ORANGEBURG, S.C. (courtesy claflin.edu) — Claflin University formally welcomed the Class of 2027 in the 155th Matriculation Day Ceremony held on Sept. 12, 2023.
“What you do from this day forward will define what it means to be elevated and transformed at Claflin University,” said Claflin President Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack. “The mentoring you receive from the juniors and seniors will make a difference in your career. They overcame COVID-19 — they fought through it. They are the reason we opened early. Listen to them. They have a message for you.”
Warmack congratulated the Office of Institutional Advancement, which spearheaded a successful $1 million-dollar alumni giving campaign. The University asked Claflin alumni to donate $1 million for scholarships in one academic year. Warmack was pleased to announce that the alumni had exceeded the goal.
“Class of 2027, our alumni believe in you and are investing in your future,” Warmack said. “Claflin leads all HBCUs in annual alumni giving percentage at more than 40 percent.”
Claflin has also been a Top 10 HBCU (Historically Black College/University) and the No. 1 HBCU in South Carolina for 12 consecutive years.
“This would not happen without our world-class faculty,” he said. “I thank you and our dedicated staff that stay after hours to ensure our students succeed. Truly, it takes a village. Claflin is a village. It’s not rhetoric. We believe in nurturing our students.”
Warmack issued a challenge to the Class of 2027 after announcing the Class of 2026 had a remarkable retention rate of 80 percent – the highest for any class at Claflin in the past 20 years. He asked the Class of 2027 if they could surpass that mark.
“I expect you to reach 95 percent,” he told the class.” I want all of you back here next year.”
Warmack talked about the University’s commitment to academic excellence, and cited the new world-class Student Center as an example of how enhancing the campus culture outside the classroom is also essential. He explained that the facility was the vision of former SGA President Kayla Hodges. She told him “there was nothing for students to do because there were no bowling alleys or movie theaters, and could something be done in Orangeburg?”
“It was her vision and leadership as SGA president that led us to build a new Student Center,” said Warmack. “Class of 2027 — what will be your legacy?”