After more than a year of virtual activities and events due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Claflin University will host its 2021 Spring Commencement Convocation on Saturday, April 24, at 9:30 a.m. at the Orangeburg County Fairgrounds. This year’s commencement will be a ticketed event and only invited guests can attend. However, the program can be seen live on the University’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ClaflinUniversity1869.
Claflin University hosted virtual spring and fall commencement convocations for the Class of 2020 during the height of the pandemic. Graduates of both classes have been invited to participate in this year’s in-person ceremony with the spring Class of 2021.
“The decision to hold an in-person commencement convocation was influenced by the recent development of three vaccines with high efficacy rates and the trend of lower COVID-19 infections in the state,” said Dr. Dwaun J. Warmack, president of Claflin University. “The Commencement Committee considered these factors and recommended to hold the Commencement Convocation at the Orangeburg County Fairgrounds, which has adequate space for social distancing. While participation is completely voluntary, the University feels a strong sense of obligation to offer the longstanding tradition of the commencement ceremony.
I look forward to handing students their degrees and celebrating this momentous occasion,” Dr. Warmack said.
More than 300 candidates of the Class of 2021 will receive bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University’s transformative academic programs. Graduates from the Class of 2020 received their degrees last year. However, they will participate in the “ceremonial march” across the stage at this year’s commencement.
The Class of 2021 also includes the 100th graduate from Claflin’s RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program, which launched in August 2016. The nursing department’s largest class of 40 students, received their degrees at the fall 2020 ceremony. Claflin’s master’s degree in nursing program will begin this fall.
Claflin will award an honorary doctorate to businesswoman and philanthropist, Ms. Anita G. Zucker, chair and chief executive officer of The InterTech Group, Inc. (TIG), a privately held company founded by Zucker and her former husband, Jerry Zucker (OBM). One of the largest private companies in the USA, TIG and its affiliates operate in a diverse array of industries, from aerospace and specialty chemicals to real estate and entertainment. In addition to its wholly owned entities, TIG and its affiliates are substantial investors in many public companies and retain a diverse portfolio of equity, debt, and real estate holdings.
“The commencement ceremony is a memorable experience for our graduates, their families and friends, and the campus community,” Warmack said. “These students persevered despite unique and unimaginable challenges due to the coronavirus. We look forward to celebrating their achievements while maintaining the health and safety of our participants and guests.”
Claflin’s annual Baccalaureate Service will be a virtual presentation on Friday, April 23,
at 7 p.m., that will be available on the University’s Facebook page. Rev. Dr. Benjamin D. Snoddy, a 1969 graduate, and pastor at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, in Spartanburg, S.C., will be the guest speaker. Snoddy is also a member of the Claflin University Hall of Fame. Snoddy is an assistant dean of the National Baptist Congress of Christian Education, which is an affiliate of the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. The ceremony will feature the presentation of 37 members of the Golden Class of 1971 and 41 graduates from the Golden Class of 1970. Golden Class members are alumni who are celebrating their 50th Anniversary as Claflin graduates. The Golden Class of 1970 was not honored last year due to the pandemic.