EDITORIAL: PC Promise Pricetag: $60.42 Million (loan) w-fund-raising sidebar

SIDEBAR: Giving tops $6.4 million PC FUNDRAISING EXCEEDS YEAR’S GOALS PC alumni, family and friends contributed more than $6.4 million to the College last fiscal year, which ended June 30. “We are grateful to those who helped the College carry out our mission,” said Jacki Berkshire, PC’s vice president of advancement. “You graciously supported current and future PC students, and we cannot thank you enough.” The total raised during the year includes $1,462,700 for the Annual Fund. These private gifts exceeded the fund’s overall goal of $1,350,000. The funds raised support: --Academic, athletic and need-based scholarships --Academic, nutritional and travel support for student-athletes --Technology upgrades in the classroom --Research opportunities for students PC’s first-ever Giving Day on May 29 helped make this year such a success. Overall, more than 400 new donors and 450 young alumni gave to the PC Fund and Scotsman Club throughout the year. Contributions to the PC Fund totaled $823,329. This amount exceeded the goal of $805,000 and surpassed last year’s contributions of $805,381. The PC Fund provides unrestricted dollars that support the greatest current needs of the College. Scotsman Club members contributed $511,811 in all. This total exceeded the $500,000 goal and was slightly ahead of last year’s contributions of $511,375.  Scotsman Club members had the opportunity to choose to support Blue Hose student-athletes by giving to the Scholarship Fund or the Student-Athlete Experience Fund. Altogether, donations to the Scotsman Club help student-athletes in the classroom and on the playing field. Pharmacy Fund donors contributed $27,278 to help PC School of Pharmacy students care for the community. Specifically, these donations provide research opportunities for pharmacy students. From January to June, those in the Alumni Office and in the Office of Advancement traveled throughout the Southeast to share PC’s new strategic plan with alumni, friends, and families of the College. And the PC faithful responded in a big way: Those who showed their financial support for the Promise of PC contributed $100,282. The Promise of PC shows the College’s commitment to ensure student success and to grow strategically. “The strategic plan focuses on what PC has focused on since the College was founded: the success of our students,” said PC President Bob Staton. “Thank you to everyone who gave to the Promise of PC campaign and to the Annual Fund overall this year.” To learn more about giving to PC, visit, www.presby.edu/giving

Blue Hose Nation now knows The Promise pricetag, thanks to a July 10 public hearing conducted by the Laurens County Council. A couple PC people were there to do the hearing. No one was there to do any speaking.

So, we must presume, everybody is OK with The Promise of PC - its new dorms on the old football field and its non-scholarship football. Of course, we know that’s not the case, but what’s done is done.

Looking at the pricetag of more than $60M - Presbyterian College is borrowing the money from the Jobs-Economic Development Administration, which has a pot of money that colleges and universities can tap into, rather than going to a bank - we see why PC had to retain that $4 million a year it was paying - no, wrong word - investing in football players (first home game: Sept. 15). 

That money will be needed for the loan repayment.

Even though there was no one there to express an opinion, pro or con, about our local college’s economic future, here’s what the more than $60M will pay for: 

-- construction of a 144-bed student housing facility;

-- acquisition of the east quad of the campus;

-- renovation of Springs (student) Center and student housing in Laurens Hall and Bailey Hall;

-- refinancing of prior indebtedness for the School of Pharmacy; and

-- payment of costs of issuance of the bonds.

“All facilities financed or refinanced by the Bonds will further the charitable purposes of the Borrower and College, respectively,” the public hearing notice says. In addition to or instead of attending the public hearing, anyone interested in this project can submit written comments to:

-- SC Jobs-Economic Development Authority, 1201 Main St., Suite 1600, Columbia, SC 29201; or

-- County Council of Laurens County, 100 Hillcrest Square. Laurens, SC 29360.

Recognize, of course, that the county council does not have a dog in this fight. It is giving no money to Presbyterian College - it did make an investment a while back in parking lots at the PC School of Pharmacy in Clinton. Still no word if any other county investments are ever going to come Clinton’s way (ie, a library). The county’s only function was to have a public hearing - and on July 24, to adopt a “resolution of support” for PC borrowing $60.42 million from the federal government - yes, THAT, multi-trillions in debt federal government. The money that PC will borrow will pay for a project that will create 11 jobs, and is considered “essential” to preserving another 350 jobs. We in Clinton are glad to have them.

Repaying the note will never be a Laurens County responsibility. It will be PC’s responsibility - more specifically, the Presbyterian College Real Estate Foundation’s responsibility.

Aside: Just a note about Public Hearings: Laurens County Council is having one about its $30 million budget on July 24th, and the District 56 Board of Trustees is having one about its $24 million budget on July 30th. Now that the State Budget is passed, all the other budgets can (finally) fall into place. The county budget will raise property taxes a little; the D56 budget will raise property taxes not at all.

So, why did the Laurens County Council have to conduct a public hearing about Presbyterian College? We don’t know - it’s some government thing.

And, why was the advertisement about the July 10 public hearing published in The Laurens County Advertiser? Oh, yes, PC is “Laurens County’s College.” Actually, it has something to do with “a newspaper of general circulation.” Clinton needs one of those.

There are dark forces at work that want to make it possible for public/private entities to publish their public notices on-line. Stuck there among the Facebook, Presidential Twitter, cute cat videos, and cave-trapped soccer players from Thailand, there’s “your” college borrowing $60,420,000. Show up for a public hearing, if you want to.


(Find out more about The Promise of PC in an on-line statement and digital version of the PC Magazine at presby.edu)


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