This message is to thank you for participating in the inauguration activities of the fourteenth president of Paine College. The history of Paine College indicates that the institution was “founded in 1882 as the result of an unusual collaboration between Black and White Methodists who believed in church-related education as a means of advancement for a newly freed and underserved people.” Throughout the years, a dedicated faculty and staff have maintained high standards for students who are committed to the ideal “to love truth and seek it above material things.”

Paine College has continued to produce “self-sufficient and productive citizens, committed to intellectual pursuits and aesthetic appreciation in a global society.” Steeped in the liberal arts tradition, Paine College emphasizes academic excellence, ethical and spiritual values, social responsibility, and personal development.

Today’s college students are facing another challenge. That is the challenge of access to a quality education. Ninety-eight percent of Paine College students receive some type of financial assistance. The assistance in recent years has come in the form of loans and leaves many graduates with voluminous debt even before they secure their first professional positions.

Other students are forced to work in low-paying jobs away from the campus to earn money to supplement the assistance that they receive. These factors have a direct impact on students’ ability to fully engage in the kind of education that is being offered at Paine College. Although scholarships and grants do exist, more and more are merit-based only and do not consider that there are students who are performing well but still have a financial need.

The vision for Paine College is for it to be a premier liberal arts institution of higher education in the region. This vision will be accomplished through strengthened faculty capacity, student engagement and learning outcomes, technology infrastructure development, facilities enhancement and “friend” raising. To address the issue of providing support for students actively engaging in the learning process in and outside of the classroom, all inauguration activities are designed to raise money for need-based scholarships. Funds from inauguration activities will support students who are in good standing with the college and are in need of financial support. This financial support will allow the college to actively support students in acquiring a world class education, as well as prepare them for life beyond the undergraduate degree – employment in their field as well as attending graduate or professional school.

With a liberal arts education as their foundation, Paine College students can engage in programs and majors that are offered through the college’s five academic divisions. Students are offered opportunities to collaborate with local leaders in business, government, and education to strengthen the community. Along with opportunities on campus, students have opportunities to engage in community activities through student organizations. Paine College sponsors over fifty student-led academic, civic, cultural, governmental, social and religious organizations as well as a variety of intramural and intercollegiate sports. However, students need to be free of the burden of working off campus to earn money for tuition, books, room and board. In order to be properly prepared to address the complex issues in society, all Paine College students must engage in work and study beyond the formal classroom through undergraduate research, field-based internships and service learning.

Paine College is a small institution offering a big education. Students work with scholars and researchers from around the world on issues of importance to the broader community. With need-based scholarship support, Paine College students will have more opportunities to take advantage of experiential learning such as study abroad, internships, and conference presentations through curricula that are rich, rigorous and relevant. By participating in inauguration activities, you will contribute to the growth and development of the next generation of professionals, scholars and leaders. I thank you in advance for your support.

George C. Bradley,