As HLGU faces ‘imminent disaster’, president says $2.2m must be raised by June 30 – Muddy River News

Rodney Harrison, who was named transitional president of Hannibal-LaGrange University on March 8, speaks at a March 10 “solemn assembly” event that was streamed live on the Hannibal-LaGrange Facebook page. school and presented as a “time of prayer, fasting, petition and repentance.” | Screenshot of Hannibal-LaGrange University Facebook page

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Rodney Harrison, transitional president of Hannibal-LaGrange University, said $2.2 million must be raised by June 30 to allow the school to reach the next academic year. without incurring additional debt. He also said last week that the school faced “imminent disaster”.

Harrison posted a letter Wednesday about the university’s fate on the school’s website.

“The world does not have enough universities fully committed to shameless Christian education,” Harrison wrote. “As a result, we are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure the long-term sustainability of Hannibal-LaGrange University.”

Harrison inherited the post of transitional president on March 8. Anthony W. Allen stepped down as university president in January. The school said Allen’s departure in the middle of a semester would allow him to “recover from some lingering health issues, spend more time with his family, and provide opportunities for new leaders to make take HLGU to the next level of achievement”.

Harrison does not accept compensation for his work at HLGU given the current financial difficulties. He also continues to serve as president of Baptist Homes & Healthcare Ministries.

“My desire for this season of service is to provide God-honoring leadership to ensure that HLGU’s mission stays alive,” he said in a March 16 post on the university’s website. “To that end, we have made tough but necessary decisions, including drastic cuts to secure that outcome.”

Three-step plan calls for immediate debt reduction of $690,000

According to the Higher Education Commission, HLGU’s accrediting body, the school received an “interim report” on “financial indicators” on February 15.

In his letter, Harrison outlined a plan he says has the support of the Higher Learning Commission board and accreditors. The plan includes three stages.

  1. The highest priority is immediate debt reduction of $690,000.
  2. Raised an additional $1.51 million.
  3. The implementation of a new budget at the start of the new fiscal year in July. Harrison wrote that the budget is “balanced and achievable and will restore strength to HLGU”.

“Our purpose in continuing the mission of Hannibal-LaGrange is not uneducated enthusiasm,” Harrison wrote. “We have carefully and prayerfully weighed each step of this plan, and God has been faithful to show us that his hand is already at work.

“As we are in a season of transition, we are taking this opportunity to make God-honoring changes to academic areas, including aligning the curriculum to better reflect the needs of our current and prospective students, and renewing accreditation. of the Higher Education Commission.”

Hannibal-LaGrange is affiliated with the Missouri Baptist Convention. According to the school’s website, the university offers more than 37 majors at the bachelor’s level as well as master’s-level courses in education, educational administration, and leadership. The school was founded in 1858.

Students, faculty and staff gathered March 10 to pray for a miracle

Brian Kaylor, a reporter for Word & Way, wrote on March 11 that HLGU faculty, staff and students gathered on March 10 to pray for a miracle amid financial difficulties threatening the school’s existence. . The school also livestreamed seven hours of a ‘solemn assembly’ event for others to join in what the school billed as a ‘time of prayer, fasting, petition and repentance. “.

Harrison told the assembly that he shared “the realities of our dire financial situation” with students and faculty on March 9. He admitted during the service that the school was in a “very precarious situation” and faced an “imminent disaster”. He said school officials are trying to figure out what steps to take “to get to the end of the semester.”

“The dire financial and institutional situation of Hannibal-LaGrange University is too great for humanistic responses, so we are compelled to begin facedown in fasting and prayer,” said John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri. Baptist Convention. as told during service in the March 16 story on the HLGU website.

Kaylor reported that among the prayer requests offered by Yeats was for Baptists in Missouri to ask God for “a miracle of bounty that enables HLGU to prosper in the days ahead.”

Yeats added that in the Bible, “whenever God’s people were surrounded or faced with urgent need or overwhelming tragedy, the first step of the faithful is to consecrate themselves, confess our sin and call upon the Lord to reveal itself. After that, we can call on our mighty God for deliverance and intervention.

The school faces a significant budget shortfall for this school year

“The school is facing a significant budget deficit for this school year. We call on all Baptists in Missouri and Illinois to prayerfully consider how best to support the university during this time,” Robert Matz said in the March 16 post on the HLGU website. Matz serves as executive vice president at HLGU during the transition,

The HLGU website reports that it has an enrollment of “about 1,000 students”. US News & World Report indicates that HLGU had 746 undergraduate enrollment in fall 2019.

Harrison’s letter says school officials identified four areas as the school’s greatest needs:

  • Immediate debt reduction
  • Student aid and scholarships
  • Faculty retention
  • Operating Expenses

Specific areas of support suggested to HLGU are financial donations to further the school’s mission, volunteers willing to help with campus operations, recruitment of new students, and daily prayer.

“This university … is much more than a place of higher learning,” Harrison’s letter said. “Millions of memories have been made here, thousands of relationships have been formed, and hundreds of decisions for Christ have been made.

“Moving forward, we cannot hope to reach the world if we are detached from the world. We must re-engage our community and culture, seeking to have a positive impact. As such, we have forged or seek partnerships with state and local entities.

“With God, anything is possible, including opening for the 2022 fall semester at HLGU.”

Click to watch the HLGU Solemn Assembly on March 10:


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