Predominantly White College in Kentucky “Adopts” Black College Which Closed in 1988

In 1881 Bishop College was founded in Marshall, Texas, by the Baptist Home Mission Society. This historically black college was founded primarily for the purposes of “religious instruction” but offered courses in literature, science, and the arts. It was not until 1925 that Joseph J. Rhoads became the first African-American president of the college.

In 1961 Bishop College completed a move to a new campus in Dallas and emphasized a liberal arts education. Degrees were offered in 20 different fields. In the 1970s the college enrolled more than 1,200 students. But the school was always in financial difficulties and the president and two employees were charged with criminal embezzlement. By 1986 the college lost its accreditation and the next year filed for bankruptcy in an attempt to survive by restructuring its large debt load. This effort was unsuccessful and Bishop College closed in 1988. The campus was later bought by Paul Quinn College, a historically black institution which moved to Dallas from Waco.

Now, Georgetown College, a Baptist-affiliated college in Kentucky where less than 4 percent of the students are black, has agreed to “adopt” Bishop College. Under the proposed adoption, Georgetown College will provide land on its campus for Bishop College alumni to erect a building that will be a replica of one on the Dallas campus. The building will be called the Bishop College Center for Academics. Classrooms will be named after faculty members who served at Bishop College. Homecoming events for Bishop College alumni will be held on the Georgetown College campus. African-American students at Georgetown College will be designated Bishop Scholars.

The adoption of Bishop College will enable Georgetown College to claim Bishop alumni as its own. The addition of thousands of black alumni will help Georgetown College reach the minimum requirement for racial and ethnic diversity now required to become a member institution in the Phi Beta Kappa Society.