Paine College Leadership Presents at the CSRA Leaders Luncheon

Posted by painewebmaster | 09/6/2016 11:50 AM

Paine College’s CSRA Luncheon was hosted by William C. Morris, III today, September 6, 2016 at the Augusta Marriott. Paine College President, Samuel Sullivan, and Chair-Elect of the Paine College Board of Trustees, Michael Thurmond presented the following TALKING POINTS:

1. In 1882 Paine Institute was founded in Augusta by leadership of the Methodist Episcopal Church South (now the United Methodist Church) and Colored Methodist Episcopal Church (now the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church). This collaboration between white and black religious denominations was an unprecedented example of racial cooperation in the post- Civil War South.

2. When Paine’s former president resigned in September 2014, the College faced a $10 million budget shortfall. Under the leadership of Samuel Sullivan, Interim President (at that time), the College budget was cut significantly in Fiscal Year 2015, including elimination of the football program and significant changes in fiscal oversight and accountability. The Board of Trustees unanimously adopted the balanced Fiscal Year 2017 budget presented by President Sullivan. 

3. In April 2016, the Paine College Board of Trustees elected new leadership, including Attorney Barbara Bouknight, Chair, and Attorney Michael Thurmond, Chair-Elect. As the governing authority of the college, the trustees acknowledged and accepted full responsibility for correcting the fiscal and managerial shortcomings that have plagued the college in recent years.

4. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) has recognized the significant progress made by Paine College. In 2014, Paine was out of compliance with ten (10) standards of the Principals of Accreditation. After nearly two years of work, Paine has been judged compliant with seven (7) of those ten (10) standards. The three remaining sanctions involve questions concerning financial stability and sustainability, only. The Colleges' academics are strong.  

5. There is no question that Paine and other historically black and small liberal arts colleges experienced severe financial challenges in recent years.  A significant part of the problem can be attributed to the U.S. Department of Education’s decision to tighten credit requirements for the Parent PLUS loan program. Between 2011 and 2013, the number of Parent PLUS loan recipients declined by 45 percent at HBCU’s. The total loss in funding was approximately $166 million. The impact on Paine was particularly severe as nearly 95% of Paine’s students qualified for financial aid, compared to 45% at all HBCUs. Between 2011 and 2013, Paine experienced a 66% decline in the number of borrowers from 163 to 56 which resulted in a 73% percent decline in the loan amount approved -- $1,547,161 to $422,909 -- a decline of $1,124,252.

6. Paine ended FY 2016 with a net balance of $634,132

7. Paine’s liabilities declined from $18,460,607 in FY 2015 to $17,684,183 in FY 2016

8. Paine’s private gifts increased from $2.4 million in FY2014 to $3.1 million in FY 2015 to $4.2 million in FY 2016

9. Paine’s total net assets increased from -$2,408,411 in FY 2014 to -$1,303,948 in FY 2015 to $2,423,824 in FY 2016.

10. SACSCOC has stated on several occasions that despite the financial challenges, the College’s academic program remains strong.

11. The Uniqueness of Paine College - As an HBCU, Paine College plays a unique role in the regional higher education eco-system. We offer small classes and personal attention in an academic environment that is primarily African-American. Staff, faculty and administrators serve as role models and mentors and, together with students, create an environment that supports both high achievers and those with potential who may not have demonstrated the strongest academics in high school. 

The history of Paine College is a wellspring which influences our ability to help address some of the key social and racial issues facing our community and country at this specific time. Our history provides us with a deep pool of experience and relationships we can leverage to help address the specific challenges and stresses of our increasingly diverse community and nation.

12.  Strong Academic Programs


- Biology and Pre-Professional Sciences
- Business
- Media Sciences
- Cyber Security - Paine is part of a national collaboration funded by the U.S. Department of Energy and in partnership with 13 HBCU’s and two Department of Energy Lab.  The program focuses on helping to meet the nation’s growing demand for cyber security professionals. Summer programs on cyber security are available with stipends, free tuition, and free room and board. This program is ideal for partnership with Fort Gordon – Augusta as the epicenter of cyber security in the country; helping to ensure diversity in the field of cyber security.


13. Economic impact - With 140 employees and a $15 million annual economic impact, Paine College plays an important role in the region’s economy and social fabric.

