Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Birmingham-Southern College Closing

 Birmingham-Southern College will close when the current semester ends in May.  Reverend Keith Thompson, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the college, announced yesterday: 

As Chair of the Board of Trustees of Birmingham-Southern College, it is my sad duty to let you know that BSC will cease operations on May 31, 2024.

The Board of Trustees voted unanimously to close the College after a 2024 bill designed to amend the 2023 legislation that established the loan program on which our future depended failed to win sufficient support in the Alabama House of Representatives. Without that funding, the College does not have the resources to continue.

This is a tragic day for the College, our students, our employees, and our alumni, and an outcome so many have worked tirelessly to prevent. We understand the devastating impact this has on each of you, and we will now direct our efforts toward ensuring the smoothest possible transition for everyone involved.

BSC leadership has already begun detailed planning for students who will be forced to transfer to other institutions as well as those who had planned to complete degree requirements this summer. Individual meetings will be scheduled when students return from spring break.

BSC will also offer as much help as possible for employees, almost all of whom will be displaced by May 31, with the rest to follow over the summer.

Between now and the end of spring term, BSC will continue normal operations, including classes, athletics, and extra-curricular activities. Forward Ever Day, the Grad Expo, Honors Day, Capping, and Commencement will happen as planned, and we are working on plans for meaningful events for alumni prior to closure.

We know everyone will have questions, and we are committed to providing the answers. More information for students, families, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the College has been posted at and will be updated as details become available.

Today is also a terrible day for Birmingham, for the neighborhoods who have surrounded our campus for more than 100 years, and for Alabama. Through this challenging year and a half, we have talked a lot about BSC’s more than $90 million annual economic impact on Alabama, with $68 million of that right here in our city. Beyond that loss – which is enormous -- the loss of a nationally ranked liberal arts college that has contributed so much to this state and to the world – and still had so much to give – is incalculable.

What Happened in Montgomery?

Over the last 18 months, BSC has exhausted every option to obtain the loan through the Distressed Institutions of Higher Learning Revolving Loan Fund, which was established by the Alabama Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Kay Ivey in June 2023.

The original Act put the State Treasurer in charge of the program, for which BSC met the statutory qualifications. After months of delay, the Treasurer denied the loan in October 2023.

On February 6, the College’s legislative champions – Sen. Jabo Waggoner ’60 and Sen. Rodger Smitherman – introduced a bill to amend the 2023 Act. That bill, which moved the administration of the loan program to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education, added a layer of review to ensure the state’s position, set the loan terms, and specified a time frame for approval or denial, passed the Alabama Senate on March 5.

On March 20, through the efforts of Rep. David Faulkner, the House Ways & Means Education Committee approved a substitute bill that further strengthened the State’s position. Even so, conversations last week with House leadership confirmed that the bill did not have enough support to move forward.

Upon receiving that confirmation, the board meeting was scheduled for today. While holding the meeting during spring break was not ideal, doing so allowed time for trustees to review all options and for those who live outside of Alabama to arrange to be present.

The $30 million set aside in 2023 for the loan program remains unused.

What Comes Next

As Chair of the Board, as a proud alumnus, as the parent of three sons who attended BSC, and as a former member of the BSC staff, I want you to know that I share your heartbreak, anger, and frustration over the devastating loss of this 168-year-old treasure.

I want you to know that Daniel B. Coleman has been a warrior for BSC since the moment he became BSC’s 16th president in December 2018. He envisioned a path forward for the College, worked tirelessly to convince others that BSC could overcome its challenges, and invested his considerable time, remarkable talent, and personal resources in the effort to save it. No one wanted that more than he did.

The Board is also deeply grateful to the College’s senior leadership, who have displayed loyalty, resiliency, and integrity in the face of long odds. It takes uncommon strength to show up every day knowing that the deck is stacked against you, and each day you consistently put your best effort into every task that was before you.

To the faculty, staff, and students who made the decision to stay and chose to join the fight instead of taking the easy path, I am overwhelmed with pride in the way you have carried yourself throughout these difficult times. While the outcome was not what any of us desired, the way you exemplified an indomitable spirit and expressed yourself with integrity consistently demonstrated the very essence of what we were working to preserve.

It is for all of you that my heart breaks, while at the same time it is what you have personified that emboldens my hope for the future of a world with you in it. Throughout this struggle, you have fully lived into this College’s watchword.


Anonymous said...

Evidently the alumni and friends couldn’t or wouldn’t keep the doors open. Sweet Briar nearly closed in 2015 but was rescued by the alumnae.

Anonymous said...

this is a great school-sad day for the Birmingham, Alabama and the region.

Anonymous said...

Well, well. Mississippi isn't the only state in the southeast that puts football above all else.

Anonymous said...

Some in MS need to close.

Anonymous said...

Free market decides... should be that way in everything.

Anonymous said...

Another unknown Alabama college. Like Auburn. Never heard of it.

Anonymous said...

this is a result of over a decade of financial mismanagement, an existing large debt borrowed against the campus (and they wanted another 30 million from the state where they would be the second debtor paid..). and on and on.

i do feel bad for the faculty and staff who had to put up with administrators who ran it into the financial ground- even to the point of taking endowment money to pay for a welcome center..and the students who will have to find a new home. or not.

i work in higher ed. when the administration takes yearly raises for themselves, and makes decisions that are inside, these things t r to happen

Anonymous said...

How far behind this is Millsaps.

Anonymous said...

Top golf coming soon

Anonymous said...

