Trustees of the college met at Graceville campus on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1 to hear, review and approve reports from the Building and Maintenance Committee, the auditing firm, the executive committee and to hear President Thomas Kinchen’s vision for the future of the college.
During the report of the Building and Maintenance Committee, the board received information on the overall conditions of the property and a special focus was placed on the recovery activities at the Graceville campus and the Blue Springs site.
Since Hurricane Michael passed through in October of 2018, both the Graceville campus and the Blue Springs site have been utilized for shelter and staging for over 600 military troops, law enforcement officers, disaster relief workers, and various other support personnel. In addition, several families displaced from their homes on the coast are still living in apartments on the campus.
The FBC came right beside BCF with a monetary gift to assist in the process of rebuilding and restoring the school campuses. “The Florida Baptist Convention continues to respond to our family impacted by Hurricane Michael,” said Tommy Green, executive director-treasurer of the FBC. “This gift to the Baptist College of Florida will enable the process of rebuilding and restoration to be accelerated. I am grateful for the effective ministry of BCF under the leadership of Dr. Kinchen.”
Green also encouraged Florida Baptists in their support of recovery efforts saying, “I urge Florida Baptists to continue praying, giving, and serving our faith family in this region of the Panhandle.”
Trustees also approved Executive Committee actions which included the establishment of a Scholars in Residence and a Merit Scholarship. Through Scholars in Residence students studying and residing on campus may receive special financial assistance aimed at their housing costs. The Merit Scholarship will allow qualified students living on campus to receive increasing aid as they move toward graduation, a program which Kinchen described as “the longer you stay, the less you pay.” A comfort animal policy and procedure for the campus was also approved.
The auditing firm’s report of the 2017-2018 fiscal year listed BCF as a low risk auditee and gave the college an unmodified opinion on the audit which is the highest rating that can be received.
At the conclusion of the meeting, President Kinchen shared his vision for the future development of the college. This included greater integration of the Graceville campus and the Blue Springs site as well as integrating the growth of online distance education with the enhancement of on-campus programming which Kinchen said will present challenges as well as opportunities.
The BCF President challenged Board Members to “dream big and trust our Lord’s direction.” Kinchen will present a Special Report to the Board of Trustees at their annual meeting in May 2019.
By Keila Diaz, Florida Baptist Convention, February 13, 2019