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The Rev. Dr. Whittaker V. Middleton

The Rev. Dr. Whittaker V. Middleton, vice president for institutional advancement, was recognized for 45 years of service to Claflin University.

Claflin University hosted its 25th annual Recognition, Rewards and Retirement Luncheon on May 8.

The event, themed "25 Years of Shining Superstars," honored the faculty and staff who served the university during the 2018-19 academic year.

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President Henry N. Tisdale had a vision to host a rewards luncheon when he became Claflin's eighth president and has seen its growth over the last 25 years. During the silver anniversary of the luncheon, Tisdale and First Lady Alice Carson Tisdale were celebrated in a different way, as they received their retiree plaques for their 25 years of leadership. Last spring, Tisdale announced his retirement from the university effective June 30.

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The luncheon not only recognized the Tisdales for their 25 years of service, but those who have been employed for five to 45-year increments. This year, the employee with the highest years of service was the Rev. Dr. Whittaker V. Middleton, vice president for institutional advancement, who was recognized for 45 years of service. The university also recognized other retirees, including Carlene Punter, resident life coordinator (13 years of service), and Barbara Raysor, administrative assistant (39 years of service).

George Johnson Jr., assistant vice president of communications and marketing, was selected as Administrative Employee of the Year; Leah Cromer, senior employee relations generalist, was selected as Professional Employee of the Year; Lynn Lee-Williams was selected as Administrative Support Employee of the Year; and Leah Cromer also received the Exemplary Customer Service award. Each winner received a financial gift and a certificate of appreciation.

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The winner of each award was selected through evaluation of the employee's actions that are consistent with Claflin University's Guiding Principles: Commitment to Excellence, Commitment to Valuing People, Commitment to Being Student Centered, Commitment to Exemplary Educational Programs, and Commitment to Fiscal Accountability.

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Faculty members were also honored for their leadership and instruction in the classroom. Dr. Ramaier Sriram, an associate professor of management information systems, received The United Methodist Exemplary Teach Award; and Dr. Deidra Morrison, assistant professor of computer science, received The South Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities Excellence in Teaching Award.

Two other faculty members received honors at the sesquicentennial Commencement Convocation on May 11. The William and Annette Johnson Endowed Faculty Award for Innovative Scientific Research was presented to Dr. Jie Ling, an assistant professor of chemistry. Dr. Abdullah Khan, associate professor of economics, received the James E. Hunter Excellence in Teaching Award for his outstanding performance in teaching and educational development.

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