Lambuth's President Bill Seymour addresses Memphis Conference
Dr. Bill Seymour, Lambuth University President
I am writing this letter to all of our friends in the Memphis Conference the day after a terribly difficult decision was made by the Lambuth University Board of Trustees. That decision was that Lambuth University would cease its academic operations June 30, 2011. While this was the decision that nobody wanted to see happen, it was the correct decision for the Board to make. Given our financial condition and the likelihood that our accreditation would be lost there really was no other decision that could be made. In the end, a decision had to be made so our students, faculty and staff could begin a process of making plans that would be in their best interest.
The first concern for the Board was the well-being of our faithful and loyal students. They authorized the administration to develop what SACS calls “teach-out” agreements. These are specific agreements with other colleges or universities that provide avenues for students to transfer easily, to maximize the acceptance of their credits earned, keep them on-track for their expected graduation date and keep their educational costs similar to what they are paying at Lambuth. We have four colleges that have pledged to develop these agreements with us. This includes Martin-Methodist College so our students will have an option within the United Methodist Church.
The Board also authorized the administration to continue working with colleges and universities that have an interest in acquiring the Lambuth campus. This is very important for several reasons. First, we want to make sure that we continue an educational mission on this campus. The Church initiated this mission 168 years ago and to the extent possible we want to make sure that heritage is continued forward. Second, a purchase of the campus would provide funding that will cover the debts and liabilities of Lambuth University and enable for the proper dissolution of the school. Third, we want to make sure that this campus continues as a valuable asset for the Jackson-Madison County area. This campus is a crucial component of the LANA area as well as the vitality of our overall community.
Sharing the news of this decision was very difficult and as you can imagine there was a great deal of emotion from everyone who loves Lambuth. The most incredible story from yesterday was the spirit shown by our students and our faculty and staff. As heart-broken as they were they loudly voiced they love for one another and this place that means so much to them. Everyone’s focus was on taking care of each other; expressing their faith in God and thanking him for the opportunity to be a part of this special community. The Lambuth family is truly inspirational.
On April 30th we will be blessed to graduate yet another class of seniors. I have a feeling that occasion will be more special than any of us can imagine. Rev. David Hollis (’04) will be our Baccalaureate speaker at 10:00 am. Rev. Dr. Paul Clayton (’57) will honor us as our Commencement Speaker.
The transition ahead will continue to be difficult for everyone connected to Lambuth University but we will continue to persevere with honor and integrity. Please know how much we appreciate the love and support that we receive from the Memphis Conference. You are the people who gave us birth and nurtured our beloved Lambuth all of these year. While it is sad that this chapter comes to an end for Lambuth I know God is pleased with what we have done here for everything has been to serve him and glorify him.
Whatsoever things are true,
Dr. Bill Seymour
8th President of Lambuth University