"Huntingdon Tomorrow" campaign part of turnaround at historic college

Cloverdale residents gathered on the campus of Huntingdon College to discuss the college's Huntingdon Tomorrow Campaign.

The ambitious campaign includes new athletic facilities, the renovation of on-campus buildings and the addition of two academic  majors.

It was a campaign few thought possible just six years ago.  The college faced a growing debt and a dwindling enrollment.  The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools placed Huntingdon on probation in 2004.

But things have turned around to the point that the school's finances have stabilized and enrollment is surging.  College officials want to see enrollment return to levels not seen since the Mid 1960s, when enrollment reached more than 1,000 students.

President J. Cameron West said the college needed to return to its roots as a Methodist institution.

"We had to reclaim that, own that, seek the support of the church again," West said.  "Ask the church to support us not only financially, which the church has always done, but to send us their sons and daughters."

And also re-establish its connection to the city it's called home for more than 100 years.

"We had to reclaim our role as an institution which plays its part in the community, to serve the community, to reach out to the community," West said.

Community members at the meeting said Huntingdon has done a much better job of reaching out in recent years.

"They've made great progress...and they got it going in the right direction," said Joe Panza, a Cloverdale resident.  "And with the progressive ideas they have, it will keep going that way."

One of the biggest parts of the Huntingdon Tomorrow campaign is a new natatorium on the edge of campus.  It's intended for use not only by students, but also the surrounding community.

The College continues to raise funds for the campaign, although some of the projects have already started.