Kirbo takes gavel, BSC Foundation meeting held

Published 3:44 pm Tuesday, July 25, 2017

 Dr. Stuart Rayfield, Interim BSC President, presents former BSC Foundation Chairman, Jeff Findley, with a plaque of appreciation for his time served as Chairman of the Board

By Susanne Reynolds

Special to The Post-Searchlight

The Bainbridge State College Foundation Chairman of the Board gavel has been passed.

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On Tuesday, June 27, during the Bainbridge State College Foundation Annual Meeting, Jeff Findley passed the chairman’s gavel to Wheat Kirbo.

Dr. Stuart Rayfield, Interim BSC President, recognized Findley for his willingness to serve as Chairman of the Bainbridge State College Foundation Board. She commended his leadership and ability to be flexible.

“It has been a tremendous reward for me to have the opportunity to work with Jeff on behalf of Bainbridge State College, “she said. “His years of service as chair of the BSC Foundation have had a great impact on the institution, but more importantly on hundreds of students who have been able to attend college because of the foundation’s great work.

In my view, BSC has had a dream team for the Foundation with Jeff’s leadership.  I am looking forward to continuing that legacy with Wheat Kirbo as our new chair.  My most sincere gratitude goes to Jeff for his service.”

Findley served as the BSC Foundation Chairman since 2014—and during his time as chairman the College has seen tremendous support and completed its first ever capital campaign.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve in this capacity the last three years,” said Findley. “With the can-do attitude of a great director in Lauren Harrell and the support of Dr. Stuart Rayfield, the Foundation was able to continue the momentum created by so many in the past and complete a very successful capital campaign—the first in the history of Bainbridge State College.”

The former chairman was proud to pass the gavel to Wheat Kirbo. According to Findley, there will be many changes coming the College’s way, but the Foundation has been “well positioned” and will “adapt” under the chairmanship of Kirbo.

He said, “There will be many changes happening on the BSC campus in the coming weeks and months—and the Foundation will be positioned well to adapt to those changes under the very capable leadership of Wheat Kirbo.”

Wheat Kirbo gladly accepted the position. He is excited to begin his term as the BSC Foundation Chairman and looking forward to working with his fellow Foundation members, BSC faculty and staff, and the community to insure post-secondary education “continues to thrive in Southwest Georgia.”

He also looks forward to the future that the BSC Foundation holds.

“The BSC Foundation has awarded 79 scholarships to deserving Bainbridge State College students in the past year,” he commented. “And I hope to see that number continue to increase during my term. I would like the community to know that the donations to the BSC Foundation play a vital role in the success of many deserving students. I see the Foundation continuing to play such a vital role in the years to come.”

With the consolidation of Bainbridge State College and Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College (ABAC) on the horizon, Rayfield, along with Dr. David Bridges, ABAC President, addressed the Foundation.

Rayfield reported that Bridges would be the president of both ABAC and BSC upon consolidation.

Bridges reiterated the importance of higher education in Southwest Georgia for students who want to get a college degree.

“The primary commitment is to make things better for students by providing enhanced opportunities with associate degrees, so students can transfer to any four-year institution they desire,” Bridges said.  “The hope is to create a pipeline between Bainbridge and the Tifton campus of ABAC.”

Within the next 30 days, Bridges plans to set aside time to speak to groups in the Bainbridge community about the future of higher education in this area of the state.

As the board members discussed consolidation, there was some concern about the donations and which students would receive them.  Kirbo offered his take on contributions received by the BSC Foundation.

“I would like members of the community to know that through and after the consolidation with Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, the dollars they donate to the Foundation will stay in the Southwest Georgia community and continue to benefit the students in the Bainbridge area,” Kirbo said.

Lauren Harrell, the Executive Director of Institutional Advancement at BSC, gave an update on the Foundation activities and accomplishments during the past year.

Within the past year, there have been 36 new donors, which as amounted to over $30,000 in new gifts to the Foundation. This is up fifty percent from last year; and in total, there were $1,099 gifts given to the Foundation this year, which totaled almost $300,000 raised.

Harrell said, “There is no doubt that Bainbridge State College is facing and embracing change.  However, I am humbled by the commitment our board of directors and our surrounding communities who realize the BSC Foundation will continue to provide for our students – no matter the name on our door. Our drive continues to be serving our students and ensuring their success through additional means we are fortunate enough to provide.”

Rayfield concluded the meeting by expressing her excitement for the future of the Foundation and the Institution as a whole.

She said, “Bainbridge State College will be in good hands under the leadership of Dr. David Bridges. I’m looking forward to the future of Bainbridge State College. This fall we will be setting aside some time to celebrate the history of BSC, while introducing ABAC on campus. There are lots of exciting things happening in the near future.”

For more information about the BSC Foundation, please visit