After 125 Years of Service, St. Paulís College Shutting Down June 30 (4685 hits)
by Denise B. Hawkins
Saint Paulís College, the beleaguered HBCU in Lawrenceville, Va., will cease operation on June 30, according to its board of trustees.
A spokesperson for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) confirmed that Belle S. Wheelan, president of the regional accrediting body, had received a May 28, letter from the chairman of the board of trustees at Saint Paulís College notifying her of the decision to close the 125-year-old institution. Efforts to reach Board Chairman Oliver W. Spencer Jr., were unsuccessful.
In recent years, SACS cited Saint Paulís for a series of deficiencies and violations, among them the lack of financial stability and too many faculty without terminal degrees. The college was eventually stripped of its accreditation. A federal judge later issued a preliminary injunction, allowing the college to keep its accreditation on a probationary basis so that Saint Paulís could continue to enroll students and hold classes. It opened last fall with about 111 students.
During a two-year probation, the private college struggled, but couldnít fix what accreditors found lacking at the institution that largely serves low-income, first-generation students. Saint Paulís struggled to rebound. Student enrollment continued to tumble, slipping below 100 and the money it raised from gifts, alumni donations, and desperate appeals, never seemed to be enough for the fledgling college to thrive.
Late last year, a merger-acquisition plan with Saint Augustineís University in Raleigh, N.C., seemed to be the lifeline Saint Paulís College needed. But in May, Saint Augustineís dashed those plans, saying that acquiring the college was ďnot a fiscally responsible option.Ē The proposal, which some in the Black college community called innovative and historic, would have created ďthe Saint Paulís College campus of Saint Augustineís University on the Saint Paulís College,Ē said Millard ďPeteĒ Stith, Saint Paulís vice president for Institutional Advancement. Stith said the two institutions had also discussed making Saint Paulís ďan extension of Saint Augustineís University, with academic programs accredited as Saint Augustineís University programs and operations.Ē
The acquisition would have also meant assuming Saint Paulís debts which were estimated at between $4 million-$5 million dollars, Stith told Diverse. Although the St. Augustineís decided not to pursue the acquisition, it did agree to hear an appeal on May 31, from Saint Paulís trustees hoping to reverse the decision. Saint Paulís College and Saint Augustineís are two of three Historically Black Colleges and Universities founded by the Episcopal Church. The other is Voorhees College in Denmark, S.C.
Until now, with each setback or bad turn, Saint Paulís College seemed to dodge demise. A recent message and urgent appeal on the collegeís website from national alumni President Hardi Jones was hopeful, but late: ďThe administration and staff press forward with an operating plan to increase enrollment, serve our beloved students, reduce debt, and raise gifts and grants that will contribute to the successful outcome of a balanced budget, extended accreditation and a continuum of mission. These outcomes, while challenging, have been accomplished before, but only with your help did we succeed.Ē
In the coming weeks, the focus at Saint Paulís will be the business of shuttering the rural 184-acre campus. According to documents obtained by Diverse, those efforts will include notifying teen parents enrolled in the Collegeís Single Parent Support System Program that they will no longer be able live on campus or pursue a degree there. Close-out plans will also mean satisfying faculty and staff contracts, and transferring students to neighboring Virginia institutions, such as Norfolk State University and Virginia Union, selling off more than $30 million in property and buildings, and settling debts.
So sorry to hear this. They have educated many Black students during their existence.
Monday, June 3rd 2013 at 2:51PM
What I'm most afraid of as more HBCU's close watch college entrance requirements change toward certain folks.
Monday, June 3rd 2013 at 6:39PM
WAKE UP BLACK AMERICA! Don't you know that our HBCU's are the leading employment centers around the nation for African Americans through out the SOUTH. They provide jobs for our parents, relatives and friends and are a major source of pension plans and retirement plans. This is what happens when you don't understand how your the Black economy works. Look at how many jobs we will loose because of not supporting St. Paul's College. This is why we have the highest unemployment rate in the country and our young sons and daughters keep going to jail. We still do not support one another. I don't see any white colleges closing their doors. You know why because they know how to make their economy work in their community. African Americans are blessed with a TRILLION DOLLAR ECONOMY and don't know how to make it work for our own prosperity. Every year we waste BILLIONS on cell phones, footwear, cars, alcohol and entertainment. However, when it comes to our supporting our own institutions and building an economic base we never have the money! If we really want to and decide to pull together we can save St. Paul Tomorrow. This is why our HBCU's graduates go to our schools. USE YOUR BUSINESS AND MARKETING SKILLS AND SAVE THIS COLLEGE THIS IS HOW YOU CREATE OPPORTUNITY AND JOBS FOR YOURSELVES.
I am ready willing and able to help are you. Go to my web site we can get the ball rolling WWW.GLOBALFINET.COM or text me at Banks@globalfinet.com. PEACE Carlton Banks
Tuesday, June 4th 2013 at 11:10AM
This is an opportunity to establish a new HBCU.
Saturday, June 8th 2013 at 1:31PM