The Inspiring Story of Bennett College’s Turnaround: Overcoming the Odds

In the face of adversity, institutions can sometimes rise to the occasion and not only survive but thrive. Few stories embody this spirit better than that of Bennett College. This historically black college in Greensboro, North Carolina, faced dire circumstances and managed to make an impressive turnaround, inspiring everyone who hears their story.

Bennett College was founded in 1873 as a school for newly emancipated slaves. Over the years, it established itself as a prominent women’s college with a strong emphasis on liberal arts education. Despite its rich history, Bennett found itself on the brink of closure in recent years due to financial struggles. The college had to raise millions of dollars in a short amount of time to maintain its accreditation, making national headlines and capturing the hearts of millions.

In late 2018, with accreditation on the line and enrollment numbers dwindling, all seemed lost for Bennett College. But, fueled by an unyielding spirit and commitment to their legacy, the community sprang into action. What followed was a series of fundraising efforts that showed how much people believed in Bennett College’s mission and purpose.

The ‘#StandWithBennett’ campaign began as a social media movement to share testimonials from Bennett students and alumni about what made their college experience special. This marked the beginning of the turnaround narrative, as individuals from all walks of life joined hands to ensure Bennett did not close down. Celebrities took note as well; artist Janelle Monáe performed a benefit concert that raised awareness and funds for Bennett College.

The college administration worked tirelessly on various fronts to secure needed funds. Among these efforts were reaching out to businesses, foundations, churches, and alumni for donations. One significant donation came from High Point University’s President Nido Qubein, who personally contributed $1 million.

By February 2019, against all odds, Bennett College announced it had successfully raised $8.2 million, surpassing its goal of $5 million. It was a remarkable testimony to the resilience and determination of the Bennett community.

The turnaround story of Bennett College is one that resonates with people worldwide, highlighting the power of unity and perseverance in difficult times. Their story reminds us that no challenge is insurmountable when people come together to make a difference.

Today, Bennett College continues to provide quality education and nurture leaders with strong character and values. As an institution, it stands tall as an example of how community efforts can ensure the survival and success of venerable institutions against all odds. The inspiring story of Bennett College’s turnaround offers hope that even in our darkest moments, triumph awaits those who dare to believe.

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