Claflin News

Dr. Mary Williams Encourages Honor Students to Mentor Others during 2012 Honors and Awards Convocation

Apr 04, 2012

            The 2012 Honors and Awards
           Convocation Student Honorees
Speaking to Claflin University honor students, Panthers STEPS Director Dr. Mary Williams encouraged them to start their community service at home by mentoring incoming freshmen so they could experience the same level of success.

“We need you to serve as role models,” said Williams, the keynote speaker at the 2012 Honors and Awards Convocation.  “Exercise your leadership on this campus.  We invite you to become collaborative partners along with our faculty and staff to ensure success for our next generation of visionary leaders.”

Williams joined Claflin this January to lead the establishment of the Panther STEPS program.  It was developed as Claflin’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) during the reaffirmation process by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools last year. 

The five-year plan calls for a multi-faceted approach to heighten freshman grades and retention rates by enhancing entry level courses, creating more orientation classes, engaging students in community service and better preparing them for academic success.     

Williams challenged current honors students to be active participants in Panthers STEPS.  “Act as a big brother or sister to them,” she said.

She outlined the many avenues in which they could, including being a peer advisor or volunteer tutor, among other things.  Williams told the students that they made the choice to strive for excellence and now their hard work has paid off. 

But along the way, the Kingstree native pointed out family and members of the Claflin faculty had assisted them greatly in the journey.  Now, she noted, was the time for them to pay it forward by guiding the next generation of Claflinites on the road to excellence.

“We should pull together to ensure all Claflin students have as an enriching experience as you have,” said Williams.

Williams has more than 20 years of higher education experience.  At Florida Memorial University, she was also dean of the School of Arts and Science, division chair and assistant professor of sociology.  She has worked at institutions in Georgia, Florida, South Carolina and Virginia.  Her grant writing has garnered more than $2.5 million in funding.  Additionally, Williams is a private education consultant in a variety of higher education areas.

President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale extended congratulations to all of the students honored at the Convocation.  “You give us chance to celebrate because you are upholding the Claflin University tradition of success, service and character,” he said.

Tisdale also took the time to acknowledge several of the many successes over the last year such as reaching a 45 percent alumni giving rate and having the institution’s accreditation reaffirmed by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools without any recommendations.  He also thanked members of the Student Government Association who contributed to the SACS reaffirmation process by presenting the organization with a resolution.

Tisdale also acknowledged the sudden passing of Keytcha Scott-Wolley, who had worked in the School of Education as an academic student support specialist.

Chair of the Department of Music Dr. Isaiah McGee received the Exemplary Teacher Award from The General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church.  The award recognizes excellence in teaching, civility and concern for students and colleagues, commitment to value-centered education and service.

The Convocation is held each year to acknowledge exemplary student achievement and community service at the University.  Students in each of Claflin’s academic Schools were honored for their excellence at the event, including four students who received the Leadership and Service Award from their respective Schools.

Special Honorees


School of Business

Top Senior by Major

Accounting- Afton Anderson

Management – Saaeda Ibrahim

Marketing – Jessica Gathers

Finance – Selorm Ankah

Business Administration – Linsley Thompson

Leadership and Service Award – Afton Anderson

School of Education

Top Senior by Major

Middle Level Education – Tiasha Jones

Human Performance and Recreation – Steven Small

Elementary Education – Aubriaunna Bodrick

Early Childhood – Mariette Dargan

Sport Management – Zachary Rogers

Leadership and Service Award – David Kelly &Zachary Rogers

School of Humanities and Social Sciences

Top Senior by Major

Art – Jonathan Belgrove

English and Foreign Languages – Dana Bloome & Isaiah Jones

History and Sociology – Natia Marshall & Mary Remy

Mass Communications – Cari Tindall & Philana Payton

Music – Amanda Greene

Philosophy and Religion – Devin Harley

Leadership and Service Award – Isaiah Jones & Alan Suber

School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics

Top Senior by Major

Biology – Victoria Desormeaux

Chemistry – Angelique Mole

Mathematics and Computer Science – Jirreaubi Jennings

Outstanding American Chemical Society Student – Destynei Tiller

Leadership and Service Award – Victoria Desormeaux

Center for Professional and Continuing Studies

Organizational Management - Tangelea Small
Sociology/Criminal Justice Administration - Natale Kulick

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