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.

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