October 27, 2010 Edition

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WBC's Swaim shares good news

Kiwanis Club member Buddy Cox (left) greets Dr. Jerol Swaim, president of Williams Baptist College, who shared current highlights of the college with members of Kiwanis.
Williams Baptist College's enrollment showed a 10 percent increase over last year, and the total enrollment is the highest number since the fall of 1970. Dr. Jerol Swaim, president of Williams Baptist College in Walnut Ridge, shared these and other news highlights with members of the Kiwanis Club of Walnut Ridge on Thursday.

Swaim noted that the total fall 2010 enrollment is 636. The college's all-time high enrollment of 686 was reached in 1967 during the Vietnam War era.

A major change is the growth in number and percentage of students now living on campus with 400 students (70 percent) living on the campus. "This is like having 400 full-time tourists," Swaim said.

With the increased demand for on-campus housing, plans are underway to construct a 43-bed residence hall, Swaim announced. This $1.5 to $1.7 million project is scheduled to get underway in December.

Another news highlight for Williams is that it has been included in the 2010 top tier of southern college rankings by U.S. News & World Report.

While 82 percent of Williams students come from Arkansas, only 49 percent of the Arkansas students are from Lawrence and bordering counties. International students attend Williams from the countries of Brazil, China, France, Kenya, Montenegro, Netherlands, Paraguay and Peru.

Swaim shared that Williams now offers a total of 25 baccalaureate majors. Forty percent of the students are majoring in one of the eight different education degrees, while 12 percent are majoring in one of the five programs offered in Christian ministries.

Biology/pre-medicine is the fastest growing major at Williams involving 10 percent of the students, Swaim said. Eight percent are majoring in business or psychology.

Williams has a total budget of $9 million for the 2010-2011 college year, Swaim noted. Williams' students are the recipients of $2.1 million in scholarships. The college receives no state or federal funding at all, he added.

With 106 employees, 84 of whom are full-time and 22 part-time, Williams is the equivalent of a large industry. The faculty and staff receive $3.1 million in annual salaries with an additional $670,000 in fringe benefits.

During the last 12 years, Williams has made $16 million in capital improvements to the campus, he concluded.

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