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Sun, 03.07.1869

Claflin University is Founded

*On this date in 1869, we celebrate the founding of Claflin University, a private American Historically Black University (HBCU).  

Claflin was founded by Methodist missionaries who freed slaves to take their rightful places as full American citizens.  Located in Orangeburg, South Carolina, an act by the South Carolina General Assembly on March 12, 1872, designated the South Carolina State Agricultural and Mechanical Institute as a part of Claflin University.  

Claflin is the oldest HBCU in South Carolina and the first college in the state to welcome all students regardless of race or gender.  In 1896 the South Carolina 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.   

Claflin offers bachelor's and master's degrees. The university was named after 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 43-acre campus. Claflin's first president was Dr. Alonzo Webster, a minister, and educator from Vermont who had previously spent time as a member of Claflin's Board of Trustees. Webster 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 to educate African American ministers. In 1870 the Baker Biblical Institute merged with Claflin University.  

In 2009 Claflin University had approximately 1,800 students, 32% male, and 68% female.  The University offers a Master of Business Administration (MBA), a Master of Science in Biotechnology, and 33 undergraduate majors.  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), Dr. Henry N. Tisdale (1994-2019) and Dr. Dwaun Warmack (2019–Present).  Notable alumni are Jonathan Jasper WrightEileen Jackson Southern, and Isaiah Newman.  

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