$2M donated to recently accredited historically black college - wave3.com-Louisville News, Weather & Sports

$2M donated to recently accredited historically black college

Posted: Updated:
Celia Jackson Celia Jackson
Tyriesha Doyle Tyriesha Doyle
Ashley Cox Ashley Cox
Sen. Rand Paul and Carl Thomas, president of the Gheens Foundation. Sen. Rand Paul and Carl Thomas, president of the Gheens Foundation.

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Just days after receiving national accreditation, a historically black college nestled just south of downtown Louisville has gained major financial support.

During a celebration publicly announcing the national accreditation of Simmons College of Kentucky, the Gheens Foundation presented the institution with a $2 million check.

[PREVIOUS STORY: Historically black college marks accreditation]

"We have no shortage of very worth applicants that come to see us with great projects and great ideas, but rarely do we see an opportunity like this," said Carl Thomas, president of Gheens Foundation, before presenting the poster-size check.

More than a century in the making, the exciting moment honored the 135-year-old history of the institution founded by former slaves by building an even stronger foundation for its future.

"The accreditation allows us to have more degrees," began Celia Jackson, a junior at Simmons College, "like business administration which would be the degree I would be going for."

Jackson said she fell in love with the historically black college long before its accreditation.

"It's still affordable," said Jackson, "$180 per credit hour. So my Pell Grant covers school."

Costs proved to be a major driving factor for many students, including Tyriesha Doyle.

"I had been accepted to four schools, but I did not have the financial means to go," said Doyle, a sophomore. "I was one of the 25 Simmons Scholars and so that's what drew me to Simmons. What kept me, is the family atmosphere, the small classes, the people I met, and the partnership with UofL. I took some UofL classes and I stayed in the Spalding suites."

While the close-knit campus with a rich history attracted local students, it also drew interests from students abroad.

"When I came to Simmons," said Ashley Cox, a Bahamas native, "they were offering me the same price as the residents here. So, I decided this was the best thing for me."

With the accreditation securing more funding and course offerings, everyone from community members to city and state leaders applauded the effort to lengthen the college's legacy.

"So much good has come out of Simmons College," said Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), "so much that challenged injustice and advanced equality."

Students too celebrated the accomplishment, fully aware of its implications for furthering education for generations to come.

"As one of the official first Simmons Scholars," began Doyle, "I'm a part of history."

"There's no one here taking anything for granted," said Jackson. "It's just amazing!"

In honor of the accreditation and multi-million dollar donation, Dr. Kevin Cosby will host a celebratory service at St.Stephen Church at 7:30 p.m. Monday.

Copyright 2014 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.