Only a few minutes into a conversation with President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale and first lady Alice Carson Tisdale, it becomes very clear the husband and wife are passionate about their mission to make Claflin one of the premier undergraduate teaching and research universities in the world.
CHRISTOPHER HUFF/T&D --- Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, right, returned to his alma mater as its eighth president in 1994. First lady Alice Carson Tisdale took the reins as director of Claflin's Honor College, which was renamed The Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College by the university's board of trustees in 1996 in her honor.
And after reviewing the achievements since Dr. Tisdale returned to his alma mater as its eighth president in 1994 and Mrs. Tisdale took the reins as director of Claflin's Honors College - renamed The Alice Carson Tisdale Honors College by the university's trustees in 1996 - it is abundantly clear the Tisdales are turning their passion into action and their vision for the university into reality.
Dr. Tisdale's inaugural pledge to place Claflin among the premier liberal arts institutions in America was achieved in August 2008 when Forbes.com listed the university as the top Historically Black College or University in the country and ranked it in the top 4 percent nationally in its first-ever rankings of "America's Best Colleges."
In addition, U.S. News and World Report's "Guidebook to America's Best Colleges" has included Claflin in its "Top Tier" rankings among comprehensive baccalaureate granting institutions in the South for 14 consecutive years.
In its 2012 ranking, Claflin reached a new plateau. For the first time, it was ranked in the top tier of national liberal arts colleges and universities. Claflin was also ranked No. 1 in alumni giving among HBCUs.
These milestones, along with the ongoing extraordinary transformation of Claflin's historic 50-acre campus with many new buildings and facilities, and the important partnerships the university and its students have forged with a number of charitable, cultural and civic organizations and schools in the Orangeburg area, have led to the Tisdales being named The Times and Democrat's 2013 People of the Year.
* Courageous vision
Now in his 20th year as Claflin's president, Dr. Tisdale said the vision he articulated for the university when he became president was one he and his wife shared, but not one everyone on the campus initially embraced it.
"I had a great experience as a student at Claflin, and I knew it was a great institution with a great legacy," Dr. Tisdale said. "I am a great believer that the success of a university or an industry is predicated on a vision. It is very important that there be a vision and that it be a shared vision and that you have the courage to stick to that vision over time.
"The one person I could always count on in terms of sharing the vision was Alice. We both believe in developing leaders."
He envisioned the university would become recognized as one of the premier liberal arts institutions in the Southeast, a goal which has been realized.
Source: The Times and Democrat | Carol Barker