Benedict College will use the $500,000 Grant to Restore Morgan Hall
COLUMBIA, SC, June 14, 2022 – Benedict College will receive a $500,00 grant from the National Park Service to continue its rehabilitation efforts on historic Morgan Hall thanks to an African American Civil Rights grant for the Morgan Hall Preservation Project Phase II. The grant is important in helping to preserve critical narratives of the people, places, and events associated with the African American Civil Rights movement.
“Buildings like Morgan Hall are a rare treasure that contain a wealth of institutional history,” said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President, and CEO of Benedict College. “I am grateful to the National Park Service for their commitment to helping the College to preserve its historic buildings. Built in 1895, Morgan Hall is the former home of five Benedict College presidents and the current home of Institutional Advancement.”
Benedict College, a private, Historically Black College in Columbia, South Carolina plans to use the $500,000 grant from the National Park Service to implement the Morgan Hall Preservation Project II. Morgan Hall is one of five buildings in the College’s Historic District. The district was placed on the National Register on April 23, 1987, and it has played a significant role in the African American civil rights story and the struggle for equality. The structure has distinct characteristics of the late Victorian time-period with a gable and hip roof, wrap around porch, and corbeled chimneys.
The primary goal is to architecturally and structurally preserve the historic resource by mitigating the threat of water infiltration. The objective is to refurbish the close to 50 windows located throughout the building by accomplishing the following activities: (1) repairing chipping and decaying windowsills and frames and (2) weather proofing windows.
Morgan Hall is the oldest of the Historic District’s buildings and was constructed in 1895. Since its erection, Morgan Hall has been the visual representation of Benedict College signifying its founding, the present, and the future. It was constructed with a $9,000 contribution from the American Baptist Home Mission Society and was named in honor of Thomas J. Morgan, a former executive secretary of the American Baptist Home Mission Society and editor of the Society’s influential Home Mission Monthly. Morgan was instrumental in the establishing the technical departments at Benedict. He encouraged HBCUs in to create programs for Blacks to become architects, artists, engineers, and master mechanics. From 1895 – 1965, the building served as home to five Presidents: Rev. Abraham Osborn (1895 – 1911), Rev. Byron W. Valentine (1911- 1921), Dr. Clarence B. Antisdel (1921 – 1930), Dr. John H. Starks (1930 – 1944), and Dr. John Alvin Bacoats (1944 – 1965). Morgan Hall housed classrooms and offices from 1965-1987 and was then closed pending renovations. It now houses the Division of Institutional Advancement, which welcomes members of the community daily.
Benedict College, and subsequently Morgan Hall, played a significant role in the African American Civil Rights Movement and the struggle for equality before, during, and after segregation. The institution’s founding is an example of the pattern of educating newly emancipated slaves after Reconstruction. During the plight of racial discrimination, the institution served as one of the most significant centers of black activities in the city of Columbia.
About Benedict College
Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution, offering 26 competitive baccalaureate degree programs. The 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 and importantly, 80 percent of courses are taught by full-time faculty.
Over the past ten years, three out of five Benedict College graduates have attended professional or graduate schools. There are over 18,000 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 master’s 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