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Oct 19, 2013 10:23 AM EDT

Claflin University Receives $4.3 million Donation From Sodexo; Largest In 150-Year History

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Claflin University in Orangeburg has received the largest donation in its 150-year history. Sodexo Corporation has made a gift of $4.3 million.

Jim Jenkins, senior vice president of Sodexo's Education Division, said that the reason the corporation management decided to make the donation to the university was its vision "to solve critical global issues and to improve the quality of life for all people," matched the corporation's global mission.

"We see the vision and we see the dream, and we're all about investing in the communities where we work," Jenkins told The Tandd.

 "This gift has and will continue to make an actual difference in the lives of our students, our faculty and staff as well - not to mention the community here in Orangeburg as well and all the communities that we serve by educating their sons and daughters," said Paul Fant, chairman of Claflin's Board of Trustees.

Claflin President Henry Tisdale said Sodexo's donation will help fund a new chapel- the James and Dorothy Z. Elmore Chapel, a Molecular Science and Research Center, installation of smart classrooms and wireless Internet.

The University, founded in 1869, is the oldest historically black college or university in the state of South Carolina. It was established after the American Civil War in 1869 by Methodist missionaries from Massachusetts to provide education to freedmen. The university is named after two prominent Methodist churchmen, the Massachusetts governor William Claflin and his father, the Boston philanthropist Lee Claflin. They were responsible for providing a large portion of the funds to start the campus.

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