Newberry College renews partnership with USDA

Matthew Finley, director of athletics at Newberry College, Mayor Foster Senn and Thomas Louis Boyd, city councilman, talk during the celebration.

Michele Cardwell, acting state director and community programs director for USDA Rural Development, speaks to the crowd about the importance of rural America.

NEWBERRY — Newberry College has renewed its relationship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture by refinancing all long term debt with the department.

The college celebrated the project along with the officials from the USDA Rural Development and local and state government officials.

“The USDA gave us a new loan and paid off our previous bank loan. The USDA loan will be fixed payments, which allows us to plan the budget much better,” said Kathy Worster, vice president of Administrative Affairs and chief financial officer for Newberry College.

This is not the first time Newberry College has worked with the USDA, Worster said. The college has had a long relationship with the USDA. In 1979 the college took out a loan with the USDA to upgrade the mechanical structure of Smeltzer Hall.

The college also went to the USDA in 1981 to build Eleazer, the P.E. complex, and in 1982 to renovate MacLean Gymnasium. These loans will be paid off over the next decade.

This funding comes from USDA Rural Development. Michele Cardwell, acting state director and community programs director for USDA Rural Development, spoke on the importance of rural America.

“We all know that a healthy American economy depends on a prosperous rural America and the Obama administration is committed to ensuring that America’s rural communities are vibrant and thriving economically,” Cardwell said. “Today, too many of our small towns are struggling. Rural Americans earn less than their urban counterparts, and are more likely to live in poverty. President Obama cares deeply about building stronger future families in rural communities and has directed the rest of the administration to be deeply engaged in revitalizing rural communities.”

The USDA Rural Development’s investment in Newberry College is approximately $20 million. This project utilizes two of their programs, Community Facilities and Business Programs to fund the project. Over the past seven years USDA Rural Development has invested $62.5 million into Newberry County.

“The primary goal to USDA Rural Development is to provide funds through our programs to support businesses, build homes and infrastructure. Our Community Facilities program has been utilized by schools, colleges, churches and other groups to build and improve facilities that serve the community,” Cardwell said.

The USDA Rural Development’s Business Programs provides financial backing and technical assistance to stimulate business creation and growth. The programs work with both private and public community based organizations and financial institutions to provide financial assistance, business development and technical assistance.

“Newberry College is investing in the education of the next generation and by helping to fund projects, like this one, Rural Development is sending the message to young people today and letting them know that there is a future in rural America for them and their future families,” Cardwell said.

Mayor Foster Senn expressed his thanks for what the USDA is doing for Newberry.

“I am so proud of Newberry College, a lot of young, bright, caring students at Newberry College,” Senn said. “I am bias here, but I think this is one of the best cities and rural counties here in South Carolina.”