SUMTER, S.C. – Morris College was recently awarded funding from BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina to support institutional needs as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds totaling $850,000 will be used to aid the college in offering virtual learning for the fall 2020 semester and provide immediate assistance to students.

“We are extremely grateful to Mr. David Pankau, president, and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina, for this generous contribution. The pandemic has presented the college with a unique set of challenges. However, our students remain our top priority and these funds will help us meet their most pressing needs,” said Dr. Leroy Straggers, president of Morris College.

COVID-19 has drastically impacted Morris College students and their families. As a result, some students have struggles to procure basic necessities such as housing and food. Because 89% of students at the college quality for PELL grants, financial assistance can make all the difference in whether they will continue their education.

The pandemic has made the need for technological advancements at the college even more necessary to ensure that faculty, staff, and students are given adequate tools for successful online learning. Various upgrades and enhancements are already underway to include a complete overhaul of the college’s network infrastructure and Wi-Fi system, a new online learning platform, and laptop computers and mobile hotspots for students to use.

Funds will be used to support the college’s e-learning platforms, e-learning tools, training and certification for faculty, tuition-based scholarships, devices and hotspots for virtual learning, and hardship grants for students.

BlueCross BlueShield is the only South Carolina-owned and operated health insurance carrier and has operated in the state for over 70 years. President and CEO David Pankau indicted that he looks forward to an on-going relationship with Morris College.


About Morris College
Morris College was founded in 1908 by the Baptist Educational and Missionary Convention of South Carolina to provide educational opportunities for Negro students in response to the historical denied of access to the existing educational system. Today, under the continued ownership of its founding body, the College opens its doors to a culturally and geographically diverse student body, typically from the Southeast and Northeast regions. Morris College is an accredited, four-year, coeducational, residential, liberal arts and career-focused institution awarding baccalaureate degrees in the arts and sciences and in career-based professional fields. For more information, visit

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