson State University
Claflin’s seventh president. Under his administration the
enrollment and endowment increased, the Grace Thomas Kennedy
building was constructed, the financial base of the college
improved, and two capital campaigns were completed. Dr. Rogers also
commissioned a master plan to guide campus development into the
Dr. Tisdale, Claflin’s eighth and current president, was former
senior vice president and chief academic officer at Delaware State University
Tisdale brought a wealth of scholarly achievement and demonstrated
leadership to the University. He declared academic excellence the
number one priority for Claflin. The first steps, designed to
enhance the academic environment, included the establishment of the
Claflin Honors College and the Center for Excellence in Science and
Mathematics, and the national accreditation of more than a dozen
academic programs. Graduate programs established include the Master
of Business Administration, the Master of Science in Biotechnology
and the Master of Education. Facilities enhancements include
construction of the Living and Learning Center, Legacy Plaza, the
Student Residential Center, the Music Center, and the new
University Chapel. Claflin University is now recognized as one of
the premier liberal arts institutions in the nation.
Claflin University is an independent, liberal arts, co-educational,
historically black institution that is affiliated with the United
Methodist Church. It is dedicated to educational excellence and to
preparing students without regard to gender, race, religion or
ethnic origin. It is committed to offering quality undergraduate
programs, select graduate programs, and viable continuing education
At the undergraduate level, the University ensures that students
receive a liberal arts education that is designed to produce
graduates who understand themselves, as well as historical and
social forces that impact the world. Their academic experiences
will include an understanding of religious and aesthetic values in
a universal context and a thorough grounding in their chosen
discipline. Their education will incorporate the use of technology,
our exposure to recent scientific developments, and inculcate
critical thinking and communication skills in order to prepare them
for leadership and service in a global and multicultural
At the graduate level, students are provided instruction to enhance
the analytical and comprehensive research acumen necessary for
professional growth and leadership. Continuing education programs
create avenues for students to complete their educational
objectives and develop skills necessary for contribution to their
professional and personal fulfillment.
Undergirding the Mission is the University’s commitment to
excellence in all its endeavors.
The university offers broad based education in liberal arts and
sciences combined with internships and other career-focused
programs and offers a Master of Business Administration degree
(MBA), a Master of Science in Biotechnology and 33 undergraduate
About 1,800 students are enrolled. 32% are male and 68% are female.
They represent 45 SC counties, 24 States, and 18 countries.
Greek letter organizations
The university currently has chapters for eight of the nine
National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations.
Reserve Officers Training Corps
Claflin graduates who complete the R.O.T.C. program (a cross
enrollment agreement with South Carolina State University) may be
commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army.
Claflin is a member of Southern
Intercollegiate Athletic Conference
of the NCAA
). Men's sports include basketball,
baseball, tennis, and track and field. Programs for women include
basketball, softball, volleyball, tennis, and track and