By David Gordon, News Editor
University President, Stuart Rabinowitz has been honored by South Carolina's Claflin University with an honorary Doctorate of Laws degree as part of its 140th Founders' Day Convocation.
The honor comes three years after launching a faculty exchange program with the historically African American liberal arts university, which is located in Orangesburg, South Carolina and was founded in 1869.
Rabinowitz was awarded the degree by Claflin President Henry N. Tisdale during a ceremony on November 22 to commemorate the founding of the University.
In June, during Hofstra's Honors Convocation, Tisdale was honored with an honorary doctorate. "Lo and behold, he invited me down there; I agreed to come for a visit and then he let me know subsequently [that he had been voted to receive an honorary degree]," Rabinowitz said.
"I promise you that this was not a pre-arranged exchange of honorary degrees," he added.
The faculty exchange program, according to Rabinowitz, began after he set up a task force to "increase the awareness of diversity on our campus." One of the suggestions was to develop "a close relationship, if we could, with a historically black university." The connection arose through Cliff Jernigan, acting dean of the University's School of Communication, who had previously taught at Claflin.
Both Rabinowitz and Vivian Glover, Claflin's assistant vice president for Communications and Marketing, echo that there are "many similarities between the two institutions." Both Rabinowitz and Tisdale have established Honors colleges, built new facilities, added majors and graduate programs and pursued additional national accreditations.
Another program, which will be established in approximately 2011, according to Glover, is a student exchange. "We're hoping that when the School of Medicine opens that our students will consider that as well," Glover said.
Ultimately, Rabinowitz believes that his honorary degree stands for more than just a personal accolade. "I take this award more as a compliment to Hofstra University and our relationship to them [Claflin] than I do personally," Rabinowitz said.