Paine College Cancels Classes Due to Flood Watch

Posted by painewebmaster | 09/1/2016 11:53 AM

Paine College officials have canceled all classes and events starting today, Thursday, September 1st after the National Weather Service issued a flood watch in effect from September 2nd from 6:00 AM until September 3rd at 6:00 PM. Classes will resume on Tuesday, September 6th. In the case of emergency, students, staff, and faculty can call (706) 821-8235 or (706) 821-8200.

Paine College Professor Featured in National Magazine

Posted by painewebmaster | 08/29/2016 04:12 AM

Dr. Sardar Yousufzai, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, Physics & Environmental Sciences and the Minority Affairs Chairperson of the Savannah River Section of the American Chemical Society is featured in the August 16 issue of the Diverse: Issues In Higher Education magazine. 

Dr. Yousufzai who this summer celebrated the ten years anniversary of conducting his free “Basics Concepts of Chemistry”  class reflects on his educational background and discusses why he started the program and his goal of teaching Chemistry to diverse students. 

Diverse: Issues In Higher Education is a Virginia-based magazine that has an estimated print and digital readership of over 100,000 people.

The Paine College community congratulates, Dr. Yousufzai for demonstrating excellence in STEM education.  To view the issue featuring Dr. Yousufzai, visit the magazine’s website.

Paine College will host Fall Convocation

Posted by painewebmaster | 08/23/2016 04:26 AM

Paine College will host Fall Convocation on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. in the Gilbert-Lambuth Memorial Chapel. Dr. Samuel Sullivan, President, will serve as the keynote speaker for the occasion. The event will welcome new and returning students, faculty, staff, trustees, alumni and friends to the Paine College Community.  This event is open to the public.

For more information, please contact the Office of Communications and Marketing at 706.396.7591 or via email:

Paine College Holds First Campus Pride Clean Up Day

Posted by painewebmaster | 08/19/2016 06:51 AM

Paine College students, faculty, and staff unite for the first Paine College Campus Pride Day of service, sponsored by the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church & Faith-based Community Saturday, August 20, from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm.

During this day of service, hundreds of volunteers from the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church and United Methodist Churches along with members of the Paine College community will work to improve the appearance of the Paine College grounds and make improvements to dormitories and the student center. The goals of this campus clean-up day are to clean up our public areas, foster a sense of stewardship for the campus and build community-wide connections.

Community members are invited to volunteer. All volunteers will gather at the Peters Campus Center on the Paine College Campus at 8:00 AM to complete volunteer forms and be assigned to a team captain. Paine College will provide cleaning supplies.

Community members can also take advantage of this opportunity to register to participate in future campus clean up events. Volunteers can register at

Accrediting Commission Grants Extension to Paine College to Make Appeal

Posted by painewebmaster | 08/3/2016 13:29 PM

Dr. Samuel Sullivan, President of Paine College, announced that the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) granted a 30-day extension to the College to appeal the decision of the SACSCOC Board to remove Paine from membership.
Paine College Administration and members of the Board of Trustees will appear before the SACSCOC Appeals Committee on September 12 or 13, 2016. During the appeal process, Paine College remains accredited.
College officials will continue to keep the public informed throughout the appeal process.  Frequently asked questions and responses regarding Paine College’s accreditation and appeal status can be found at
For more information about Paine College, contact the Office of Communications and Marketing at 706.821.8233, or email:


Michael Thurmond, Paine College Alumnus and Chair-Elect of the Paine College Board of Trustees to Speak at Worship Wednesday Community Prayer Breakfast

Posted by painewebmaster | 08/1/2016 07:15 AM

“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Radio station 96.3 Kiss FM will hold the 96.3 Kiss FM Worship Wednesday Community Prayer Breakfast this month at Paine College. Organized by Women in Gods Service (WINGS), the inaugural event aims to provide an opportunity for the community to embrace diversity in an atmosphere of inclusive fellowship and to raise money for the College. Paine College which boasts the oldest interracial governing body in the nation has a history of pioneering race relations in Augusta making it a well-suited venue to bring diverse groups of people together for discussions regarding racial issues in our community.

The keynote speaker will be Michael Thurmond, Paine College Alumnus and Chair-Elect of the Paine College Board of Trustees. The event takes place on Wednesday, August 3, 2016, from 7:30 to 9:00 AM at the Candler Memorial Library on the Paine College Campus.

