ORANGEBURG, S.C. (courtesy claflin.edu) — The recent groundbreaking ceremony for Claflin’s new student center symbolizes the reimagining of the campus landscape and university President Dwaun J. Warmack’s focus on creating innovative programs and providing impactful services that will benefit the campus and Greater Orangeburg communities.
Among those playing a vital role in helping Warmack fulfill his vision is Tijuana Hudson, Claflin’s first-ever female vice president for fiscal affairs and chief financial officer. In addition to managing the University’s finances, Hudson reviews facility designs, secures local, state, and federal funding, and tracks the progress of construction and renovation projects. Since February 2021, Hudson has worked on financing the new Student Center and ensuring that the project will be completed on schedule by 2023.
“I never thought that I would be in higher education. It was never on my radar, but here I am all those years later, and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Hudson said.
Hudson began working at Claflin in July 2010 as associate vice president for fiscal affairs. In July 2012, she was appointed vice president for fiscal affairs. Before Claflin, Hudson served as the chief financial officer at two other Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). “Yes, I have many years of experience in this position, but everything is different at each school. Coming in, I focused on learning about my colleagues, their diverse personalities, and how we can work effectively as a team.”
When Hudson began working at Claflin, she noticed she was younger than her male counterparts. Hudson also realized she needed to learn the culture of the university and earn the respect of her coworkers.
“The most rewarding part of this job is commencement when I see students walk across the stage. It makes this sometimes stressful position and the long hours worth it, when you know you are helping students earn a college degree,” said Hudson. “My role is to make sure the finances are in order so they can concentrate on their academic responsibilities. That’s what is awesome.”
Hudson’s strong belief in the high quality of Claflin’s academic programs led to her sons, William Hudson III and Christopher Hudson, to becoming Claflin graduates. William is a Class of 2015 graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree in politics and justice studies. Christopher earned his bachelor’s degree in 2017 in biochemistry.
Hudson sees herself staying in higher education for the foreseeable future. “As I grow in my role, I have a passion for grooming women and helping them advance. So right now, I am preparing someone for this seat,” Hudson said. “I know that I won’t be here forever. One of my priorities is to ensure that the person after me will continue my commitment the exemplary customer service and financial accountability.”