Claflin News

Entertainer Bill Cosby to Headline Claflin’s Visionary Leadership Gala

Aug 19, 2014

Bill Cosby – one of America’s most beloved television fathers and whose off-screen comedic routines transcend age, gender and culture – will entertain guests at Claflin University’s 20th Anniversary Visionary Leadership Gala in the state’s capital city of Columbia.

Bill CosbyPerhaps best known for his hit ’80s television series The Cosby Show, about a close-knit, upper-middle class African American family, Cosby continues to captivate generations of fans with his comedy routines, iconic albums and best-selling books.

The 20th Anniversary Visionary Leadership Gala – set for 6 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, September 18, 2014, at the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center – will be held in honor of President Henry N. Tisdale and Mrs. Alice Carson Tisdale for their 20 years of dedicated service to Claflin University, as well as all employees who have provided at least 20 years of service to the institution. Tickets are $200 per person, or $5,000 for sponsorship tables of 10.

The purpose of the gala is to raise $1 million in support of student scholarships and to establish an endowed chair in honor of the Tisdales. For more information or to purchase tickets or sponsorships, contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 803-535-5238 or 803-535-5722, or visit 

Cosby broke television’s racial barrier with I Spy, becoming the first African American to co-star on a television series while winning three consecutive Emmys. He created and produced the Emmy-winning cartoon Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, which began airing in the 1970s and was made into a film in 2004. The show, based on Cosby’s childhood in Philadelphia, was designed to educate and entertain.

The former Navy serviceman’s illustrious list of accomplishments also includes roles on the children’s educational show Electric Company, as well as creating and producing the Emmy award-winning Little Bill, which is based on his best-selling book series.

Cosby’s first television special in 30 years, Far From Finished, premiered on Comedy Central last fall. He continues to craft stories around topics such as marriage and parenting with his singular point of view and renowned sense of humor. In his current best-seller, I Didn’t Ask to Be Born, But I’m Glad I Was, Cosby talks about the Bible, his joy as a grandfather and his first love with charismatic and compelling humor.

The comedian is also known for his commitment to education, believing that the best assurance for a satisfying and rewarding life begins with knowledge. Cosby himself went back to college – long after he had achieved much of his success – to obtain a master’s degree and a doctorate in education.

Cosby has received numerous awards, including the Kennedy Center Honors, the Presidential Medal of Freedom (America’s highest civilian honor), the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor and the Marian Anderson Award. He is married to the former Camille Hanks and they have four daughters, one son and three grandchildren. The family lives in New England.

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