LeMoyne-Owen College back on top of its accreditation - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

LeMoyne-Owen College back on top of its accreditation

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Darcy Thomas / FOX13 News Darcy Thomas / FOX13 News
SOUTH MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Just like Jimmy Chitwood's nail-biter final shot in the 1986 flick "Hoosier," LeMoyne-Owen College chose a Hail Mary seven years ago.

The school was in a financial downward spiral to the tune of $6 million and about to lose its accreditation.

For 19-year-old sophomore Latrice McClorn knowing about the money troubles, and with other college offers on the table, she chose to follow in her mother's footsteps.

"In her sophomore, junior year she got pregnant with me, and so she had to drop out to take care of me," McClorn said. "I chose to attend LeMoyne-Owen to finish what she started."

LeMoyne-Owen's current president, and former student himself, Johnnie Watson, was asked to come out of retirement and help the struggling college.

"We were on probation by our accrediting agency for fiscal instability," Watson said. "Big word was we just didn't have any money."

Watson says getting the college financially back on track was the only priority. He says it took the entire community to stand up and fight for the survival of "the HBCU."

"As long as the means are legal, ethical and moral, let's go for it," Watson said. "The means that we used truly were legal, ethical and moral. As a result people got behind this institution and refused to let us fail."

Watson says the college is now in good standing with accreditation for the next 10 years. He says LeMoyne-Owen also has a surplus for the first time in years. Between the history and strength of this college, even after he retires, LeMoyne-Owen will continue to beat the final buzzer.

"When I retire I will spend my retirement years working for and supporting at no cost to the college this fine institution," Watson said.

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