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An estate gift from a couple from Florida and a $100,000 grant from Christian Healthcare Ministries has enabled Southern Methodist College to pay off all of its debts and begin a number of capital improvements. This sum would be “small change to most other colleges, but it’s a whole new day for us,” Dr. Vic Reasoner said.
Winston and Ann Woodson left their estate to the college last year. They were introduced to the work of the college when they became lifelong friends of former college President Charles Bennett. The Woodsons had no children and after Winston died in 2014 and Ann in 2017, they left their estate to the college. Those funds were used to pay the college’s debt. The sum was not large, but enabled SMC to pay of their remaining debt of about $120,000. “A lot of people don’t think they can make a difference with small donations,” but this proves that ordinary people can really make that difference, Reasoner said. “The bottom line is we were able to pay off our indebtedness and we can rejoice publicly that we are debt free,” he said.
SMC is using the $100,000 grant for capital improvements, including replacing the roof on Huggins Field House, Reasoner noted. He said the college has had major problems with the roof for a number of years, adding that this will be the second time the roof has been replaced.
The second roof was bolted to the first and leaked at every bolt, the SMC president said. Both of them had to be pulled off, he said. “There will have to be a phase two and possibly a phase 3 to the gym,” Reasoner said. “We had to fix the roof before we could get to the floor.”
The grant, provided by Christian Healthcare Ministries, is a challenge grant, he noted. “They’re hoping that we can use matching funds for other capital improvements,” he said. “Next on the list is work on Felkel Student Center.” Dr. Howard Russell, president and CEO of Christian Healthcare Ministries, serves on the Southern Methodist College Board of Trustees. SMC now teaches its classes online to students from across the Southeast and uses the Orangeburg campus as a conference and retreat center. In addition, Child Evangelism Fellowship has its offices there and several churches hold services on the campus.
Written by Dale Linder-Altman, Times & Democrat, May 7, 2018