The Campaign for Claflin University has been a tremendous success so far – thanks, in part, to such contributors as Sodexo, which has become the largest single donor in the University’s history.
Sodexo – the corporation that provides integrated food and facilities management services for Claflin – has contributed $4.35 million to its capital campaign.
“We greatly appreciate the partnership with Sodexo and its investment in the future of the University,” Claflin President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale said. “This commitment moves us closer to achieving the goal of our capital campaign. This gift strengthens our resolve to continue the campaign, because our students and Claflin deserve our best.”
Sodexo’s historic contribution will support student scholarships, enhance facilities, and promote health and wellness on campus.
“Sodexo is committed to providing first-class quality of life services, and we believe in supporting our communities through the services we provide and through sharing our resources,” said Jim Jenkins, senior vice president for the Education Division at Sodexo. “We are inspired by Claflin’s mission to create visionary leaders, to solve critical global issues and to improve the quality of life for all people.”
To date, Claflin has raised more than $70 million of its $96.4 million goal. With those funds, Claflin has brought wireless connectivity to the entire campus, built a chapel and research center, completely renovated the W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center – one of its most popular community venues – and nearly doubled its endowment.
“The gift announcement Sodexo has made makes a statement about their devotion to shaping the futures of young people, and it sends a resounding message that all we have to do is simply imagine the possibilities and spring into action to make dreams become a reality,” said James Bennett, a member of the Claflin University Board of Trustees and capital campaign chairman.
“With Sodexo’s gift, this brings our campaign total to an unprecedented $71 million. This achievement is more than double the amount Claflin raised in its last capital campaign. This proves that visionaries live and work here.”
The campaign is divided into three major funding areas: $13.9 million to strengthen academic programs, $41 million to enhance campus facilities and $41.5 million to build the University’s endowment.
To strengthen academic programs, the campaign has, so far, generated millions of dollars for faculty and student research, faculty development, and laboratory and instructional equipment. That money also provided such technological enhancements as the conversion of nearly 80 percent of Claflin’s classrooms into smart classrooms and providing total wireless connectivity for the entire University campus.
In addition, Claflin University constructed the James and Dorothy Z. Elmore Chapel, which has restored Claflin’s history of fostering spirituality on the campus by providing a place for worship, celebration and other religious life programs. And the University’s new Molecular Science Research Center is designated a Core Research Center by the South Carolina Research Authority.
The W.V. Middleton Fine Arts Center Moss Auditorium has also been completely renovated, and includes enhanced lighting and sound capabilities. With the nearly doubled University endowment comes an increase in scholarships, professorships in academic areas including biotechnology and religion and philosophy, and a faculty award for innovative research.
While the strides in The Campaign for Claflin University have been great, it isn’t over. The University still has plans for a new Science and Technology Center and a Health and Wellness Center. It also needs to acquire more land for campus expansion.
“When a campaign goes on longer than three years, as ours has, people tend to get a little weary,” said the Rev. Whittaker Middleton, vice president for Institutional Advancement at Claflin. “But when you get momentum from a gift like Sodexo’s, it’s like you’re in a long distance race and somebody brings you a bucket of water. It refreshes you, and makes you believe that you can run on and finish up.
“To get to that point, it makes us all believe that we can reach our $96.4 million capital campaign goal.”