Arkansas Baptist College announced this morning that Fitz Hill will step down as president of the small historically black institution in central Little Rock at the end of August. He’s headed the school for a decade.
ABC’s news release praised Hill for his leadership and said he will lead a “new venture at the college” but was unclear about the nature of that venture:
In the coming months the Board of Trustees will establish the parameters regarding Hill’s new leadership roles with the Arkansas Baptist College Foundation and within the College. While specifics are yet to come, it is evident that Dr. Hill will continue working to enhance the financial stability of the College while also elevating the recruitment and retention efforts of the institution.
UPDATE: A tipster tells us that Hill will be in charge of development for the college, though ABC hasn’t officially confirmed that.
The college has faced serious financial problems for years, and at points has found it difficult to pay its bills. In December 2014, ABC was awarded a $30 million federal loan that allowed it to refinance its capital debt.
Today’s press release noted that Hill’s contract as president would have lasted for another four years, until 2020. ABC Board Chair Beth Gladden Coulson said the board is in the process of selecting a search committee for a new president.
The school’s announcement made some acknowledgement of ABC’s financial struggles but also pointed out Hill has grown the school significantly during his tenure as president:
In December 2014, ABC refinanced 100% of its capital debt for 30 years at 2.68% interest rate resulting in a substantital savings for the College’s operating budget which during Hill’s tenure has increased from $2 million to as high as $21 million. Primarily, this increase was the result of record enrollment that soared from less than 200 students to nearly 1,200. Private fundraising efforts during President Hill’s tenure are nearing $20 million. In May 2015, the College graduated the largest class (163) in its 131 year history.
With such growth, ABC has experienced significant milestones; however, the College has also navigated the challenges often associated in higher education, specifically financial challenges relating to Historical Black Colleges and Universities.