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Benedict College Receives the 2019 ACE/ Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation

Columbia, SC – March 11, 2019 – The American Council on Education (ACE) announced today that Benedict College in South Carolina is a recipient of the ACE/Fidelity Investments Awards for Institutional Transformation. Presented at ACE2019, ACE’s 101st Annual Meeting, the award will be accepted by President Roslyn Clark Artis on behalf of Benedict College. The University of South Florida (USF) is the only other recipient of this award.

The award was created to recognize institutions that have responded to higher education challenges in innovative and creative ways and achieved dramatic changes in a relatively brief period. It includes a $10,000 prize. 

“Through strategic thinking and measured efforts, University of South Florida and Benedict College have both transformed their campuses to better prioritize student success, scholarly achievement, and innovation,” said ACE President Ted Mitchell. “Thank you to Fidelity Investments for its generous support, which allows us each year to recognize colleges and universities that are meeting challenges head-on.”

“Together with ACE, Fidelity is honored to celebrate higher education institutions helping students succeed on campus and in life,” said Patrick Vaughan, senior vice president, managing director, and higher education practice leader, Fidelity Investments. “These schools have proven that a clear vision of serving students can put an institution on a path to sustained success.”

ACE invited nominations and applications for the award from any U.S. college or university eligible for ACE membership, divided into two categories: the first for institutions with student populations of over 5,000 (USF), and the second for institutions with student populations of up to 5,000 (Benedict).

Founded in 1870 by Bathsheba Benedict, Benedict College is a private, designated historically black college and university serving 2,100 students in Columbia, South Carolina. Years of downward trends in enrollment, poor retention, and a modest endowment created significant financial instability, which was further exacerbated by an aging infrastructure; increased competition in student recruitment; a traditional tuition-only business model that left little room for innovation; and academic and degree programs that were not aligned with industry expectations.

Upon President Artis’ appointment in June 2017, Benedict started assessing these issues while formulating a five-year strategic plan for sustainability and growth. Beginning by gathering insight from key stakeholders, Benedict then eliminated long-standing open enrollment, strengthened career development opportunities, lowered tuition, revised the curriculum to align with the industry and focus on innovation, created a strategic and dedicated enrollment management division, increased first-year student support, and reduced debt. 

“When I joined Benedict in the fall of 2017, I coined ‘The BEST of BC’ to acknowledge the college’s rich legacy, and to point toward creating a community of excellence, scholarly achievement, and talent development that embraces technology and innovation,” said Artis.

By the summer of 2018, applications increased by 20 percent and admissions by 14 percent. Benedict welcomed over 750 new students in fall 2018–the largest class in five years. It also transformed into a fiscally stable institution, despite lowering tuition.


About Benedict College

Benedict College will be a leader in providing transformative learning experiences for a diverse student body, defined by superior cultural and professional competencies that are nurtured and developed by faculty, staff and stakeholders who value innovation, customer service, community and industry engagement.

Founded in 1870, Benedict College is rapidly approaching its 150th year of providing high quality academic programs to students who desire to pursue their program of study in a diverse academic environment. While its history is laudable, Benedict’s present focus and strategic trajectory are its priority.

Benedict College is a BEST in class academic institution that offers its students transformative academic programs, in an innovative, technology enhanced, student focused, culturally sensitive learning environment. The College is committed to preparing students to enter the global marketplace with exceptional cultural and professional competencies that will enable them to contribute to the sustainability and economic growth of their communities. 

For eight straight years, Benedict College has been ranked one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly Magazine for creating social mobility and producing cutting-edge scholarship and research. Benedict offers 24 high demand academic programs, including, Computer Science, Engineering, Cyber Security, Mass Communication, Sport Management, Business Administration, Criminal Justice, Biology and Education. Moreover, over the past ten years, sixty (60%) of BC alumni have pursued graduate or professional study.

In addition to its academic programs, Benedict College is home to a standard-setting Career Pathways Program that is strategically designed to prepare Benedict College students for success in a rapidly changing, highly competitive and technology driven workplace. The Program’s mission is to transform student scholars into focused, highly skilled critical thinkers, who are experts in their field of study and, more importantly, are intellectually adept and resilient enough to assume jobs that do not yet exist!


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