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Birmingham-Southern College Officials Announce Plans for The Future

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The Birmingham Times

Birmingham-Southern College will remain open. At least for now.

Rev. Keith D. Thompson, chair of the school’s Board of Trustees announced Thursday that the Board has made an “informed and thoughtful decision to keep Birmingham-Southern open. We have been working closely with our allies in state and local government to secure bridge funding. Thanks to their leadership, the Board felt comfortable with moving forward, and has charged President Daniel Coleman with preparing for a public fundraising campaign to restore the College’s endowment.”

Coleman said the school is preparing for a fall semester.

“We are already reaching out to our prospective students and will be hiring faculty and staff to ensure that we are delivering the full BSC experience this fall,” he said. “We will also be gearing up for the public phase of the endowment campaign, which will ensure our long-term financial resilience.”

The decision comes after months of appeals from school officials to garner support from businesses leaders, elected officials, nearby neighborhood associations, alumni, students and faculty.

Birmingham Mayor Randall L. Woodfin said, “I want to commend Birmingham Southern College’s leadership for their tireless efforts to remain open. This is particularly important for the students and staff that make up the BSC community. It is also good news for the surrounding residents who view Birmingham Southern College as their neighbor. As President Coleman and leadership continue taking the next steps for a financial recovery, I urge everyone to learn more about the impact and importance of this institution in our city.”

Much work still remains. Gov. Kay Ivey said last week that she will not devote state tax dollars to support Birmingham Southern College. “The state has no plans to use the taxpayers’ public funds to bail out a private college,” spokeswoman Gina Maiola said in a statement to AL.com.

Also, support for the school from the Alabama Legislature and Jefferson County Commission is not guaranteed.

“We will continue to work with legislators through the end of the legislative session to ensure all are aware of the significant direct economic impact BSC provides each and every year, as well as the immense contributions made by our alumni to the civic, business, and political leadership of our state,” Thompson said.

BSC has secured nearly $46 million in pledges from private donors toward a goal of $200 million in endowment and has sought bridge funding from public sources to allow time to finish that campaign. A $200 million endowment will support 20 percent of BSC’s annual operating budget, providing the stability needed for the long term.