If you’d like, for a moment, to escape the bustle of a new semester at the still freshly merged Georgia Regents University Augusta, we’d invite you to the other side of 15th Street, where a pair of new leadership appointments could be signaling the start of a brighter era for Paine College.
It has been a tough past couple of years for Paine. Questions over allegations of financial improprieties have threatened the school’s accreditation. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges sanctioned Paine last year and this year regarding use of federal and student aid – allegedly diverting education money to past-due bills and payroll, and failing to return unused federal aid for students who withdrew.
Now, two newly appointed leaders aim to turn the school around.
Edward Patrick, Clark Atlanta University’s former controller, is Paine’s new vice president of administrative and fiscal affairs. Samuel Sullivan is Paine’s provost and vice president of academic affairs – posts he had held on an interim basis since March.
Mr. Patrick’s 20-plus years of finance and accounting experience will be applied to Paine’s complicated financial situation. Dr. Sullivan’s mission also lies comfortably within his area of expertise: charting paths for student success. He aims to draw higher-achieving students to campus and to expand the college’s research opportunities.
Paine’s students and faculty couldn’t ask for two better people to guide them to greater accomplishments.
We hope Paine’s financial problems can be resolved with all deliberate speed. Anyone who cares about one of Georgia’s oldest colleges should want to know precisely what happened at Paine and how it will assure that it won’t occur again.
Paine cannot be allowed to fail. Its cultural and economic impact is too important to Augusta. The college that has produced such figures as acclaimed author Frank Yerby and civil rights leader Joseph Lowery deserves the opportunity to recover from its difficulties, and it deserves the unswerving support of the entire community to help make that happen.