SBU establishes community concert series and scholarship endowments with estate proceeds

BOLIVAR, Mo. — Southwest Baptist University is establishing a concert series endowment and music scholarship endowment with the proceeds of an estate gift from the Blanche Wallen Trust. The University’s Board of Trustees voted to establish the endowments during its regular meeting April 20. 

The Blanche Wallen Community Concert Series Endowment will help fund the Community Concert Series that SBU started in 2018. The Concert Series was started to fill a cultural void in the Bolivar community left by the dissolution of Bolivar Live on Stage. Through the Concert Series, SBU can bring national and international guest performers to the SBU and Bolivar communities. 

“We are so thankful for Blanche Wallen and the generosity she has shown to our award-winning music program at Southwest Baptist University,” said Interim President Dr. Brad Johnson. “Blanche lived in Neosho, Mo., and was actively involved in a lifetime of ministry through her church. The provision she made in her estate will bless students, faculty and staff, as well as the Bolivar community, throughout the years to come.” 

The Blanche Wallen Scholarship for Musical Excellence endowment will provide about $10,000 in scholarships annually. 

In other business, the Board: 

  • Approved future board meeting dates of Oct. 18-19, 2021; April 11-12, 2022; and Oct. 17-18, 2022.
  • Adopted a preliminary 2021-22 budget of $60.8 million. The final budget will be passed during the October 2021 trustees’ meeting and will be based on a thorough review of the current data related to fall enrollment.
  • Approved the continuation of post-retirement benefits. The Board must vote on this annually.
  • Voted to establish a third-party fraud hotline for the University, per the recommendation of the University’s independent accounting firm, BKD.
  • Voted to renew a current line of credit with Mid-Missouri Bank. The line of credit is used for cash management purposes during certain parts of the fiscal year when cash flow is constrained.
  • Approved use of Future Fund Endowment earnings for faculty computer purchases.
  • Voted to induct Dr. Wayne and Mrs. Diana Hutchins into the SBU Philanthropy Hall of Fame. 

In his opening remarks to the Board of Trustees, Johnson spoke about the Great Commission initiative “SBU Global.” This initiative is coordinating and expanding the University’s work with the Center for Global Connections, the Intercultural Studies program, study abroad, and an imperative to meet the needs of international students when they arrive on campus. 

“The Great Commission talks about us going into all the world to share the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Johnson said. “SBU goes into all the world better than any university I know. Between 300 and 400 students every year are sent out on mission. If you look across Southern Baptist institutions across the nation, you will be hard pressed to find any institution that does more or does it better. 

“What an honor to be a part of such a great University and we should pause to celebrate this is a wonderful place and the people who have invested their lives here to accomplish our mission. And as we go into all the world, the world is also coming to us through our international students.” 

*Published: 4-21-2021