A Report for the Alumni of St. Andrews University

By St. Andrews Alumni Council

Causeway at St. Andrews in Laurinburg, NC
Photo by Martin Brossman

Our alma mater’s academic lineage dates to 1896 with the founding of Flora Mcdonald College in Red Springs, NC and includes the 1958 merger with Presbyterian Junior College to form the lake-centered campus we know as St. Andrews. We, members of the 2021-2022 St. Andrews Alumni Council, have engaged with board members, students, faculty, staff, investment professionals and independent financial auditors to gain a greater understanding of the present status and the future of St. Andrews University, a branch of Webber International University since 2011. In efforts to dispel misinformation, clarify confusion, and foster a greater interest in supporting the university through philanthropic alumni giving, we are sharing this information with you because we know your support is necessary to maintain and improve the fiscal health of St. Andrews. We are proud graduates of St. Andrews, and we attach our names to the information provided in this report honestly and sincerely. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to Gary, Heather, Wally, Robin, Janice, Bill – or any other member of the St. Andrews Alumni Council.  Our goal is to provide financial and in-kind support for St. Andrews and encourage other alumni to do the same.

Update Points 

  • Curricular Innovations: One of the most important and significant changes at St. Andrews is the implementation of 14 new academic programs in the past two years. Please take a moment to read the impressive Curricular Innovations list below. These programs are designed to fill unmet needs in our communities and the higher education landscape, improve enrollment at St. Andrews, and improve student retention. With current, on-campus enrollment at a ten-year high, this innovation is working to achieve incremental improvements. Developing such programs and working with our accrediting agency to have each program approved is a major undertaking. St. Andrews continues to successfully connect the liberal arts to career education. There has not been a single academic program eliminated since 2011. Rather than being mutually exclusive, the new career programs are attracting more students to St. Andrews, and, in turn, enrolling more students in liberal arts courses across the board. This major accomplishment was possible in large part due to obtaining professional consulting services and implementing the best practices from thriving liberal arts institutions.
  • COVID: Since the start of the COVID pandemic, student financial need has increased as well, with allocations from the CARES and HEERF Acts intended to remedy some, but not all, of the student financial needs. St. Andrews alumni can provide direct support for students who face leaving their studies due to a financial crisis.
  • Diversity: The student body at St. Andrews shows the greatest diversity at the school to date, reflecting similar trends in the overall population as well as owing to new programs with more universal appeal. The faculty and staff, too, represent greater diversity than at any time in our history.  
  • Liberal Arts: St. Andrews remains a liberal arts school with liberal arts and critical thinking at the core of all old and new academic programs. St. Andrews General Education (SAGE) is still the curricular foundation at St. Andrews, regardless of campus or major. For those of us familiar with the long-standing business, pre-veterinary, and education majors at St. Andrews, we know what it is like to have career training with a liberal arts education at the core.
  • Admissions: While published admissions requirements have changed very little since the 1960’s, from 2018 to 2020, compared to prior data available, students at St. Andrews have 20% higher SAT rankings. The Vice President of Enrollment Management, Brian Stanley, indicates we can expect to see continued increases in standardized test rankings.
  • Extension Campuses: As with our more established extension campus program (first envisioned in 1963 and realized with the opening of the Pinehurst campus in 1991), new extension campus programs are in space that has been essentially donated – leased for $1. There is a general expectation with the new campuses that when these extension programs grow, they will begin paying normal rent. At all campuses, SAGE remains at the core of a St. Andrews degree.
  • Faculty: The faculty still consists of full-time, part-time, and adjunct professors, with no major shifts to move instruction to fully part-time or adjunct instructors. Click here for a summary. In fact, the number of full-time faculty members has increased by 41% since 2011. Forty-one percent of the current full-time faculty have served St. Andrews for a decade or more, and nearly half of those long-time professors were with St. Andrews in the previous century. While all faculty hold advanced degrees, the percentage of terminally degreed (e.g., PhD, DBA, EdD) full-time faculty has increased from 45% to 65% since 2011. More than half of our faculty members holds a degree from one of the top 5% of colleges and universities in the U.S., and one in seven received one of their degrees from St. Andrews.
  • Campus Held in Trust: The St. Andrews campus, buildings, land, and all associated mortgages, were assigned to a trust by the previous president, Paul Baldasare. This trust is managed in Laurinburg by a professional whose family history of philanthropic support for St. Andrews dates back to Flora McDonald and Presbyterian Junior College and includes service on the first St. Andrews Board of Directors. St. Andrews makes lease payments to the trust, and the trust uses that to pay the mortgages. This structure serves to improve the financial standing of St. Andrews.
  • Investments: St. Andrews has several investment accounts which were previously reclassed by independent financial auditors as investment accounts, rather than one endowment fund.  Several of these various investment accounts are held at external institutions designated by the donors. At the present time, these funds total roughly $9.6 million.
  • North Carolina Representation on the Board of Trustees: Webber International University now has two people from North Carolina on the board, Fred McCoy and Bill Rinker. Fred McCoy’s family has supported St. Andrews and our predecessor institutions for over 125 years. Bill Rinker is an alumnus, long-time Alumni Council member, and past Alumni Council president.
  • Renovations: Campus renovations continue because of the significant commitment of college president and fellow alumnus Dr. Keith Wade and interim campus president Dr. Ellen Bernhardt. Specialized legal counsel has been retained to help us interface with FEMA. It is important to note that work on the St. Andrews campus is further complicated by the governmental emergency management system itself, the historical landmark designation of the campus as a mid-Century modern architectural treasure, COVID, and unpredictable construction costs. The Board of Trustees recently approved borrowing an additional one million and one half million dollars to allow for additional upgrades to the restoration and update of the former cafeteria and kitchen. Vardell and Avinger renovations are complete and look exceptional. The new nursing lab is well equipped, and a new exercise physiology lab is planned. Repaving is happening all over the campus. New investments in grounds keeping are creating noticeable results. A new and improved wi-fi system covers the campus well. Pate, which is now used in part as a residence, has Toshiba air conditioners in each room. As budget and donations allow, dorm renovations are occurring, most noticeably in Wilmington. Upgrades are planned for Piper’s Café including the introduction of Starbucks. The recent $75,000 Cannon Foundation grant has been designated for classroom modernization and has been turned over to the faculty who will decide how the funds will be appropriated.
  • Reputation: In 2021, St. Andrews continued garnering noteworthy accolades.
    • St. Andrews earned the 2021 Guidestar GOLD Transparency Seal, putting it in the top 5% of the 1.8 million registered non-profits for transparency regarding financial details, the board, staff, and other demographics.
    • The Washington Monthly ranked St. Andrews in the top 15% of bachelor’s colleges nationwide.
    • Best Value Schools ranked St. Andrews among the best value colleges and the best value MBA programs in North Carolina.
    • See other recent accolades.

