Claflin News

Congressman James E. Clyburn to Address Graduates at 2013 Claflin University Commencement Convocation

Apr 10, 2013

U.S. Congressman James E. Clyburn, the man President Barack Obama says is among a handful of people who commands attention from the entireCongress, will deliver the keynote address at the 2013 Claflin University Commencement Convocation on Saturday, May 11.

“We are excited and pleased to have a speaker of Congressman Clyburn’s stature address our graduates before they embark on their life’s journey as visionary leaders,” said President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale.  “Our students are ready to address the world’s most pressing issues and hearing from a transformational leader like Congressman Clyburn will prove invaluable for them.”

The Commencement Convocation will be held at the Seventh-day Adventist Worship and Convention Center, 514 Neeses Highway in Orangeburg, starting at 11 a.m.  Admission is by ticket only.

Clyburn is the assistant Democratic leader in the 113th Congress, placing him as the third highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives.  In this role, Clyburn is one of the Democrats’ primary liaisons to the White House and the leadership liaison to the powerful House Appropriations Committee.

Clyburn, who represents South Carolina’s Sixth Congressional District, rose from humble beginnings in Sumter.  At age 12, he was elected president of his local NAACP youth chapter and was a leading organizer for civil rights demonstrations as a student at South Carolina State College.  He actually met his wife, Emily, while being jailed for his participation in the protests.

He was first elected to Congress in 1993 and chosen as co-president of his freshman class.  In 1999, his peers elected him chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus.  Three years later, he was unanimously elected chair of the House Democratic Caucus.  After Democrats captured the House following the 2006 midterm elections, he became House Majority Whip,making him the highest ranking African-American on Capitol Hill at the time.

He is a champion for rural communities who has supported the development of regional water projects, community health centers and broadband connections.  Clyburn is a staunch supporter of higher education leading the way for increased Pell grants and investing millions in science and math programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities.  In addition, he has encouraged economic development by securing funding for Empowerment Zones; investing in green technology development; and directing 10 percent of Recovery Act funding to communities under the poverty level.

Clyburn and his wife, Emily, have three daughters, two sons-in-law and three grandchildren.

 For more information, please contact Sonja Bennett, assistant vice president of communications and marketing, by phone at (803) 535-5668 or by e-mail at

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