Claflin University’s 20th Presidential Scholarship Gala was a night to remember, particularly for the six individuals honored by the University for their dedication and service to Claflin and their community.
In addition to the induction of the five newest members into Claflin’s esteemed Hall of Fame, the University recognized its first-ever Young Alumnus Visionary Award recipient, Hayward Renel Jean, a 2004 Claflin graduate and principal of Mellichamp Elementary School in Orangeburg.
Jean, a native of Langley and the first Mr. Claflin University, helped to lead Mellichamp from an academic rating of an “F” to an “A” in one year, as determined by South Carolina’s standardized testing results. The Times and Democrat previously named him one of Orangeburg’s Top Ten citizens who have made a difference in the community.
The 2013 Hall of Fame inductees are:
Rose Perry Anderson: Anderson received an associate’s and bachelor’s degrees in education from New York University and a master’s degree from Teachers College in New York City. She dedicated 34 years of service to the New York City Department of Education as an elementary school teacher. During her career, she served as a lead teacher and teacher trainer for fourth grade, and provided professional workshops and staff development seminars for teachers, principals, parents, union leaders, district leaders and district superintendents.
Anderson is the recipient of the United Federation of Teachers Award, the American Federation of Teachers Award, the Superintendent of District 7 Award, the New York Alumni Chapter of Claflin University Award, the Orangeburg South Carolina Alumni Chapter of Claflin Award, the Pace University Award and the Institute of Religion Award, among others. She is an honorary member of the New York Alumni Chapter of Claflin University and has served as the chapter’s treasurer since 2007. She has three children and five grandchildren.
Spencer R. Anderson: After graduating from Clearview High School in Easley in 1963, Anderson enlisted in the United States Air Force, where he served for 30 years working in supply, computer maintenance, satellite communications, logistics and as chief electronics branch enlisted manager. During his military career, he was assigned to 15 different locations worldwide, and earned two Air Force Achievement Medals, six Air Force Commendation Medals, four Air Force Meritorious Service Medals, a Humanitarian Service Medal, and three Outstanding Unit Awards.
Anderson graduated magna cum laude from Claflin University in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Organizational Management. A life member of the Claflin University International Alumni Association, he currently serves as financial secretary of the Orangeburg County Chapter of CUIAA and chairman of the Homecoming Committee. He is married to the Reverend Minnie Anderson of Orangeburg, and they have three children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Alice M. Behlin: Behlin a 1976 magna cum laude graduate of Claflin University with a bachelor’s degree in education. She earned a Master of Education degree and a Sixth Year Certificate from the University of South Carolina. While at Claflin, Ms. Behlin served as Student Government Association president and secretary.
She has worked in Hampton District One for 38 years as a classroom teacher and guidance counselor, and is currently a counselor at Varnville Elementary School, and director of guidance for the district. Her honors include the Claflin University International Alumni Association Alumnus Distinguished Service Award, the Claflin Presidential Citation and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated Chapter Soror of the Year awards. Behlin has served as the assistant secretary and secretary of the Claflin University International Alumni Association; chairs the Recruitment Committee of Claflin’s Board of Visitors; and is a member of both the Steering Committee for the Capital Campaign and the Alumni Repositioning Task Force.
Emma L. Flagler Cooper: Cooper earned a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Claflin University in 1954 and a master’s degree in education from South Carolina State College. She did further studies at the University of Alabama, the University of South Carolina and Clemson University. Cooper served the Williamsburg County School System for 34 years as a classroom teacher, Title One instructional coordinator and principal of W.M. Anderson Primary School. She received the professional honor as an outstanding principal for three consecutive years from the District 22 Parent-Teacher Association.
In addition to her membership in the Claflin University Alumni Association, Cooper is a member of the Retired Education Association, the NAACP, the National Council of Negro Women and Delta Tau Zeta Chapter of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Inc. She serves on the Trustee Board at her childhood church, Bethel United Methodist Church in Kingstree, and as secretary of the United Methodist Women’s Organization. She is the wife of the late Bookertee W. Cooper, and she has two children and two grandchildren.
Robert Miller: Miller received a bachelor’s degree from Claflin University in 1966 and was a member of Claflin’s last football team. He served in the United States Army for two years, which included a 13-month tour in South Korea, and began his career in science and medicine as an environmental science technician at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Md., where he was instrumental in providing a germ-free environment for cancer research. Miller was later employed by Dow Chemical Company in Detroit, where he became one of the first black pharmaceutical sales representatives and the first African-American to be named a manager in the company’s Health and Consumer Products Division. During his time as a Dow manager, he recruited students pursuing pharmacy and business degrees at several HBCUs. He retired in 2010 after serving for 38 years in science and medicine.
A life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity Inc. and the Claflin University International Alumni Association, he currently serves as president of the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Alumni Chapter, which, under his leadership, has won two consecutive Chapter of the Year awards. In 2010, he became chairman of the chapter’s area Capital Campaign, which has raised more than $300,000 for the Capital Campaign. He lives in Kettering, Md., and has two children and four grandchildren.
The portraits and biographies of Claflin University’s Hall of Fame members are on display in Claflin’s historic Tingley Memorial Hall.