In a bit of good news in a landscape in which many Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) are facing tough times, a trustee from Morris Brown College announced on Thursday that the school has “victoriously emerged from bankruptcy.”
Morris Brown Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Rev. Dr. Preston W. Williams II released a statement on the 6th District AME church’s website expressing “great joy and thankfulness” that the school is on its way to solvency. Williams also noted that this is a “bittersweet” moment in the school’s 134-year history.
Williams statement reads in part:
Morris Brown College’s Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization has been approved by the Bankruptcy Court. This action, approved at a confirmation hearing yesterday, and confirmed by a signed order of Judge Barbara Ellis-Monro today, will allow the college to exit bankruptcy and move forward to regain its accreditation.
This is a bittersweet ending to a long and complex process. Bitter, because we had to sell property that had historical significance to many people. Sweet, because we emerge from bankruptcy fully functional and current with all of our debt obligations. Thus, as is the case with much of life, we must accept the bitter with the sweet and keep pressing forward.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution reports that Morris Brown filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization in August 2012 to prevent foreclosure and sale of the school at auction. The AJC reports:
As part of the bankruptcy proceedings, the college sold 26 acres of property and buildings to InVest Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church for $14.7 million, but retains ownership of the school’s administration building, Griffin Hightower Classroom building and Fountain Hall.
Friendship Baptist is one of two churches that sold to make way for the future $1.3 billion Atlanta Falcons stadium just steps from the Morris Brown property.
Williams said the college has remained in operation throughout the Chapter 11 reorganization process, and received financial support from alumni, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, trustees, staff and faculty.
Williams also confirmed that Morris Brown is scheduled to graduate 21 students on May 16, 2015.