Solid financial report, distinctive program initiative highlights of Fall board meeting

Rob Collingsworth | October 29, 2018

President Barry Creamer opened the Fall trustee meeting Thursday, October 25th with prayer and an update on the college’s finances. This included progress on the sale of the college’s Royse City property and news regarding the sale of the college’s stake in its radio station, KCBI, as well as the airtime that up until recently hosted Creamer’s radio show.

According to Creamer, these two sales are a boost to the college’s finances in the short term and free up some of his schedule in the long term. Up until recently, Creamer spent a portion of his time in the college’s on-campus studio recording five shows per week.

Based on reports from the Advancement office, the college saw a 71% increase in total donors from 2017 to 2018 and, excluding gifts from affiliate organizations, over 100% growth in undesignated giving receipts. This is largely a result of first-time events the college has hosted over the last year, including the Criswell Legacy Awards Gala last fall and the Senior Day Celebration in the spring.

Creamer also updated the trustees on the status of the residence hall, which is scheduled to break ground in the spring of 2019. According to Vice President of Finance Kevin Stilley, the most recent architectural concepts show that the dorm will be able to hold well over 100 beds and provide additional streams of revenue for the college.

“The new residence hall not only assists us in fulfilling the mission and strategic plan of the college, but it also provides new streams of revenue that further strengthen our financial model,” Stilley said.

The board was apprised of the college’s progress toward reaffirmation with the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC), as well as a Department of Education review of the college’s financial aid documentation.

Creamer also updated the trustees on two recent initiatives undertaken to increase enrollment, one focused on retention and the other on online programs.

In response to nominations from the Executive Committee, C.O. Preston, pastor of Beth Eden Church in south Dallas, was unanimously elected to his first term as a trustee, and five current trustees were unanimously reelected to three-year terms: Ann Hettinger, Mack Roller, Curtis Baker, Harold Rawlings, and Rod Martin.

Over lunch, the trustees heard from Samuel Hagos, a student and employee, about his recent mission trip to Israel before hearing a presentation from Creamer in which he introduced a new initiative aimed at pursuing a Distinctive Program Model (DPM).

“The opportunity to provide on-campus housing for the first time in the school’s history, the financial resources to make it happen, and the perfect context for bringing it together in urban east Dallas have all emerged in a way we could never have foreseen,” Creamer said. “This is a transformative moment in the life of Criswell College.”

The DPM will create a common student experience utilizing high-impact educational practices to reinforce the college’s core values: doctrinal integrity, service experience, academic engagement, and cultural influence.

“The best part of this approach is being able to not only focus on our mission of educating Christian leaders, but to use that focused commitment to attract ministry-minded students for whom Criswell is the ideal place to flourish as smart, faithful, leading servants,” Creamer added.

The trustees engaged in conversation about the DPM for over an hour before voting to approve the initiative, along with requisite funding to be disbursed in consultation with the board’s Finance Committee.

In chapel, trustee Jimmy Draper preached from Jeremiah 36 to celebrate Founders’ Day, which was held concurrently with the board meeting.