First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale Praised During Last Scholarship Tea as First Lady

Apr 08, 2019
For more than a decade, during Women's History Month, women and men from all over the state have traveled to Claflin University to attend the First Lady's Hats and Gloves Scholarship Tea. But, the 13th annual tea on Tuesday, March 19, had special significance, as First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale made her "bittersweet farewell" to all the guests. Tisdale and her husband, Claflin President Henry N. Tisdale, announced their plans to retire after 25 years of service and visionary leadership, effective June 30, 2019. Dr. Tisdale serves as the University's eighth president and Mrs. Tisdale is director of Claflin's Honors College, which bears her name.
  
The Tullis Arena of the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Wellness Complex was filled with nearly 600 guests mostly women in stylish dresses and accessories. They wore hats in all shapes, sizes and colors, and the men came in their nicest suits. The tables were dressed in soft pink tablecloths with black and white accented chairs surrounding each one. Each table was adorned with pink and white cakes with edible flowers that sat atop event-fitting hatboxes as centerpieces.

"A room full of sisters like jewels in a crown! Vanilla, cinnamon and dark chocolate brown," Tisdale said at the podium. Her voice echoed over the microphone as she recited the words of "A Room Full of Sisters," a poem by writer, orator and educator Mona Lake Jones.

As Tisdale spoke to the crowd, she prayed that the event would continue for years to come after her departure from the university.
  
"I want to express my deep thanks and appreciation for the love and friendship you continually extended to me over these past 25 years. I promise you, I will not disappear," Tisdale said. "I will see you around often."

Tisdale reassured the guests that she would continue to "live her life like it's golden," a nod to the night's theme song, "Golden," by singer and songwriter Jill Scott.

"I plan to continue to live my golden life and do many things, one of which is to lend my voice to issues affecting women and children," she said. "I plan to stand beside our nine honorees this evening and walk in their paths for better healthcare, first class services for women, and benefits for women and children."


The nine African-American women currently serving in the SC House of Representatives were the night's Visionary Leadership Award honorees. Wendy C. Brawley (D-District 70), Gilda Cobb-Hunter (D-District 66), Chandra E. Dillard (D-District 23), Rosalyn D. Henderson-Myers (D-District 31), Patricia Moore Henegan (D-District 54), Annie E. McDaniel (D-District 41), Anne Parks (D-District 12), Leola C. Robinson (D-District 25), and Krystle N. Simmons (D-District 117) all made their way to the stage to be recognized . The scholarship tea committee presented each honoree with a personalized teapot as a gift.
  
"And here is the powerhouse," Tisdale said about the women. "Living life and valuing life."

Representative Brawley gave thanks on behalf of her colleagues. "This is wonderful, and what you're doing really makes a difference," she said.
  
Three Claflin University students - Latyra Capers, a freshman, biology student from Summerville, SC; Esther Njeri, a junior, biology student from Radcliff, KY; and Tani'ja Wills, a sophomore, biology student from Roanoke Rapids, NC - received $2,500 scholarships during the event and were presented laptops from Mrs. Emma Harvin, of One Source Office Products.
  
The First Lady's Hats and Gloves Scholarship Tea committee made a special presentation to the First lady during the event, reading letters from former scholarship recipients and presenting Tisdale with a bouquet of pink roses and a gift. The committee also presented a check to President Tisdale and Mrs. Tisdale for $25,000 to go towards scholarships for students at Claflin University.
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