ARPTalk 120 – Congratulations to Paul Kooistra: President, Erskine College


Congratulations and a tip of the hat are due to President Paul Kooistra of Erskine College & Seminary. When Erskine was placed on probation by SACS because of financial considerations, it was anticipated that Erskine would be on probation for at least two years. SACS’ auditors penalized Erskine for its history of excessive draws on the endowment in order to balance the books. As you recall, the Erskine administrators were required to demonstrate that they could operate the institution on budgets that did not exceed a 5% draw on the endowment. Last year, ignoring SACS’ instructions, Erskine operated on a 7% draw on the endowment, and, at the end of the year, in order to balance the books, the board passed a motion that allowed for “restricted” monies to be reclassified as “unrestricted” and transferred as income: thus balancing the books and showing a modest gain. The budget for this year is framed on a 5% draw on the endowment; however, it has yet to be demonstrated that the administration can operate Erskine within the boundaries of this year’s budget with its 5% draw on the endowment.

In the midst of questions being asked about financial practices by board members, while continuing to operate under the cloud of financial exigency, with the resignation of two influential board members in the last four months and with no explanations as to why forthcoming, with brewing uncertainty and instability regarding the seminary’s continuance, with many on the board and in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church questioning the wisdom of President Kooistra’s proposal for launching an expensive football program in Due West in two years, and with uncertainty as to whether the budget can be met in 2015/16, President Kooistra was able to talk the SACS people into removing the sanction of probation on Erskine.

Indeed, congratulations and a tip of the hat are due to President Kooistra. He is a magician! What else can he pull out of his hat?

These are my thoughts,


Charles W. Wilson

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  1. Rick Barnes says:

    Launching a football program certainly will be expensive initially, but should pay off with big bucks in the future…since they don’t have to pay million dollar contracts to the players.

    On a more important note, maybe SACS has more confidence in Dr. Kooistra than they do in Erskine itself. He does have a proven track record of financial responsibility.

    Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and may you enjoy a blessed new year.
    Rick Barnes

    • Chuck Wilson says:

      Merry Christmas Rich Barnes,

      Concerning your comment about football, are you being sarcastic?

      There’s no money in football for small colleges like Erskine. Small colleges like Erskine use football as a recruiting tool in order to fill dorms. The initial cost of football is high, and it doesn’t subside in the years that follow. There was a financial reason why Erskine dropped football in 1954. Financially, the program was a battleship anchor. And football is still a battleship anchor!

      Don’t be naive. The folks at SACS don’t know Paul Kooistra. What he did at MTW is irrelevant to them. SACS is a secular organization run by secularists from institution like George, Florida, North Carolina, UNC, Emory University, and other such universities. Erskine is small potatoes.

      At this time, Kooistra’s feat looks like magic. At some point, the lights will be turned on and, perhaps, we will see how he worked his magic. Presently, his record at Erskine does not demonstrate financial responsibility, unless transferring funds from one fund to another fund is financial responsibility.

      Nevertheless, he has pull off what most on the board thought was impossible, and a tip of the hat is his due.

      Warmest regards for a blessed new year,

      Chuck Wilson


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