CBC receives grant, launches online degree program

Two big announcements were made earlier this week at Central Baptist College – a $750,000 challenge grant and an online degree program.

About 100 community leaders, CBC staff and faculty and members of the Conway Area Chamber of Commerce attended a press conference Monday morning at the college.


CBC President Terry Kimbrow welcomed those in attendance and detailed Vision 2020: A Miracle in the Making – a plan to complete 10 major projects in the next 10 years to accommodate an enrollment of 2020 students.

Kimbrow noted that in the last six years the enrollment at CBC has nearly doubled. More than 850 students are expected to attend the college in the fall.

In support of Vision 2020, Kimbrow announced that the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation of Tulsa has awarded Central Baptist a $750,000 challenge grant that will help fund the construction of a 38,000-square-foot academic building and the renovation and expansion of the existing library building.

The two projects are the first of 10 major construction projects in Vision 2020.  

“We made application to the Mabee Foundation for financial assistance on the two combined projects because they are both tied to the first phase of Vision 2020,” said Kimbrow.  

The new academic building will allow the relocation of the current administration offices, now housed in a building shared with the J.E. Cobb Library. When the administrative side is vacated, the renovation and addition to the library will more than double the current floor space.

Though not required by the Mabee Foundation, the second floor of the new academic building will be named in recognition of the Foundation’s continued support. CBC has received three other grants from Mabee over the years, the most recent one for $250,000 in 1996 during the successful capital campaign that raised money to build the Mabee Student Services Complex.   

“We are extremely pleased to receive this challenge grant from the Mabee Foundation,” Kimbrow said. “We have long enjoyed a great partnership with the Foundation.”  

The challenge grant of $750,000 will be paid to the College provided the institution raises the balance needed for the two projects, estimated at $8,610,000.

“We currently have a little over $6 million in contributions and commitments to Vision 2020.  Our task in the next year is to raise an additional $1.8 million from other contributors to receive the Mabee grant.”

Construction on the new building is scheduled to begin this fall and is expected to be completed in time for the 2012 fall semester. The library renovation and expansion will follow.


Starting in the fall, CBC will offer an accredited online degree program accredited though The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.  Though the institution has offered classes in the distance delivery method for quite some time, CBC will now offer students the ability to earn their entire degree online from the regionally accredited college.

“The primary purpose of offering distanced-delivered courses and programs at Central Baptist College is to provide access to students who cannot attend face-to-face classes on campus,” said Dr. Gary McAllister, vice president of academic affairs at CBC. “Some live too far from campus, and others have scheduling conflicts that prevent them from taking the classes they need. Distance-delivered courses can resolve these issues.”

According to Kimbrow, the online program marks the culmination of two years of preparation. He also noted that the online studies department will be housed in the new academic building.

“Now you can start and complete your accredited degree program from anywhere in the world,” Kimbrow said.

CBC Online is convenient and flexible for adults with busy lifestyles. The program offers students a way to study or learn on a flexible schedule. It is also convenient for students with children, full-time jobs, who live far away or are on the mission field.

The slogan for the new degree program is “college at your convenience.”

Online degrees that will be offered are an associate of arts in general education and bachelor of science in leadership and ministry.

“Approval of our online studies program by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools is a major accomplishment for CBC. It will have a profound impact upon the institution,” Kimbrow said.

Active recruitment and enrollment are now under way in preparation for the first online degrees. Prospective students may visit www.cbc.edu/online for more information or call 501.329.6872, ext. 168.


Brad Lacy, chief executive officer of the Conway chamber, and Jack Bell, assistant to the mayor, spoke at the press conference, congratulating CBC on the accomplishments.

According to Lacy, the chamber – which is celebrating its 120th anniversary – has always been tied to the community’s educational institutions. He said the announcements were “good news for Conway.”

Lacy also discussed the economic impact the CBC announcements would have on the community, explaining that the college would be “exporting” education and “importing” dollars into Conway.

“We look forward to the next 10 years and seeing what CBC is going to do.”