CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. Hiwassee College is only $50,000 away from obtaining sufficient funds to prevent loss of its accreditation, the recently elected chair of the college"s board of trustees says. The Rev. Al Bowles presided over his first meeting as chair of the board of trustees on April 23.
Speaking by phone from Chattanooga on May 1, Bowles said $200,000 had been received since Hiwassee College officials sent an April 10 letter to supporters, urgently appealing for funds.
The Madisonville, Tenn., based college needs $250,000 to prevent loss of its accreditation and a total of $423,000 to balance the budget, Bowles said. The funds are needed by June 30.
"We"ve been receiving gifts everyday, some substantial, some small. We need every gift," he said. "We feel like we"re making progress."
In addition to naming a search committee for a president during its April 23 meeting, the college board, executive committee, cabinet and senior faculty also affirmed that Hiwassee would remain a "Christ-centered" institution, Bowles said.
"'Hiwassee College should continue as a twoyear, residential, liberal arts, distinctively Christian college for students who wish to excel as well as those who need remedial work,'" Bowles read from the meeting minutes. "So we"ll be looking for a president who"s happy to be president of a two-year college."
On March 28, former Hiwassee President W. Chuck Philip resigned after it was revealed that an expected $20 million donation was not authentic. During the months that Philip pursued the donation, fund raising was diminished, officials said. In January 2002, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools sanctioned Hiwassee for failing to meet financial standards.
Bowles was elected to the board"s leadership through a poll by letter. A seven-year board veteran, Bowles also has served as Chattanooga district superintendent since June 2001. He succeeds former chair Ron Mills and interim chair Don Youell.
Bowles complimented staff and supporters: "There"s been a good attitude on the part of faculty and cabinet at Hiwassee, and the friends have certainly had a good attitude," he said. "We need a word of optimism in the midst of a trying situation. The response of the people has been very encouraging to me."
The leadership will continue to focus on fund raising until the college is stabile, he added. "Behind the raising of the money, our main purpose and mission is the education of the students."
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