On last Wednesday, Concordia College announced that it will be closing its doors permanently at the end of this semester. Concordia, a private HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) in Selma, Ala., has faced financial, recruitment, and other challenges in recent years. The college, founded in 1922, currently enrolls around 450 students.
In our 20 years of existance, the Tom Joyner Foundation has assisted every four-year HBCU in America, including Concordia College. In July 2005, Concordia was our “School of the Month”- a program where we dedicate the bulk of our efforts towards raising awareness and scholarship dollars for a specific HBCU for a whole month. The campaign generated over $115,000 in scholarship and additional support and, since then, the Foundation has continued to support Concordia and it’s students.
The Tom Joyner Foundation commends Dr. James Lyons, president of Concordia, for his leadership over the last several months. In recent years, we’ve enjoyed opportunities to work with him and his administrations at University of the District of Columbia and Bowie State University. Leading a private institution with troubles, like Concordia’s, is a thankless task and the Foundation knows that the decision to close the college was difficult to reach and even more difficult to announce, in person, to the students and faculty.
Enough can’t be said about the need for institutions like Concordia College. HBCUs like Concordia specialize and excel in giving opportunities and support to students, regardless of race or economic backgrounds. We know, Concordia, like other HBCUs, offer students who the first generation in their families an opportunity to go to college and open the door to students that come from academically challenged backgrounds.
With the closing of Concordia, there’s still work to be done. You can still help. Currently, Concordia has hundreds of freshmen, sophomore, and junior students that will need assistance, financial and otherwise, with transferring soon and efficiently so they can enroll in another accredited college or university for the upcoming fall semester. We do not want the end of Concordia College to be the end of it’s students’ pursuit of education.
Whether it’s through the Tom Joyner Foundation (www.tomjoynerfoundation.org/donate ) or Concordia, please donate to assist these students with scholarships to help with the new costs and fees, and other financial challenges, that they’ll encounter while transferring to a new college or university to continue their education.