The message was clear for this year’s crop of new and returning Clinton College students – aim higher.
“During your stay in Clinton, I encourage you to stay focused, to stand firm, study hard and stretch beyond your comfort zone,” said Alvin McLamb, acting vice president for academic affairs. “The road at this time from where you are might seem long, but your perseverance will enable you one day to walk across this stage with something no one can take away from you.”
Clinton College leaders, new and returning students and community members gathered Wednesday in the Kenneth Monroe Transformation Center for the college’s 124th fall convocation.
The Transformation Center on Saluda Street is the headquarters of the South Atlantic Episcopal District that includes the Carolinas and is part of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Zion Church.
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Founded in 1894 in Rock Hill, the historically black college was established by the AME Zion Church.
“We are proud to be affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church,” said Lester McCorn, Clinton’s acting president.
McCorn was named acting president earlier this year after the school’s longtime president, Elaine Copeland, was placed on administrative leave. Clinton College officials declined to say why she is not currently serving.
McCorn said the students are coming to Clinton College during a historic time, when aiming higher is crucial.
“You are now in an epic era that will go down in history as the era of Black Lives Matter,” McCorn said. “This is a very important time in the face of ‘alternative facts.’ We’ve come to tell the truth about our people, about our promise and about our future.”
McCorn said systemic racism still exists, despite progress in some areas. He also spoke of the shooting deaths of unarmed black citizens such as Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland and Trayvon Martin.
McCorn stressed to students the importance of having goals and dreams and going after them.
“This is your moment Clinton College, but we’ve got to rise up and meet the moment by aiming higher,” he said.
Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082