"It is such a wonderful feeling to see the Augusta community coming together for this worthy event," noted, R. Wayne Woodson, Chief of Staff, Assistant Professor and Director of Music, “Cher Best has pledged her support for Paine College and founded Women in Gods Service- WINGS. This group is hosting the prayer breakfast, and will be working with Dr. Lucinda Sullivan, the College's First Lady, on a number of events over the next year.”

The cost of the event is $25 per person and tables are also available. Tickets will be sold in advance on Eventbrite. Tickets will not be available at the door.  Those unable to attend the event can make donations on Eventbrite until August 23rd. For more information, visit


The United Methodist Church Reaffirms Commitment to Support Paine College -- Donates $250,000 Gift to Benefit Student Housing

Posted by painewebmaster | 07/22/2016 06:45 AM

The United Methodist Church’s Division of Higher Education and Ministry reaffirmed its commitment to support Paine College during a press conference held on campus in Candler Memorial Library. Reverend James Cason, Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Statesboro, Georgia, along with United Methodist clergy, laity and members gathered on the morning of July 22, 2016 to publicly endorse Paine College. Reverend Cason, a member of the Paine College Board of Trustees, announced a gift of $250,000.00 on behalf of the United Methodist Church (UMC). President Samuel Sullivan, members of the Paine College Board of Trustees, administration, faculty, staff, students and friends applauded the generous gift that will be utilized in part to refurbish student housing.

“Since June 2006, the Division of Higher Education and Ministry has contributed $8,752,436.00 to Paine College,” said Reverend Cason. “This additional gift of $250,000.00 is a testament of the United Methodist Church’s belief in Paine’s mission and values.”

Dr. John W. Wells, Associate General Secretary of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, said in a written statement, “We admire the courage and determination of the alumni, faculty, staff, trustees and students as they unite to ensure the continuation of the long tradition of a liberal arts education. It is our hope that the funds provided by the United Methodist Church might continue to allow the college to facilitate the transformation of its students into proud alumni and strong citizens of character.”

Attorney Barbara E. Bouknight, Chairman of the Paine College Board of Trustees, said the faith-based community has been overwhelmingly supportive of Paine. She also stated that the Trustees are committed to providing corrective measures that will stabilize and increase the College’s net assets while implementing strategies that will align the College’s projected revenue with operational expenses.

Reverend Cason told of the historical linkage between Paine College and the Methodist Episcopal Church South which is the forerunner of The United Methodist Church. “The Bishops and clergy of the Methodist Episcopal Church South and the Colored Methodist Episcopal Church came together to form the first interracial board in the country and developed a school of higher learning,” said Reverend Cason. “Fast forward 134 years later. The Bishops, clergy and members of the UMC and the CME church are still standing strong in support of Paine College.”

"It is imperative that the white and black communities continue to work together to maintain the legacy of Paine College," he said. “I believe in Paine College and I believe that we dare not lose the opportunity to provide a quality education for the students who choose to attend our institution."

“The support we have witnessed has been heartwarming,” said President Sullivan. “It is clear that the United Methodist Church family believe as we do that Paine College matters to the community. This gift advances the College on the path of fiscal solvency.”

Attorney Michael Thurmond, Chair-elect of the Trustee Board, reminded the audience that the College appealed the decision made by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to lift Paine’s membership due to non-compliance in three areas. He assured the audience that Paine would maintain its current accreditation during the appeal process. Also, the College will continue to qualify for Title IV and Title III funding while offering federal financial aid to students during the appeal process.

To learn more about the GBHEM and its mission, visit  For more information about Paine College, contact the Office of Communications and Marketing at 706.396.7591 or visit


The United Methodist Church's Division of Higher Education and Ministry will reaffirm its commitment to support Paine College

Posted by painewebmaster | 07/22/2016 04:55 AM

The United Methodist Church's Division of Higher Education and Ministry will reaffirm its commitment to support Paine College during a press conference on Friday, July 22, 2016, at 10:00 a.m., in Candler Memorial Library, 2nd Floor, on the campus of Paine College. The public is invited to attend.   The United Methodist Church leadership of the South Georgia Conference will present a major gift to Paine College on behalf of the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry. A portion of the donation will be utilized to refurbish the dormitories and/or the student center.   Paine College leadership will provide updates regarding the College's Accreditation Appeal process.


