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Claflin graduates urged to etransform the worldf (778 hits)

Dr. Eddie S. Glaude Jr. encouraged Claflin Universityfs newest graduates to define themselves using their own standards, not the standards of others.

"Don't play it safe and accept assumptions. I pray that you refuse this temptation," he said Saturday.

Glaude, the chairman of the Department of African American Studies at Princeton University, served as the keynote speaker during Claflin's 147th Commencement Convocation.

He encouraged the graduates to use their academic success as a catalyst to rise above societal norms or assumptions about who or what they should be.

While every individual has been hurt at one point in their lives, they must not leave "personal demons unattended,h he said. Instead, they should face bad experiences head-on as part of the process of becoming agents for good, including reducing the suffering of others.

Glaude noted that while the death of his father could have sent him into a self-destructive tailspin, he chose to turn that around.

"Instead of running to the streets, I ran away to college," he said.

He reminded the graduates that they stand in an old faith rooted in a God that sustains all people through their belief in his principles. One of those principles is that all are created equal and capable of success.

Glaude said Claflin provided fertile ground for self-creation, giving graduates the tools they need to begin changing the world.

"Will you choose to play it safe?" Glaude asked. Or will the graduates risk everything to create the world as it should be?

"These years at Claflin have been your training ground," he said.

"Beauty and brilliance" can come from the most unexpected places, even in a world where prejudice and discrimination still exist, Glaude said.

"You are that beauty. You are that brilliance. Now go out and transform the world," he said.

Clafin President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale thanked Glaude for his words of wisdom and said he is confident that the graduates will resolve "to not just change, but transform the world."

Glaude was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree during the commencement program, which also included the awarding of diplomas to the Golden Class of 1967 as they celebrated their 50th reunion anniversary.

Tisdale pointed out that the 2017 class was among the largest graduating classes in the school's history, with students coming from 17 states, including the District of Columbia, and all regions from within the United States.

Among the graduates aspiring to success are Kareem Heslop and Jenna Washington. Both said Claflin provided a good learning environment.

Washington said, "Claflin instilled in me the sense of community and perseverance through adversity. The smaller classes allowed me to connect more with classmates and my professors ... and the events and close-knit learning forced me out of my comfort zone to interact with people who have become mentees, mentors and life-long friends.

The 21-year-old received a bachelor's degree in mathematics and will be attending Brown University on a full scholarship.

She plans on getting a doctorate degree in applied mathematics and "getting involved in learning communities and programs that increase the presence of persons of color and underrepresented minorities in STEM fields."

Heslop received a bachelorfs degree in biology on Saturday. The 23-year-old has an offer to attend the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston to pursue a doctorate degree in cancer biology, but also has applications pending at Loma Linda University and the University of California, Los Angeles.

He said his degree was his ticket to a higher level of education, with the university helping him develop professionally and personally by building his self-confidence.

"My degree means that I am on my way to a better life, and my family will be better for it. I am elated at the opportunity I got to come to this country all the way from Jamaica to get a quality education," Heslop said.

He added, "Claflin has fostered an environment that caters to motivated students like myself to excel and be equipped to enter the professional world."

Contact the writer: dgleaton@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5534. Follow "Good News with Gleaton" on Twitter at @DionneTandD
Posted By: Elynor Moss
Wednesday, May 17th 2017 at 9:32AM
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