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ERIC Number: EJ972719
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Jan-8
Pages: 0
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 0
ISSN: ISSN-1931-1362
At Paul Quinn, Students Till the Soil to Cultivate a Better College
Kelderman, Eric
Chronicle of Higher Education, Jan 2012
In autumn, most colleges' football fields are covered with a thick carpet of grass or artificial turf and are adorned with yard lines. But the football field at Paul Quinn College was carved up by plowing and planting. This past fall, portions of the college's gridiron were covered with sweet potatoes, watermelons, peppers, rosemary, and sugar snap peas. While organic gardens have become staples at colleges across the country, the garden at Paul Quinn is a special source of pride for many of the 200 students at this historically black college. The fertile football field is the college's answer to the neighborhood's lack of a grocery store. It's also a rallying point in a battle against Dallas's plan to expand a nearby landfill. Most important, the garden has become a symbol of the college's effort to sustain itself after nearly losing its accreditation two years ago amid a host of financial problems. Since then, President Michael J. Sorrell has worked to improve the quality and quantity of students at Paul Quinn, as well as to increase fund raising and corporate support. The efforts have kept the college from failing altogether, though it is still far from thriving. While Paul Quinn may well lose its battle with the city, the fight has attracted some positive attention for the college, which is improving its financial situation. Fund raising has increased from about $550,000 in the 2007 fiscal year to nearly $4-million in 2010. That included a $1-million gift meant to pay for demolishing more than a dozen campus buildings that were not in use, a step that will reduce the college's maintenance costs. But Paul Quinn's troubles remain significant. It has been on the Education Department's list of financially troubled institutions since at least 2006. And nearly 40 percent of students default on their student loans within three years of graduating, according to federal data. Most troubling, enrollment has increased by only 50 students since the college nearly lost its accreditation in 2009, and is now a little more than 200, a number that's difficult to sustain, especially with an endowment of less than $3-million.
Chronicle of Higher Education. 1255 23rd Street NW Suite 700, Washington, DC 20037. Tel: 800-728-2803; Tel: 202-466-1000; Fax: 202-452-1033; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A