[/if ImageKingstree] Hundreds of alumni, friends and family attended the unveiling of a total of six highway markers celebrating Dr. Henry N. Tisdale, the eighth president of Claflin University.
As a former resident of Kingstree, Dr. Tisdale attended Tomlinson High School and would later graduate valedictorian from St. Mark High School. Tisdale is a magna cum laude graduate of Claflin who earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics.
He received his Master’s of Education in Mathematics at Temple University and a Master’s of Arts in Mathematics in 1967 and a Master’s of Arts in Mathematics in 1975 from Dartmouth College. Three years later Dr. Tisdale received a Doctorate of Philosophy in Mathematics from Dartmouth, the first black to receive a PhD in Mathematics from the college.
The Williamsburg County Chapter of the Claflin University International Alumni Association, Mayor Ricky Burrows, Town Manager Roosevelt Henegan, Jr., and other town, community and state leaders petitioned the South Carolina Department of Transportation to gain permission to erect the signs. According to the University’s bio,
Dr. Tisdale was appointed the eighth president of Claflin in June 1994, and his achievements have been nothing short of remarkable. He has led Claflin’s resurgence to prominence among the nation’s premier institutions of higher education.
Dr. Tisdale was humbled as he expressed his gratitude over the efforts of those who were involved in the process. He thanked everyone from Senator Yancey McGill and Representative Joseph Jefferson, who he considered “true friends” to the W.C. Alumni Chapter of Claflin University, the Town of Kingstree and most importantly, the people at home for their laflin, unconditional support.
He also thanked God for his family and the many blessings he has received. After the dedication, visitors relocated to Kingstree Senior High School. The road to the school was laced with signs honoring the man who made Claflin what it is today. Once inside, dignitaries and past graduates were on the list of speakers that saluted Dr. Tisdale and his family.
First to speak was Kingstree resident Sonja Burgess. Burgess was in the first class to graduate under Dr. Tisdale’s tenure. She reiterated the doctor’s accomplishments and added that it is the wish that Williamsburg County and all who pass through it will know how proud we are to have a man with such a great vision.
On behalf of Congressman Jim Clyburn who was in Washington and could not attend, a representative conveyed a letter that said, in part “It is a bold recognition that this native son has made his hometown so very proud. I commend Dr. Tisdale for his remarkable career. He has demonstrated an innate ability to lead and a strong commitment to serve.” Congressman Clyburn went on to applaud Tisdale for his ability to act as a role model for our youth. Afterward, the crowd enjoyed a meal and fellowship.
Claflin, which is located in Orangeburg, is currently the top-ranked historically black college or university in the nation, a distinction bestowed by Forbes Magazine and is one of the top three universities or colleges, both public and private, in the State of South Carolina.