COLUMBIA, SC – (September 2, 2020) Benedict College was recently awarded a $2,725,000 gift from BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina (BCBS). The funding is part of BlueCross BlueShield’s corporate citizenship commitment to help provide immediate financial support to the state’s five private four-year Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that have experienced hardships due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The devastation wreaked by the coronavirus on individuals, families, businesses and communities has been amplified among South Carolina’s vulnerable and minority populations” said, David Pankau, President and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. “It has been well reported that the coronavirus revealed our minority communities encounter profound disparities in many ways. At BlueCross, we believe healthy communities are defined not only by access to health care services, but also by the fostering of opportunity that comes from education, employment and the potential for an improved quality of life for everyone.”
At Benedict College, the investment will support technology enhancements, student scholarships, faculty development and e-learning certification; hardship grants for students, devices and hotspots for virtual learning, and enhanced health and wellness services in addition to general operating budget relief. Prior to this award, BCBS provided a generous donation of cloth and N95 face masks to support Benedict’s COVID-19 campus safety plan.
“Benedict College is grateful for the support of BlueCross BlueShield of SC during this extremely challenging time” said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President and CEO of Benedict College. “The communities served by Benedict College – overwhelmingly low wealth, first generation, minority populations – are among those most profoundly impacted by COVID-19. This generous donation will go a long way towards addressing the technology challenges and faculty development needs. Most importantly the gift includes resources to support the complex physical and mental health needs of our students.”
“This academic year will be extremely challenging and unlike any other the College has ever experienced. However, with the investment and support of community partners like BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, we are certain that we will not only weather the storm of the COVID-19 pandemic, but emerge even stronger once it has ended” said Leandra Hayes-Burgess, Vice President for Institutional Advancement.
About BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina
Headquartered in Columbia, and operating in South Carolina for more than 70 years, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. The only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier, BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina comprises more than 20 companies involved in health insurance services, U.S. DoD health programs and Medicare contracts, other insurance and employee benefits services, and a philanthropic foundation that funds programs to improve health care and access to health care for South Carolinians.
About Benedict College
Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution with over 2,100 students enrolled in its 25 baccalaureate degree programs. Defying trends, Benedict College maintains an equal male and female student population. This Midlands HBCU welcomes students from all 46 counties in South Carolina, 30 states across America, and 26 countries around the world.
Benedict offers several high-demand fields of study in STEM, Cyber Security, Mass Communication, Sport Management, Business Administration, Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, and Education. The College also has a diverse faculty of which 80 percent are full-time, and 60 percent hold doctorates or the equivalent.
Over the past ten years, three out of five Benedict College graduates have attended professional or graduate schools. There are over 17,000 proud Benedict Tigers throughout the nation. Benedict College has been a community leader for over 150-years and is a significant contributor to South Carolina and the region. Contributing $130 million and 1,218 jobs in total local and annual economic impact, a Benedict graduate working full-time throughout his or her working life can expect to earn $1.1 million in additional income because of their Benedict College degree.
The College made front-page news in the spring of 2018 when it became the first South Carolina college to lower its tuition by 26 percent. Cutting tuition drew praise from the Commission on Higher Education, South Carolina’s education oversight body. The commissioner noted that the move Benedict College made should be applauded because it offers families affordability and students greater access to higher education.
Benedict College has been highly regarded and exceptionally ranked for its programs by several academic and traditional publications. For example, Benedict College was ranked as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine for creating social mobility and producing cutting-edge scholarship and research. In 2019, Benedict College received the 2019 ACE/ Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation and was named the HBCU of the Year by HBCU Digest. Benedict College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award baccalaureate and masters degrees. Five of the College’s degree programs hold national accreditation: The School of Education, Social Work, Environmental Health Science, Arts and Sciences and the Tyrone Adam Burroughs School of Business and Entrepreneurship.