Claflin University graduation ceremony

Claflin University graduation ceremony

Claflin University


Claflin University’s origins began in 1866 when the Baker Biblical Institute was founded in Charleston. In that year, leaders of the Methodist Church organized the South Carolina Mission Conference. With a Christian mission to educate newly emancipated slaves, Claflin University first opened its doors in 1869. As such, it is the oldest historically black college or university in South Carolina.

Contributors to its opening include prominent northern white philanthropists, none more important than Lee Claflin and his son, Massachusetts Governor William Claflin, who provided the initial financing for the purchase of the Orangeburg Female Academy. Dr. Alonzo Webster, who became Claflin’s first president, also played an important role.

Reverend Edward Cooke served as Claflin’s second president from 1872 to 1884, then Reverend Dr. Lewis M. Dunton (1884-1922), Dr. Joseph B. Randolph (1922- 1945), Dr. John J. Seabrook (1945-1955), Dr. Hubert V. Manning (1956-1984), and Reverend Dr. Oscar A. Rogers, Jr. (1984-1994) in succession. Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, a 1965 graduate of Claflin, became the University’s eighth president in 1994.

In 1871, during Dr. Webster’s watch, Claflin University and the Baker Biblical Institute merged, as the latter moved to Orangeburg. Claflin was affiliated with the South Carolina State Agricultural and Mechanical Institute (later to become South Carolina State University) from 1875 to 1896.

Since 1872, Claflin has offered instruction, in arts, sciences, and pre-professional fields. The College Department awarded its first bachelor’s degree in 1882.

Academic Merit

There are schools of Humanities/Social Sciences, Business Administration, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Education, Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College, Leadership Development Office and a very active Student Exchange Program.

Campus Life

Claflin University has six residence halls; each hall contains at least one computer lab and all student rooms are equipped with an Internet connection. All Claflin freshmen are required to live on campus unless living with a parent or other close relative within commuting distance of the university. Campus organizations include:

Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society
Alpha Rho Tau Art Club
English Club
Pi Gamma Mu Social Science Honor Society
Science Club
Social Science Club
Church School
Oxford Club
Student Christian Association
International Student Association
Panther Newspaper
Pan-Hellenic Council
Yearbook Staff
International Student Association
Library Club
National Pre-Alumni Council of the United Negro College Fund

ADDRESS: 400 Magnolia Street, Orangeburg, South Carolina MAP
PHONE: 800-922-1276