Hannibal-LaGrange University Transitional President Rodney Harrison recently announced to faculty, staff and students that the university will remain open for the fall 2022 semester.
Gifts have reportedly poured into the university from its supporters, Harrison said. Only eight weeks after fiscal exigency measures were enacted at HLGU, gifts from local churches and individuals have surpassed $1 million, including a record $227,815 from HLGU’s 2022 Day of Giving.
Harrison’s announcement came only 54 days after HLGU declared a state of fiscal exigency — a financial emergency that Harrison explained during his meeting with HLGU faculty and staff, May 2.
“On March 3 of this year, the financial forecast was dire,” Harrison said.
“In just 27 days,” he noted, “the university was on pace to exhaust a $1 million line of credit, while having outstanding bills of $900,000. On my very first day on the job as transitional president, I received the cash flow report from Jeff Eubank, acting CFO at the time, and in that was a recommendation.
“I will read his recommendation: ‘You do know that I say this with great heartache. But I encourage you to seriously consider closing HLGU this semester. The university is in desperate times,’” Harrison said, reading the recommendation. Harrison then added his own commentary, “How desperate? To open in the fall, we would need at least a movement of $3.2 million. That was a no-fluff number. It was a down-to-the-bones minimum that factored in zero margin, massive cuts and using every penny of our $1 million line of credit to be able to keep the university open for the fall.
“To achieve this data-line number, the university had to cut expenses,” he added. “We achieved it by reducing our expenditure in the last month of the academic year by $1 million.”
Steps to increase cashflow
HLGU leadership also labored to increase the school’s cashflow, Harrison said. To open in the fall, HLGU needed $3.2 million. So far, HLGU has:
• Received donations and pledges totaling $1.15 million.
• Negotiated the sale of the Pulliam Street Apartments: $275,000 will be applied toward principal and interest.
• Renegotiated with vendors, resulting in $416,000 in gifts or write-offs toward accounts payable.
• Received a pre-payment from the Missouri Baptist Convention’s Cooperative Program funds for $180,000.
All of these factored together add up to a total cost-saving of $2.01 million for the university. HLGU is in the process of raising another $1 million during the next 90 days.
“Robust giving, combined with reduced payroll achieved, the suspension of retirement benefits, significant administrative cuts and a renewed commitment to God-honoring stewardship means we will be open this fall and the mission of Hannibal-LaGrange University will endure,” Harrison said. “To God be the glory!”
Ray Carty, HLGU’s vice president for institutional advancement, said, “In the last two months, God has used people to bless Hannibal-LaGrange University. People are responding to the work God has yet to do at HLGU. We’re still looking for support through August, but we are encouraged that people see God’s work being done at Hannibal-LaGrange.”