HBCU praise report: Morris Brown College emerges from bankruptcy

Bishop Williams
Bishop Preston W. Williams II

Morris Brown College filed for bankruptcy in August 2012 with roughly $30 million in debt, more than half was owed to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Since that announcement, the HBCU which sits on a 37-acre historic campus, has been targeted by investors and developers. On Thursday, March 26, the institution announced they’ve emerged from bankruptcy, “victoriously.”

Chairman of the board of trustees the Rt. Rev. Dr. Preston W. Williams II, 6th District A.M.E. Church, writes in an on open letter on the website:

… it is with great joy and thankfulness to Almighty God that I announce to you that Morris Brown College is officially emerging from bankruptcy. Morris Brown College’s Chapter 11 Plan of Reorganization has been approved by the Bankruptcy Court. This action, approved at a confirmation hearing yesterday, and confirmed by a signed order of Judge Barbara Ellis-Monro today, will allow the college to exit bankruptcy and move forward to regain its accreditation.

This is a bittersweet ending to a long and complex process. Bitter, because we had to sell property that had historical significance to many people. Sweet, because we emerge from bankruptcy fully functional and current with all of our debt obligations. Thus, as is the case with much of life, we must accept the bitter with the sweet and keep pressing forward.

The college has been represented in the bankruptcy court by Anne Aaronson with the law firm of Dilworth Paxson, LLP and has utilized the services of Renardo L. Hicks, from the law firm of R. L. Hicks & Associates, as its General Counsel. The filing of the Chapter 11 Reorganization was initiated in August of 2012 and has enabled the college to settle more than 30 million dollars of indebtedness with secured and unsecured creditors.

As a part of the bankruptcy proceedings, the college sold assets through the 363 sale process, in a transaction with InVest Atlanta and Friendship Baptist Church, selling approximately 26 acres of properties and buildings to receive $14,700,000. The college retains ownership of the Administration Building, the Griffin Hightower Classroom building and the historic Fountain Hall, on six acres of land.

Morris Brown College has remained in operation throughout the Chapter 11 Reorganization process and continues to receive significant financial support from alumni, the African Methodist Episcopal Church, the Sixth Episcopal District of the AME Church, trustees, faculty, staff and administration. Twenty-One (21) students are scheduled for graduation on May 16, 2015 in the annual commencement program.

I would like to thank each and every person who supported Morris Brown College by providing their professional expertise, financial support, and prayers as we have tirelessly worked our way through this challenging process. Now our focus is to grow Morris Brown College into the proud and productive institution of higher learning that God would have her to be. Therefore, please continue to support Morris Brown College both spiritually and financially so that together we may continue educating our youth, who are tomorrow’s leaders, to the glory of God.

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