Lon Morris College Invited to Dialogue with Cabinet

Date Posted: 10/12/2011

Bishop Janice Riggle Huie and the Cabinet of the Texas Annual Conference (TAC) have been monitoring reports on the financial, enrollment and administrative challenges currently facing Lon Morris College (LMC).  The reports have been provided by President Miles McCall, Timothy H. Czerniec, a higher education financial consultant associated with the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry and a preliminary report from the TAC Lon Morris Task Force.  Unfortunately, the final enrollment figures were 18% lower than anticipated, with a fall enrollment of 607 students.  Rev. Sandra Smith, the TAC Cabinet representative on the Lon Morris Board of Trustees, has also reported that “. . . press articles outlining delayed payroll and vendor payments have created many questions among pastors in the district who are concerned about the reputation of the College.”

These reports have prompted the Bishop and the Cabinet to recommend an on-going conversation with the Board and administration of the College to explore plans to minimize the negative impact these financial challenges may have on students, staff, vendors and the community.  Proposed participants in the dialogue would include:

·         Bishop Janice Riggle Huie,

·         President Miles McCall

·         Two persons each from LMC and Texas Annual Conference (TAC)

TAC representation would include a person from the Core Leadership Team and a person from the Council on Finance & Administration. Communication would include such concerns as:

·         Monthly Cash Flow Statements

·         Annual Budget

·         Current Total Debt Obligations and Re-Payment Schedule

·         Inventory of All Assets and Status of Obligations Pertaining to Each

·         Listing of Current Vendor Obligations and Progress in Meeting Payments

·         Status of Re-Financing Options

·         Student Enrollment Data

·         Initial Consideration of a Long-Term Strategic Plan

The Executive Committee of the Lon Morris Board of Trustees is currently considering the Cabinet proposal.  President Miles McCall has stated:  “These are certainly challenging times for Lon Morris College but we have a history of finding a way to work through challenges. . . . Our Board of Trustees and the Texas Annual Conference are committed to working together to overcome our challenges and obstacles.” 

The TAC remains committed to the mission of Lon Morris College and acknowledge the role the college plays in the lives of the students, staff and the community of Jacksonville.  “We are especially sensitive to the many alumni of Lon Morris who live and work in our Conference.  Some of our most successful leaders got their start at the College and feel a strong commitment to its success.  It is with this in mind, that we pledge to work closely with the Board and administration to preserve the integrity of an institution that has played such an important role in the history of the Texas Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church,” stated Bishop Janice Riggle Huie.