More than 500 young men and women officially became a part of the Claflin University family during Sunday afternoon’s parting ceremony.
President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale challenged, encouraged and praised the class of 2022.
“We are aware that you had choices, so we thank you for choosing Claflin University,” he said.
“We want you to know that you are now a part of a very special university and a part of the Claflin family,” Tisdale said.
Tisdale said the class has entered the university at an exciting time.
“This year we’ll be celebrating the 150th anniversary of this institution, and you will be the class, 2022, to help us kick it off,” Tisdale said.
“We want you to not only join the Claflin family, we want you to identify, identify as true Panthers and Claflinites who wear the orange and the maroon with pride,” Tisdale said.
Tisdale urged the class to consider the “Claflin conscientiousness,” and to keep their heads in the game.
“From this day forward as you take this transformational journey towards visionary leadership while at Claflin, I want you to have a few things in your mind,” Tisdale said.
“First, in terms of keeping that Claflin conscientiousness going, I want you to keep God, your creator first,” Tisdale said.
“Second, remember the Claflin guiding principles. Third, remember you too can lead, and we believe the world needs visionaries,” Tisdale said.
Lastly, Tisdale told the freshmen to “be mindful of the Claflin confidence.”
In total, the class of 2022 is the largest class to ever enroll at the university.
Tionne Mitchell, a psychology major from Goose Creek, said she’s glad to be at Claflin. She originally didn’t want to go there.
“I came to Claflin because I actually had a change of heart. I wanted to go somewhere else, but when I toured here, it felt like home and it felt like I was already a part of the school,” Mitchell stated. She also wanted an HBCU college experience.
Mitchell said her experience at the parting ceremony capped off her transition from high school to college.
“Walking through the arch, it was pretty fun. It was a wakeup call that I’m really starting like I’m a college student. It was a smooth transition,” she said.
Camryn Singleton, a mass communications major from Stone Mountain, had her eyes on Claflin for a while.
“My mom went to State. I wanted to go to an HBCU. I toured Claflin. It was the only college I toured,” she said.
Singleton has goals for her freshman year of college.
“My goal for my freshman year is to get very involved,” Singleton said. She plans to participate in community service and join clubs, and also keep her grades up.
Malachi Wright, who is from Hopkins, had an emotional experience at the parting ceremony.
He shared a hug with his mother after he walked through Claflin’s Arch of Confidence.
“It’s a good experience but also a sad moment, but it’ll get better,” he said.
Wright said that he has enjoyed his time at Claflin.
“I’ve enjoyed the food, new people, and everybody’s been really nice,” he said. Wright said that the message from the Sunday morning worship service confirmed that he needed to be at Claflin.
Wright said he will make efforts to maintain good grades and make new friends.
Julia Pinckaey, who is also from Hopkins, was enjoying her Claflin experience.
“I feel like I’m a part of the Claflin family,” Pinckaey said. “I can actually say this is my family now.”
Frederick Matthew Uuy, who is currently undecided in his major, chose to enroll at Claflin in a unique way.
Uuy was born in the Philippines and lived there for 15 years before moving to Washington and finishing high school.
Uuy had a large of selection of schools to choose from, as he was accepted into 25 schools, visiting many, but he chose the school that he had never visited.
“I visited 15 of them, and out of that 15, I didn’t feel that moment where I’m like this is my home and I really like this place,” Uuy said.
Uuy said he is looking forward to the academic competition with his fellow students and enjoying college life as an out of state student.
Uuy stated that he received over $1 million in scholarships, and he is on a full academic scholarship at Claflin as a presidential scholar.