EducationClaflin University

“Claflin University will be recognized as a leading 21st Century institution of higher education that develops a diverse and inclusive community of globally engaged visionary leaders.”


Claflin University is a comprehensive institution of higher education affiliated with the United Methodist Church. A historically black University founded in 1869, Claflin is committed to providing students with access to exemplary educational opportunities in its undergraduate, graduate and continuing education programs. Claflin is dedicated to providing a student-centered, liberal arts education grounded in cutting-edge research, experiential learning, state-of-the art technology, community service, and life-long personal and professional fulfillment.

Claflin is a diverse and inclusive community of students, faculty, staff and administrators who work to cultivate practical wisdom, judgment, knowledge, skills and character needed for globally engaged citizenship and effective leadership.



At the center of everything we do is a system of values informing and guiding all policies and programs. These values, expressed through our decisions and actions, are defined by five over-arching guiding principles:

• Commitment to Excellence: We will strive for excellence through creativity, innovation and efficiency that allow for optimization of resources.

• Commitment to Valuing People: We will value people by providing a safe, wholesome and healthy environment that fosters mutual respect, diversity, and inclusion.

• Commitment to Being Student Centered: We will focus on all aspects of student life including student-centered education by embedding skills and praxis that foster life-long learning and independent problem solving and also translate their needs and expectations into actions that embody exceptional service.

• Commitment to Exemplary Educational Programs: We will provide exemplary educational programs and an effective learning community by ensuring that they represent the highest standards of academic excellence and by continuous quality improvement.

• Commitment to Fiscal Accountability: We will commit to financial accountability by promoting and fostering a culture of compliance, integrity, and fiscal responsibility throughout the University.


Quick Facts

• Claflin University is the oldest historically black college or university in South Carolina.

• The origin of Claflin University may be traced to the founding of the Baker Biblical Institute in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1866.

• Boston philanthropist Lee Claflin and his son, Massachusetts Governor William Claflin, provided initial financing for purchasing the Orangeburg Female Institute, where the University is now located.

• Dr. Alonzo Webster and the Rev. T. Willard Lewis played prominent roles in securing the site of the institution.

• Claflin University was chartered on December 18, 1869.

• The Baker Biblical Institute was moved to Orangeburg in 1870 and merged with Claflin University.

• The first class in the Normal Department of Claflin University graduated in 1879. The College Department granted its first diplomas in 1882 to William Lewis Bulkley and Nathaniel Middleton.

• South Carolina State University emerged from Claflin University.


Presidents of Claflin University

Dr. Alonzo Webster (1869-1874)
Dr. Edward Cooke (1874-1884)
Dr. Lewis M. Dunton (1884-1922)
Dr. Joseph B. Randolph (1922-1945) – First African-American president Dr. John J. Seabrook (1945-1955) – First alumni president
Dr. Hubert V. Manning (1956-1984)
Dr. Oscar A. Rogers (1984-1994)
Dr. Henry N. Tisdale (1994- )


The Claflin University motto, as decided by the Reverends Alonzo Webster and T. Willard Lewis, is:
“As you would like that men should do to you,
do you also to them likewise.”

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