Trustees of The Baptist College of Florida (BCF) met in Graceville on January 31 and February 1, 2019. “Originally this post-convention meeting was a fifteen minute session held at the site of and immediately following the annual meeting of the Florida Baptist State Convention,” stated BCF President Thomas A. Kinchen. “The only order of business at that time was the election of Board Officers. Several years ago, we moved the meeting to the beginning of the calendar year and began meeting on the main campus in Graceville. The 2019 Post-Convention Trustee Meeting grew into one of the most exciting times of fellowship and business that I have experienced in twenty-nine years at the college.”
The auditing firm engaged by The Baptist College of Florida presented the Audit Report for the Trustees for the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year. In that report, the college received an Unmodified Opinion on the audit. This is the highest rating that can be received. The institution was listed as a low risk auditee. The Board unanimously approved the audit report.
During the report of the Building and Maintenance Committee, the Board received information on the overall conditions of the physical plant and property. A special focus was placed on the recovery activities at the Graceville campus and the Blue Springs site. During the period since the hurricane in October 2018, both the Graceville campus and the Blue Springs site have been utilized for shelter and staging for over 600 military troops, law enforcement officers, disaster relief workers, and various other support personnel. Several families displaced from their homes on the coast are still living in apartments on the campus. Disaster relief crews are still at Blue Springs, but they will be leaving by mid-February 2019. Some Jackson County workers are still serving from the Blue Springs site while their offices are being restored.
Board members received and approved reports on actions of the Executive Committee. The Executive Committee is authorized to work on behalf of the Board between regular meetings. Executive Committee actions approved by the entire Board included the establishment of a “Scholars in Residence” program in which students studying and residing on campus may receive special financial assistance aimed at their housing costs. The establishment of a “Merit Scholarship” program that will enable qualified students living on campus to receive increasing aid as they move toward graduation. According to the BCF President, this program can be described best as “The longer you stay, the less you pay.” Trustees also approved a “comfort animal” policy and procedure for the campus.
At the conclusion of the meeting, President Kinchen shared his vision for the future development of the college. This included greater integration of the Graceville campus and the Blue Springs site. Details as to how that will be accomplished are being developed and will be shared with the Board of Trustees at their Annual Meeting in May 2019. The visionary statement also focused on the future growth of the institution in an environment identified by constant change. The advent of technology based distance education has changed the landscape, and BCF is no exception to this shift in delivery systems. Integrating the growth of online distance education with the enhancement of on campus programming presents both challenges and opportunities. The BCF President challenged Board Members to “Dream Big and Trust Our Lord’s Direction.” Kinchen will present a Special Report to the Board of Trustees at their Annual Meeting in May 2019.