Bennett College President Dr. Phyllis Worthy Dawkins announced on that the college raised $8.2 million in its #StandWithBennett Campaign.
Bennett College is one of the black colleges supported by the Black College Fund which provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities.
"So, we've come to the moment that you've been waiting for," Dawkins said inside a packed Annie Merner Pfeiffer Chapel. "As of today, and let me just say we're still counting. We are still counting money. But as of today, Bennett College has raised $8.2 million."
Dawkins' announcement was met with jubilation, as Bennett students, alumnae and others began jumping up and down in their pews. Many cried, others hugged and some looked shocked.
The press conference began with an invocation from the Reverend Jamal Bryant, pastor of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta. New Birth donated $16,000 to the College and was one of the first faith-based institutions to contribute to the campaign.
Also speaking at the press conference were LaDaniel Gatling, II, vice president for institutional advancement, Kwanza Jones, who with her husband José E. Feliciano announced a $1 million gift to the College during the press conference, and High Point University President Dr. Nido Qubein.
At the February 4th press conference, Qubein came bearing more gifts, including: a $650 check from money HPU students collected in their chapel; a check from an individual HPU student for $1,000; a check from an HPU parent for $10,000; a check from the Wyndham Championship for $25,000, a check from Old Dominion Freight Line for $100,000 and a check from BB&T Bank for $200,000. In all, Qubein dropped off a total of $357,500 in checks.
Qubein made several jokes throughout his speech, but the seriousness of his message rang loud and clear.
"When I look around this room, Phyllis, and see the support that you have, and you've had it nationally…when I see Congressman Ted Budd here standing with you and by you, when I see presidents of universities like Harold Martin (N.C. A&T State University) and Frank Gilliam (UNC Greensboro) and Randy Parker (GTCC) show up as busy as all of them are to be here in your midst, when I see your mayor cancel a meeting where she was speaking today just to be with you here today, all of this speaks loudly about the support for Bennett," Qubein said.
"When you see Secretary Aldona Wos, a very distinguished lady, a U.S. ambassador show up to be with you today, this is not a small thing," Qubein continued. "This isn't about the money… This is about the future of tens of thousands of young women who will enter the hallowed hallways of this College to learn and who will exit the hallowed hallways to serve the world and make it a better place, (and) plant seeds of greatness in the lives that they will cross along their pathway. That's what this is really all about. The holy spirit is in this place."
Qubein praised Dawkins on Monday, saying her faith that Bennett would reach its goal never wavered. Dawkins stated many times publicly in TV, newspaper and radio interviews that she was confident Bennett would reach its goal. After the press conference, Dawkins said the stalwart support she received from her Board of Trustees, the College's Leadership Team, the Office of Institutional Advancement, Bennett students and Bennett Alumnae helped sustain her confidence that the $5 million would be raised. "It was truly a campus wide, community and nationwide effort."
On Dec. 11, 2018, Bennett College was removed from membership in the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Bennett immediately appealed the decision and remains accredited during the appeal process. Bennett was removed strictly for financial reasons and was not sanctioned for its academics, faculty, leadership or students.
Bennett College, Greensboro, NC
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Black College Fund provides financial support to maintain solid, challenging academic programs; strong faculties; and well-equipped facilities at 11 United Methodist-related historically black colleges and universities. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Black College Fund apportionment at 100 percent.