FRIDAY, MAY 10, 7 p.M. - baccalaureate SPEAKEr

Reverend ellis white jr.

WHITE-ELLIS-62-240x300Reverend Ellis White Jr., is a native of Lynchburg, South Carolina and was educated in the public schools of Sumter County. Reverend White graduated from the University of South Carolina where he received a BA degree in Political Science. He received a Master’s of Divinity from Erskine Theological Seminary in Due West, South Carolina. Reverend White is an Ordain Elder in the South Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has served as pastor of Bluff Road United Methodist Church in Columbia, South Carolina for sixteen years. He served as pastor of Camden First United Methodist Church in Camden, South Carolina for seven years. He is currently the pastor of Edisto Fork United Methodist Church in Orangeburg, South Carolina.
Reverend White is married to Vanetta Woolfolk White, Nursing Director at Palmetto Health Baptist, and they are the proud parents of two children, Creighton Ellis White and Carmen Renee White.

saturday, May 11, 11 a.m. - commencement speaker

president henry n. tisdale

dr-tisdale-photoA native of Kingstree, South Carolina and magna cum laude graduate of Claflin University, Dr. Henry N. Tisdale returned to his alma mater as its eighth president in 1994.

Widely recognized as an extraordinary and visionary leader, Dr. Tisdale has presided over a period of phenomenal transformation at Claflin University. During more than two decades of leadership, the University has gained state, regional and national recognition for academic excellence, increased enrollment, and enhancements of both its physical infrastructure and research capacity.  

Dr. Tisdale earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Claflin University in 1965 and later attended Temple University, where he earned a master’s in education in mathematics in 1967. He also earned a master’s in mathematics from Dartmouth College in 1975. Three years later, he became the first African-American to receive a doctorate in mathematic from Dartmouth and since that time he has been a recipient of honorary doctorates from South Carolina State University (2004) and Hofstra University (2009). In 2014, Temple University inducted Dr. Tisdale into its “Gallery of Success.”

Dr. Tisdale’s inaugural pledge to place Claflin University among the premier liberal arts institutions in America was realized in August 2008 when Forbes.com listed the university as the top Historically Black College or University (HBCU) in the nation and ranked Claflin in the top four percent nationally in its first-ever rankings of “America’s Best Colleges.”  That recognition was followed by a series of top rankings from nationally reputable organizations and in 2015 Claflin was named HBCU of the Year by HBC Digest and AARP. In between, Claflin also became the top HBCU in annual alumni giving rate at 52 percent, an achievement that also puts the institution among the nation’s top tier colleges and universities. Enrollment has reached 2100, increasing by 120 percent since 1994.

Throughout his career, Tisdale has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors in recognition of his exceptional and transformative leadership. He is the recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian award, and the Higher Education Leadership Foundation Award. In September 2008, the town of Kingstree, in recognition of the extraordinary achievements of their native son, erected a lasting tribute, six highway markers proclaiming Kingstree, South Carolina the “Home of Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, The Eighth President of Claflin University.” Tisdale’s other recent honors include the 2008 CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) District III Chief Executive Leadership Award, the 2007 Milliken Medal of Quality Award, 2007 BellSouth Honoree, the I. DeQuincey Newman Humanitarian Award, the NAFEO (National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education) Distinguished Alumni Award, Who’s Who Among Black Americans and the NAACP Educator of the Year Award. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from Hofstra University and South Carolina State University.

Over the years, Tisdale also has served on many committees, councils, boards and task forces at both the state and national levels. He is a member of the Board of Directors of UNCF, American Council on Education Commission on Effective Leadership, UNCF Special Programs Board of Directors, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges Council of Presidents, and the HBCU-ETS Steering Committee Additionally, he serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of The United Methodist Church and a member of the University Senate of The United Methodist Church, a member of the Orangeburg County Economic Development Partners and a member of the Board of Directors of the Orangeburg County Development Commission. He is a member of the Claflin University National Alumni Association, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Orangeburg Rotary Club and Trinity United Methodist Church.

Tisdale and his wife, First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale, have two children, Danica Camille Tisdale Fisher (Dr. Damany Fisher) and Brandon Keith Tisdale, and two grandchildren, Asa and Anansa Fisher.

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