HANNIBAL (HLGU) – Last week, Hannibal-LaGrange University (HLGU) students joined with faculty, staff, administrators, community members, local church pastors and leaders from the Missouri Baptist Convention in a time of solemn assembly.
John Yeats, executive director of the Missouri Baptist Convention stated, “The dire financial and institutional situation at Hannibal-LaGrange University is too big for humanistic responses, so we are compelled to begin with our faces to the ground in fasting and prayer.”
Prayers of repentance were offered for pride, bitterness, and failures of stewardship. The following day HLGU trustees met to plan for the University’s future. Following this season of prayer, campus leaders and the HLGU Board of Trustees enacted measures to ensure the future for HLGU despite present challenges.
Vice President for Academic Administration Robert J. Matz stated, “God is moving at HLGU and is providing a path forward for the University. Unexpected new partnerships with local healthcare providers and local church associations, potential grants from like-minded organizations, along with a complete restructuring of our budget process provide clear evidence of God’s kind provision for Baptists’ first university west of the Mississippi River.”
While leaders enacted changes that will ensure the future, immediate challenges remain.
“The school faces a significant budget shortfall for this academic year. We call on all Missouri and Illinois Baptists to prayerfully consider how they can best support the University in this time,” stated Matz.
Specific areas of support include financial gifts to continue the mission of the school, skilled volunteers willing to assist with campus operations, prayer warriors calling out to the Lord for His blessing, and recruitment of new students to the wide range of online and on-campus degree programs, each of which integrates a distinctly Christian worldview.
Given current financial shortfalls, transitional president Rodney Harrison has agreed to serve at HLGU without compensation. “My desire for this season of service is to provide God-honoring leadership to ensure the mission of HLGU stays alive,” Harrison stated. “To that end, we have made difficult, but necessary, decisions including drastic cuts to ensure that outcome.”
Harrison has also appointed Robert J. Matz to serve as executive vice president during the transition period. Board members and senior leadership demonstrated their resolve through generous and sacrificial support to the University.
HLGU trustees also voted to refocus the current Strength for the Future campaign to support the overall mission of the school, set tuition and fees for the 2023-2024 academic year, and approved rank promotions to four faculty members. Tim Finlay was promoted to the rank of Assistant Professor of Business, Alyssa Pyne was promoted to the rank of Assistant Professor of Music, Jordan Hosmer was promoted to the rank of Assistant Professor of English, and Courtney Janes was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor of Education.
Stay tuned to future editions of The Pathway in print and online for further coverage of HLGU’s financial crisis.