Founded in 1869, Claflin is the oldest historically black college or university in South Carolina. The school's origins can be traced to 1866, when leaders of the Methodist Church in Charleston organized the South Carolina Mission Conference, which played a crucial role in founding the college. The school is named for Boston, Mass., philanthropist Lee Claflin and his son, Massachusetts Gov. William Claflin, who provided initial financing to purchase the Orangeburg Female Academy, future site of the university. Since its founding, Claflin has long been recognized for the rich legacy of its graduates' achievements in medicine, law, education and dozens of other professions.