Historically Black College In ‘Desperate’ Financial Situation


LeMoyne-Owen College, the city’s only historically Black institution of higher education, must raise $1 million by the end of June to meet operating expenses, according to a school official.

“It is absolutely critical,” says board chairman Robert Lipscomb. “It’s essential that we meet that current obligation. It would be used to cover operating expenses.”

Facing a debt of at least $6 million, LeMoyne-Owen was placed on probation in December by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, primarily because of its financial situation.

“I think we’ve got to save the school at all costs, because of what it means historically to the city, what it means now and what it means to the future of the city,” Lipscomb says.

“I think [the situation] is desperate, but if the community rallies and says that this asset, this college is important, Memphians can rally and save this school,” he adds.

LeMoyne-Owen faces other problems as well.

Jim Bishop, an alumnus and strong donor to the private school, resigned from the board last week. He was replaced as chairman by Lipscomb, also an alumnus and the chief financial officer for the City of Memphis.

The school’s faculty also recently delivered a vote of “no confidence” in LeMoyne-Owen President James Wingate and his senior vice president, Sheila Fleming-Hunter.

Associated Press

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