Reverend James Cason, Senior Pastor of Statesboro First United Methodist Church, and member of the Paine College Board of Trustees  

Attorney Michael Thurmond, Board Chair-elect, Paine College Board of Trustees  

Dr. Samuel Sullivan, President, Paine College


WHEN:      Friday, July 22, 2016   at 10:00 a.m. (Doors will open to the public at 9:00 a.m.)

WHERE:      Inside Candler Memorial Library, second floor

Dr. Tantiana Burns Receives Evelyn Berry Teacher of the Year Award for Excellence and Innovation in Classroom Education

Posted by painewebmaster | 07/14/2016 06:00 AM

Dr. Tantiana Burns, Assistant Professor of Biology, received the Evelyn Berry Teacher of the Year Award for excellence in classroom education and having mentored students majoring in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). She has devoted much of her time to serving as a faculty mentor in undergraduate research focusing on bioremediation of Benzo-a-pyrene, a known carcinogen using an algal and fungal system at Paine College. Currently, Dr. Burns works with students on a project that analyzes soil samples from select locations in the Central Savannah River Area. She guides students in developing research protocols, gathering records and data, and recording outcomes. Undergraduate STEM research has been proven to motivate students to pursue careers in the STEM workforce and better prepare them for advanced studies.

The Evelyn Berry award was created to recognize faculty who have completed a minimum of three years of service to the College and have the ability to make material important and relevant to current life. .  The Evelyn Berry award comes with a cash gift. Dr. Burns motivates students to stay on the path to successfully completing STEM undergraduate degrees while challenging them to embrace research.    

Since receiving the award during Paine’s Commencement Convocation held in May 2016, many of her students have graduated and are now on the path to pursuing advanced degrees in STEM-related areas.    

Dr. Samuel Sullivan, President of Paine College, said, “Dr. Burns’ dedication to students and her ability to engage them in an interactive stimulating learning environment makes her stand out amongst world-class educators.”

Dr. Burns has been a full-time Biology instructor and mentor for students at Paine College since 2013. In addition to teaching classes and conducting research, she manages fellowships and internships for students who pursue experiences outside of the classroom and renders professional services on several committees at Paine. Furthermore, she serves on the College’s Honors, Scholarships and Awards Committee, selects students for academic scholarships, and coordinates the Annual Honors Day Program. She also serves on the Faculty Courtesies and Presidential Appeals Committees. 

Dr. Burns is the campus coordinator for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) program that is designed to increase the quality and quantity of students who successfully complete STEM baccalaureate degrees with a focus on increasing the number of students to academically qualify for graduate school.  

Her colleagues have commented that she is a naturally gifted teacher who is committed to excellence and student success. She spends much of her time during the summer mentoring and guiding high school students in various research areas. One of the summer research projects looked at the effect of Ethanol concentrations in Gasoline. Dr. Burns passes on her passion for curiosity to her students. She encourages them to embark upon the path of exploration and discovery in and out of the classroom. 

She said, “I want my students to develop a burning desire for research and exploration”. “Innovative teaching styles help students to stay motivated and interested in STEM fields. Every day, it is my hope that I have inspired students to aspire and motivated them to rise to levels of excellence. The most valuable amenity that a professor can offer to students is his/her time.” 

Dr. Maya Angelou’s quote, “nothing will work unless you do”, has undergirded Dr. Burns’ work ethics for many years. “I have often communicated to my students that if they want to succeed, they must do the work,” said Dr. Burns. “I am hopeful that they will integrate this concept into their work ethics and ongoing research.” 

Lastly, Dr. Burns stated, “I am honored that my peers have selected me to receive this prestigious award.”  “It is my wish that my students will continue to put in the work that is required to achieve high levels of excellence in advanced STEM-related studies and stay on the path to rewarding professions in the STEM workforce.” 

Dr. Burns earned her Bachelors of Science degree in Biology from South Carolina State University in 2002 and completed her doctoral studies in Toxicology from University of Georgia in 2008. She is the co-author of several scientific publications on toxicology. Her dissertation is titled: Fate of the Mycotoxin Fumonisin B1 during Alkaline Cooking of Cultured and Whole Kernel Corn. 

Dr. Burns is the daughter of Iris and Jeffrey Burns of Augusta, Georgia. 



Story written by By Helene T. Carter.

For more information about STEM programs at Paine College, visit, or contact the Office of Communications and Marketing at 706.396.7591. For additional inquiries regarding Dr. Burns’ research and publications, contact her at 706.495.2338 or email: