Deeply rooted, firmly driven

Published 9:21 pm Friday, June 13, 2014

That catchphrase reflects the purpose and the scope of the recently launched capital campaign at Bainbridge State College. While recognizing the deeply rooted history in southwest Georgia, the college is future driven to continue serving students by providing first-class educational opportunities.

This campaign, with a goal of $1.3 million, is the first capital campaign in the 40-year history of the college, and it has started with a bang.

I have the honor and privilege to serve on the Foundation Board of Directors and have seen the hard work and planning that took place months before the campaign kicked off under the radar this past January.

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Dr. Richard Carvajal, president of BSC, is to be commended for having the foresight, energy, and initiative to see the need and the opportunities of such a campaign for the long-term vitality of the school.

The work done by Carvajal and Lauren Harrell, interim director of institutional advancement at BSC, brought the campaign to a point of being at nearly 70%, $897,000 of the $1.3 million, of the budgeted goal before the official public announcement last Wednesday.

That’s a phenomenal start to what will be a very successful campaign.

And, just to prove what this campaign means to the college, there is tremendous buy-in from the faculty and staff.

Among the employees of the college, there is a 99% participation rate in donating to the campaign. That number is almost unheard of.

To me, this is the ultimate litmus test of any project, and most assuredly a project that involves taking money out of your pocket to donate. How is the reaction of the people who have an intimate knowledge? Ninety-nine percent is proof that the college faculty and staff believe in the direction the school is headed.

Raising that amount of money is a monumental task  a task that would be almost impossible without dedicated leadership. The three co-chairs of the campaign are no strangers to paying their “civic rent” and have a long-standing appreciation of Bainbridge State College.

With Dan Ponder, Dewey Robinson, and Charlie Kirbo leading the way, it would not be out of the realm of possibilities that the campaign goals will be exceeded by the end of the year, which is the end of the campaign period.

The money raised in the campaign will be distributed into four major areas, all contributing to the success of the college.

Funding of student scholarships will receive the bulk of the funds raised.

Scholarships have long been the main priority of the foundation and that will not change during the campaign.

Last year, the foundation awarded over 60 scholarships for students to attend the college. With these new available funds, that number will most certainly grow.

The Fund for Excellence will support new academic programs, will create open source textbooks, and will fund grants used for innovative teaching.

The third area is to provide funds to continue the very successful Arts and Lecture Series at the college. The final area of funding would be to enhance the international study programs at the college.

This is a very exciting time at Bainbridge State College and this capital campaign will have a generational affect on the college and the college will continue to have a generational affect on our communities.