Claflin University president Dr. Henry N. Tisdale will deliver the keynote address for the school's Sesquicentennial Commencement Convocation Saturday, May 11.
The event will be held at 11 a.m. at South Atlantic Seventh-day Adventist Convention Center, 514 Neeses Highway, Orangeburg.
The choice of President Tisdale is appropriate for the historic commencement convocation since he will be retiring after providing 25 years of leadership to the first historically black college/university in South Carolina.
Soon after becoming the eighth president of Claflin University, he articulated his vision for his alma mater. He wanted Claflin to become recognized as “a premier private liberal arts institution in the Southeast region, an institution of the highest quality that demonstrates its commitment to excellence in carrying out her mission by being and doing the best she can with what she has and by continuously striving to get better.”
Throughout his career, Tisdale has been the recipient of numerous awards and honors in recognition of his leadership. He is the recipient of the Order of the Palmetto, South Carolina’s highest civilian award, and the Higher Education Leadership Foundation Award. In September 2008, the town of Kingstree, in recognition of the extraordinary achievements of their native son, erected a lasting tribute -- six highway markers proclaiming Kingstree, South Carolina, the “Home of Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, the Eighth President of Claflin University.”
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Tisdale’s other recent honors include the 2008 CASE (Council for Advancement and Support of Education) District III Chief Executive Leadership Award, the 2007 Milliken Medal of Quality Award, 2007 BellSouth Honoree, the I. DeQuincey Newman Humanitarian Award, the NAFEO (National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education) Distinguished Alumni Award, Who’s Who Among Black Americans and the NAACP Educator of the Year Award. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from Hofstra University and South Carolina State University.
Over the years, Tisdale also has served on many committees, councils, boards and task forces at both the state and national levels. He is a member of the board of directors of UNCF, American Council on Education Commission on Effective Leadership, UNCF Special Programs Board of Directors, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges Council of Presidents, and the HBCU-ETS Steering Committee.
Additionally, he serves as a member of the board of directors of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry of the United Methodist Church and a member of the University Senate of the United Methodist Church, a member of the Orangeburg County Economic Development Partners and a member of the board of directors of the Orangeburg County Development Commission. He is a member of the Claflin University National Alumni Association, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, the Orangeburg Rotary Club and Trinity United Methodist Church.
Tisdale and his wife, first lady Alice Carson Tisdale, have two children, Danica Camille Tisdale Fisher (Dr. Damany Fisher) and Brandon Keith Tisdale, and two grandchildren, Asa and Anansa Fisher.