Saving One of America’s Last Black Women’s Colleges

Threatened, a historic university reaches an emergency fundraising goal—and then some.

Courtesy of High Point University

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Just two months ago, Bennett College looked like it might have to close its doors. One of the last two remaining historically black colleges for women, Bennett lacked the funds needed to meet its accreditation requirements.

But over 55 days, the 146-year-old North Carolina school used social media and found an array of allies in its mad dash to raise $5 million by the February 1 deadline. Bennett ended up raising $8.2 million from 11,000 donors, the Chronicle of Higher Education reports.

Of that total, $1 million came from nearby High Point University, another Methodist-affiliated institution. The university’s graduates and staff made significant individual donations.

“In your toughest times, you know who your friends are,” said Bennett President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins.

High Point’s president, Nido Qubein, put it this way: “We as a neighbor school cannot just stand by.” Later, at a news conference announcing that Bennett had reached its fundraising goal, he added, “This isn’t about money. This is about the future of tens of thousands of young women who will exit Bennett to serve the world and plant seeds of greatness.”

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