news at welch college
Welch College (formerly Free Will Baptist Bible College) in Nashville, TN, has been the official college of the Free Will Baptist Denomination since 1942. To find out more information about the school, visit their website.
Choral Union Hosts Christmas on Richland Avenue
Welch College hosted Christmas on Richland Avenue, Friday, December 5. The annual presentation by the Department of Music is an ongoing part of the Sarah Lacey Nicholas artist series, named after long-time Welch music faculty member. The event features a performance by the Choral Union, which consists of current students, Welch staff, and a number of alumni singers, under the direction of Mark Lancaster.
This year, the Choral Union presented Johann
Sebastian Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. The performance was followed by Christmas carols with audience participation and three additional anthems from the Choral Union. One of the anthems was a beautiful medley arrangement of “Silent Night” and “Away in a Manger” by Dr. James M. Stevens, chairman of the Department of Music for 11 years.
“The most enjoyable and endearing part of the fall semester is Christmas,” said President Matt Pinson. “I always enjoy the beautiful decorations, the campus Christmas celebrations, and students strolling around the campus and neighborhood caroling. This is all a part of Christmas on Richland Avenue.”
College Signs Contract to Sell Campus
Welch College has signed a contract to sell its campus on West End Avenue to Forestar Group Inc., an Austin, Texas-based real estate firm. Matt Pinson, president of Welch College, reports that 7.14 acres of the 7.6-acre campus will be sold for approximately $12 million. The lot containing Welch Library is not included in the sale.
Welch College was established in 1942 in a single building on Richland Avenue. Pinson noted the College’s long history in the area. “We were founded here 72 years ago, long before the Richland-West End area became one of Nashville’s most appealing neighborhoods. We recognize the pride our neighbors have in this community and are happy to have a buyer that intends to engage in meaningful dialogue with them about future plans for the property.”
Pinson continued, “We are pleased with the purchase price and are delighted to be under contract with Forestar. This firm is noted for taking a smart approach to master planned neighborhoods aligned with the needs of the larger community. They bring a sensitive vision of how to transition the existing college campus back into the residential neighborhood in a manner that fits within the historic overlay and current zoning criteria.”
Representatives plan to meet during the next few weeks with Metro Councilman Jason Holleman and neighborhood leaders to initiate discussions and to set a framework for identifying and addressing community concerns. Pinson said the College is also working with the Metro Historical Commission regarding Welch Library, the stone wall along Richland and Craighead Avenues, and other historical features of the property. Pinson also noted that the College would continue to operate at its current location until construction has been completed on its new 66-acre campus in Sumner County.
Brentwood, Tennessee-based Land Innovations assisted the College with land use analysis and worked with Sisco & Farris, LLC, a licensed Tennessee real estate firm, to match the property’s highest uses with a qualified buyer.
The College purchased property for the new campus in 2008 to accommodate the school’s growth in academic offerings and enrollment. “Escalating property values and zoning regulations make it impossible for us to expand the West End campus,” Pinson added. “In an increasingly competitive environment, we need larger dorm rooms, more green space, environmentally sensitive and technologically sophisticated facilities, and other student-friendly features only a new campus can make possible.”
The contract calls for a June 2015 closing. Before that time, the buyers will complete inspections and perform other due diligence related to the purchase of the campus.
Bob Bass, relocation project consultant, said, “If the contract process proceeds as planned, we will begin transferring certain lots and buildings to the new owners soon after the closing. The core portion of the campus, including academic buildings, library, gymnasium, auditorium, dormitories, dining facilities, and the student center will continue to be used by the College during a lease-back period of 18 months.”
The College has secured Focus Design Builders of Wake Forest, North Carolina, to build the new Sumner County campus. Read the full news release at www.welch.edu.
FORUM15 | Bible Conference Announced
Welch College recently announced the annual FORUM15 | Bible Conference March 8-10. The meeting for pastors, youth workers, church leaders, and students will focus on Authentic Spirituality and feature a wide array of speakers, according to President Matt Pinson. “Forum15 will challenge listeners to go deeper in their faith, making their relationship with God the highest priority in their lives.”
The slate of speakers includes: Donald Whitney, professor of biblical spirituality and associate dean of the school of theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky; Michael Haykin, professor of church history and director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies, Louisville, Kentucky; Robert Coleman, distinguished senior professor of Discipleship and Evangelism at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, South Hamilton, Massachusetts; Robert E. Picirilli, author, theologian, and professor emeritus at Welch College; Barry Raper, chair of Pastoral Ministries at Welch College; and Corey Minter, lead pastor of New Hope Free Will Baptist Church, Joelton, Tennessee.
Sponsored and hosted by Welch College, the event will take place March 8-10, in conjunction with the annual Bible Conference. Although Forum15 is free, attendees are invited to attend a ticketed Tuesday luncheon with Donald Whitney catered by Chuy’s Mexican Restaurant.
Alumni Association Announces Fundraising Project
The Welch College Alumni Association has announced its latest fund raising project. The goal of the project, called Sound Forth His Praise, is to raise $75,000 to fund a new college choir and ministry team recording and new sound equipment for the Welch College traveling ministry teams and auditorium. The Alumni Association hopes to reach this goal in the next two years according to Mike Edwards, association president.
Over the past decade, the association has raised over $250,000 for various college-related projects, including $105,000 for the Bert and Dianne Tippett Alumni Scholarship.
For more information about the Welch College Alumni Association and to get involved, visit www.welch.edu/Alumni or email Mike Edwards: firstname.lastname@example.org.