The Chronicle of Higher Education
By Kate Moser
When debt forced Bishop College to close in 1988, alumni
of the historically black institution in Texas had no campus
to call home. Twenty years later, Bishop alumni are
beginning to rally around their adoptive home, tiny
Georgetown College, a mostly white institution nestled in
Kentucky horse country.
Georgetown's president, William H. Crouch Jr., proposed
the idea to Bishop alumni two years ago: Georgetown could
stand in as their alma mater, and they could help the
president fulfill his goal of increasing minority
enrollments from 7 percent today to 25 percent in 2012.
Mr. Crouch has raised money for a campus building that
will include a nod to an iconic bell tower on the old Bishop
College campus, and he hired minority-owned firms to design
and construct it. But the challenges have gone beyond the
He convinced members of an all-white fraternity that
their tradition of dressing up in Confederate uniforms for
"Old South" week in the spring would no longer be
appropriate. He also enlisted "cultural advisers" to help
him better understand black culture.
"It's a rare time when you see a white male say, 'I don't
know,' and that's why I love him," says one of Mr. Crouch's
advisers, William C. Parker, a retired University of
Kentucky administrator and expert in diversity training.
Mr. Crouch has won praise for his efforts. "To know that
our school has been closed 20 years and to be able to revive
that history and legacy at Georgetown is a tremendous
blessing," says the Rev. Denny D. Davis, a Bishop alumnus.
Mr. Davis's niece, Ashley D. Carter-Colwell, is one of
five students benefiting from a new scholarship for children
and grandchildren of Bishop alumni or students nominated by
alumni. Bishop's name will be on her diploma, and her
brand-new letter jacket — designed by a fellow Bishop
scholar — features a lamp of knowledge from the defunct
college's insignia. Now Georgetown's football coach wants
his team to have the jackets, too, she says.