The Christian Methodist Episcopal (CME) Church clergy, in a show of solidarity, gathered at Paine College on the morning of June 29, 2016 in the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel to rally support for the institution that has served the CSRA/Augusta community and the nation for 134 years. Bishop Kenneth W. Carter, Presiding Prelate for the Sixth Episcopal District, and CME Clergy presented a check in the amount of $1,000,000 to Dr. Samuel Sullivan, President, Board Chair Attorney Barbara E. Bouknight, and to Board Chair-elect Attorney Michael Thurmond. The presentation of the over-sized symbolic check drew a deafening round of applause from Paine faculty, staff, students, alumni, trustees and friends.
Bishop Carter, joined by the CME Clergy and members, said, “Any institution that has stood the test of time such as Paine College will face challenges. But in the challenge is where we find strength, we find resolve, where strong men and women are made stronger. The ties that bind the CME Church to Paine are strong and unbreakable.”
Bishop Carter recounted the historical ties that bound Paine and the CME Church. He told of the founding of Paine College and the roles that were played by CME preacher Lucious Holsey and the leaders of the Methodist Episcopal Church South. “Paine College had the first interracial board and proved to the nation that blacks and whites could work together for a higher cause,” said Bishop Carter who also pointed out that Lucious Holsey later served as pastor for Historic Trinity CME Church in Augusta.
“The College of Bishops, led by Senior Bishop Lawrence Reddick along with CME pastors and laity throughout the nation and the world want it known that we stand with Paine College and we are prayerful and confident that this institution will ride this brief storm and will emerge stronger and better,” pronounced Bishop Carter. “To ensure and sustain Paine’s future, the College of Bishops earmarked this gift of $1 million for the College’s endowment,” he said.
President Sullivan thanked the CME Church leadership and members for supporting the institution and its students. “This act of generosity gives our students one more reason to stay the course at Paine College,” said President Sullivan. “This gift will have a lasting impact on the College’s future and will allow us to further stabilize operations of the College,” said Dr. Sullivan.
“Our offices are flooded with calls from parents and students who want to know the implications and the impact of this donation on the College’s future,” said Charles Singley, Director of Admissions. My colleagues and I are grateful to the CME Church for giving on this level. This demonstrates that people genuinely care about Paine and our students.”
Kornelius Taylor, a junior majoring in Business Administration, commented, “I am sincerely moved by this act of support for my Alma Mater. Many of my classmates and I are looking forward to returning this fall and completing our course requirements toward graduating in May 2017 with a degree that is accredited.”
“The tide is turning,” said Attorney Thurmond who graduated from Paine College. “We are witnessing an increase in giving and support even during these challenging times.
The College surpassed its initial goal of charitable giving of $3.1 million and reached $4,129, 642.00 as of June 27th. Supporters have fulfilled $1,084,571.00 toward $1,933,395.00 in total pledges. As of June 7th, the College had 757 new donors since the beginning of the fiscal cycle on July 1, 2015. Overall giving is up 55% over last year.
Recently, the Paine College Board of Trustees along with Dr. Sullivan announced that the College would appeal the decision made by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to lift Paine’s membership. Paine will maintain its current accreditation during the appeal process. Also, the College will qualify for Title IV and Title III funding and will be able to offer federal financial aid to students.
“We look forward to presenting new evidence to SACSCOC that we are moving toward fiscal solvency and sustainability,” said Attorney Bouknight who was acknowledged for steering the historic gift to Paine. The CME Church’s gift will increase Paine’s net assets and strengthen the College’s endowment.
“Alumni and friends have made numerous sacrifices in their efforts to support Paine and, by doing so, have demonstrated trust in the College’s ability to manage their investments responsibly,” said Dr. Sullivan. Alumni giving is up 28% and the percentage of friends who give to the College is up 37%. The faith-based community from which Paine College emerged has rallied unwavering support. Giving from religious organizations is up 113%.
“Now is the time for our constituents to continue its support of Paine College,” urged Dr. Sullivan. We encourage those who have made pledges to fulfill them by contacting the Office of Institutional Advancement at 706.821.8233.
For more information about Paine College, call 706.396.7591 or visit www.paine.edu.
Source: Helene T .Carter, Paine College Office of Communications