Voorhees College looks to expand

Voorhees president Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers speaks at the Town and Gown event.

Voorhees president Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers speaks at the Town and Gown event.

First Byline: 
Laura J. Mckenzie - Publisher

An elegant evening was held at the Voorhees College president's campus home recently that was an attempt for college leadership to reach out to the area business community.
The "Town and Gown" was held the evening of Thursday, Oct. 3, in Denmark. It combined a mild fall evening with catered food, a performance by select members of the VC choir, and social interaction with a pitch for support.
"We are in the process of looking at some expansion that will allow us to work toward increasing our enrollment to over 1,000 students," said Voorhees President Dr. Cleveland L. Sellers. Currently Voorhees has a student population of approximately 600.
He noted the college has an annual budget of $20 million and 150 employees. "We make a tremendous economic impact" in Denmark and the Bamberg/Barnwell counties area, he said.
"We recognized that economic impact and if we expand, we will have a greater impact," said Sellers.
He said college leadership envision a "robust community of 1,000 students" that will have a positive economic effect on the area.
But, to do so, Sellers and others need the support of the community.
Guests included leadership from local and area businesses, industries and politicians.
While no one was asked directly for a donation, Sellers indicated financial support for Voorhees could have long-term positive effects on the community.
Voorhees board chairman .... Guess related how other rural communities similar to Denmark have thrived "on the backbone of their college."
He said Bamberg County currently has a "declining population" but "we have the economic engine to reverse that if we take the steps to do so."
He said the Town and Gown was an initial get-together that he hopes will turn into a periodic "think-tank forum" for growth.
College officials said the school has maintained its Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation and boasts of 16 majors and non-traditional degree programs. One such department is a cyber-technology department to train students on cyber security.
They said they want to work with local businesses and industry to grow the college and, in turn, grow the community.