If you bail out a hopeless private school with public funds what happens within the next 20 years when certain public universities hit the inevitable financial crisis? How can you send them packing? They cannot set a troublesome precedent. After all, like Mississippi Alabama is only really committed to the survival of two universities. Guess which two? Alabama? Mississippi?

Anonymous said...

this is huge for MILLSAPS if they don't fumble the bag.

Anonymous said...

If the internet is not lying to me, Millsaps has a little over 600 students and BSC had around 1200.

Millsaps has a large endowment so that buys the school time.

Millsaps, at one time, was where smart kids went to school. Now, smart kids have options that are more generous with scholarship money.

Anonymous said...

Years ago, I met a guy whose job was to raise money for Millsaps. I am a graduate from there. I gave him my contact information, etc. I flat out told him that I would give some money. I never heard from or received any information.

Anonymous said...

I had never heard of this school and had to look it up. UMC-affiliated liberal arts school with a total enrollment of around 1300 and a 10:1 student/faculty ratio. Although it does offer a few traditional useful degrees, it's hard to sell a graduate majoring in art, musical theatre, philosophy, gender & women studies, etc. I would have expected it to close 100 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Hey, 1:50, Aubrun is in West Georgia.

Anonymous said...

1:58...yep, this was Birmingham's version of Millsaps. The old gray mare just aint what she used to be. Like they say "get woke, go broke".

Anonymous said...

Millsaps is actually in a good, stable financial position, and did not borrow money for any of its recent capital projects - the renovation of the Christian Center, the new visual arts building, and baseball improvements. It was all done through good fundraising.

Like a lot of small liberal arts school, Millsaps has enrollment issues, which it continues to address. It's liable to attract some good transfer students from Birmingham-Southern, in fact.

Anonymous said...


They all need to consolidate management and find a way to provide necessary education/ skills to students.

Plumbers, nurses, electricians, teachers, doctors, etc., there needs to be a direct correlation between the education and employment in theory and in a timely manner.

The days of endless money for college are over.

All this does is provide opportunities for people who wish to solve problems.

Anonymous said...

1:15 - this is the result of mismanagement by one leader, who 'left' the university some six years ago. As president, he spent not only operating money but also the endowment, for programs designed to make the campus more
appealing. Once he was replaced, the management - both financial and operational - has been above reproach.

But along with the ridiculous expenditures - and some borrowings - followed by the COVID two years that impacted BSC just as it did multiple other similar institutions, the school has suffered. For those that say the alumni should ante up, they did so last year in support of the state support requested with pledges and payments of over $40 million.

Alabama had a program that is designed and has been used to support similar institutions but for two years the Governor chose to spend those dollars on parks and recreational facilities despite its intent to be used for educational institutions. Last year the legislature stepped in and overrode the Governor's actions with this detailed legislation aimed at this institution. Evidently politics continues to play its ugly head with the Treasurer refusing to approve the loan established for BSC.

This is a loss for Alabama; Birmingham Southern has been a great educational institution; albeit located in what used to be the upper echelon of Birmingham where the steel magnates lived and operated. But as steel declined and Birmingham grew in other areas, it has survived despite its surroundings.

Anonymous said...

Millsaps has lots of empty dorm rooms and parking spaces that can be filled by B-S transfers.

Anonymous said...

@1:50 - certainly you jest. I have two college degrees from State institutions, am not a snob, and even I have heard of Birmingham Southern. Your ignorance is appalling.

Anonymous said...

@3:30 Don't lump Belhaven in there with Millsaps. Belhaven acutally actually has a strong liberal arts program but has degrees that people want ie: business, computer science, nursing, education etc. Garbage degres in women's studies won't be found there. Roger Parrot is very forward thinking. When he became president Belhaven was in bad shape now it is flourishing. All of these leaders should look at him for the way forward.

Anonymous said...

Millsaps is a private college located in Jackson, MS. Other than the reputation of the college, what else is here to draw students in? I know I am stating the obvious.

Anonymous said...

Some of you seem to think Millsaps offers "garbage degrees" only - you're wrong. Millsaps has robust programs in lab sciences, earth sciences, and mathematics, and a close connection to UMMC for pre-med majors. Also, its graduate business school, the Else School of Management, is nationally ranked, with a strong Executive MBA component.

And some of the finest legal minds to come out of Millsaps were English and philosophy majors, where critical thinking and writing is imperative.

Anonymous said...

I graduated from Millsaps in 1990. It was flourishing with around 1200 students and the area was safe as we climbed the fence to go to CS’s. Honors colleges at OM and MSU spelled the inevitable beginning of the end. Go to an SEC University and attend a Millsaps within at a fraction of the cost.

Anonymous said...

These honors colleges purport to provide the same liberal arts experience found at small schools, but don't. A few of the classes are small and the students get the advertised individual attention from full-time faculty, but most of the time you're in a lecture hall with 200 other undergraduates, being taught by graduate teaching assistants.

Anonymous said...

@3:44, you are correct that BSC alums and friends did make those pledges and contributions, but evidently that effort was insufficient. Maybe $100 million in new money could have saved the day.

Anonymous said...

12:32, wow, what a great alum you are.

Anonymous said...

just let these left wing schools die.

Anonymous said...

I once had a scholarship to Millsaps but had to turn it down because they wanted me to go to Clemson or somewhere to "finish my degree."

In other news, some Mississippi colleges are offering scholarships to BSC students:

Recent Comments

Search Jackson Jambalaya

Subscribe to JJ's Youtube channel


Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS