Claflin University Ranked Best Black College by Forbes

By Marybeth Gasman

This past week, Forbes determined that Claflin University is the best Black college in the country. The magazine bases its assessment on the quality of education offered to students, the number of alumni listed in Who’s Who in America, student debt, graduation rates and the number of faculty who have won nationally competitive awards. Forbes also ranked the Orangeburg, S.C., No. 141 out of 569 undergraduate colleges nationwide.

For those of us who study and watch Black colleges Forbes’ decision was no surprise. Claflin has been on the rise — at a great speed — for the past five years. Under the leadership of President Henry N. Tisdale, the institution has put students first and foremost. From the moment one visits the University’s Web site, the centrality and deep care for students is obvious. The institution boasts a diverse student body, rigorous liberal arts curriculum, and ample research and internship opportunities.

Claflin has also concentrated its attention on fundraising, increasing its alumni giving rates to 37 percent. In fact, the institution is currently expanding its fundraising staff in order to capitalize on all of its academic success. Claflin is investing money in creating an infrastructure that will sustain the institution long into the future.

What is most impressive about Claflin University is its graduation rate African-American students. At 65 percent, the institution’s rate is significantly above the national average for African-Americans (45 percent) and college students in general (56 percent). Something amazing is happening at this small institution and the higher education community at large should take notice.

Claflin is similar to many small, Black colleges and as such, other Black colleges should look very closely at what is working at Claflin in terms of leadership, academics, fundraising and student recruitment. It’s time to let go of strategies of the past and move toward emulating those that result in success.

An associate professor of higher education at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Gasman is the author of Envisioning Black Colleges: A History of the United Negro College Fund (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007) and lead editor of Understanding Minority Serving Institutions (SUNY Press, 2008).


4 responses to “Claflin University Ranked Best Black College by Forbes

  1. I agree. I am a proud alumna and it is amazing to see all the change at Claflin. President Tisdale is smart and most importantly a leader. I wouldn’t be suprised to see Claflin University rank in the at the top other major list.

  2. Claflin University is a dynamic institution and has birthed some of the best and brightest. Claflin University is a small institution where great things happen. Everyone is always talking about how its such a nice experience to attend Morehouse or Spelman, but in my opinion nothing tops Claflin University or the confidence you gain from her “The Claflin Confidence”

  3. You have probably seen the sports oriented commercial that has athletes saying that their best will beat their opponent’s best” and so on. Now that the college ratings game is on according to Forbes, Claflin University is probably saying that my small college will beat your small college. Kudos and congratulations to Claflin University nestled in tiny Orangeburg SC for being named an exemplary college by Forbes Magazine. Many of us who graduated from HBCU’s like Claflin know that these institutions prepare you for leadership in any number of fields of endeavor. This private college has been in the business of educating black students for many years now and should be proud of this national recognition. They have taken a lot of students and given them the competence and the confidence to forge on in this new world order. Give it up for Claflin University!

  4. Fox News article – student kicked out of West Chapel high,2933,584786,00.html for creating a facebook page on school – don’t risk it man use for that.

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