On the last day of fundraising to save its accreditation, Bennett College received a major gift from a neighboring school. High Point University President Nido Qubein announced a pledge of $1 million to the historically black women's college at a press conference Friday evening.
Community leaders including Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan as well as Bennett students and faculty filled Charles E. Hayworth Memorial Chapel on the campus of High Point University for the announcement.
Qubein stressed the closeness of the two schools, both located in Guilford County, and their shared roots in the United Methodist Church. The gift is also meant to rally others to continue giving in support of the HBCU.
Since the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges voted to remove Bennett's accreditation in December, the school has been raising funds to support an appeal of the decision, an effort called "Stand with Bennett."
Bennett President Phyllis Worthy Dawkins says she is overwhelmed by this support. Constance Staley is a graduating senior at Bennett College and says she's optimistic about her school's future, and that this gift means a huge weight is lifted.
“Once we see everything in the clear, once they make the big announcement, that's when we'll be able to breathe,” she says.
Officials will spend the weekend tallying gifts and preparing legal briefs for the appeal meeting February 18th. Final numbers will be announced on Monday.