It’s Time to Support St. Andrews and Our Students! Will You Join Us?

At the present time, St. Andrews has to raise 20% of the annual operating budget from philanthropic dollars in order to balance the budget. Giving records indicate that St. Andrews was raising nearly 40% of the annual operating budget from private gifts in 2000. Alumni gifts are critical, especially for small institutions such as St. Andrews[j7] . Will you join us in providing financial support and allowing a new generation of students to benefit from their St. Andrews experience? Will you continue the tradition from which you have already benefited? Just as the nature of our college’s past was determined by donors, the nature of St. Andrew’s future will be shaped by your donation and engagement. Please, will you join us? Please support St. Andrews today. Learn more.

Curricular Innovations

New Programs at St. Andrews

Department of Health Sciences

  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing
  • RN (Registered Nurse) to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing)
  • Bachelor of Science in Occupational Therapy Assisting with a minor in Health Services Administration

Department of Sport Studies

  • Bachelor of Science in Sports Performance, Health and Fitness
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sport Management
  • Bachelor of Arts in Sport Management with a concentration in Esports Management

Department of Business and Economics

  • Bachelor of Arts in Health Services Administration
  • Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration with a specialization in Criminal Justice Management

Department of Education

  • Bachelor of Arts in Secondary Grades Education with a 9-12 Licensure
  • Master of Arts in Education:  Instructional Design and Curricular Supervision (online)

Department of Interdisciplinary Studies

  • Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies with a concentration in Pre-Doctor of Physical Therapy

Department of Natural and Life Sciences

  • Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science in Biology with a specialization in Biomedical Sciences
  • Bachelor of Arts in Forensics, Specialization in Psychology
  • Bachelor of Arts in Forensics, Specialization in Chemistry