AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - “Defend the Den.” That’s the slogan for Paine College’s 2019 homecoming celebration. Members of the Lions community say it hits home after dealing with accreditation questions over the past few years.
A judge ruled in the schools favor on Friday, February 8, which gave the institution accreditation under both SACS and TRACS. Students, alumni and staff say the ruling could not have come at a better time, especially with Defend the Den as the slogan for this year’s homecoming. “It’s very fitting,” said men’s basketball head coach Darryl Stinson. Longtime Lion, Keith Brown, echoed Stinson, saying, “A perfectly pitched, perfectly picked slogan for this year’s homecoming.”
Looking back on the past few years, Brown said, “Certainly it’s been disheartening. It’s been challenging times.” After two and a half years of back and forth, the school and community are excited for the good news. Brown said, “The people continue to have hope and are very excited about the new news where SACS has decided to reinstate Paine College.” 2019 Mr. Homecoming, Roger Clark, Jr., said, “We just feel like what we’re doing is being recognized by more and more people, so it couldn’t have happened at a better time for us.” 2019 Miss Homecoming, Secret Wagner, added, “Right, and you want to be that one to represent our school in the best light that we can.”
Keeping SACS accreditation means the school also stays in the NCAA, which is even more good news, as that can be a deal breaker for some student-athletes. Stinson said, “That helps a lot with recruiting. Being able to say that first of all, we’re an accredited institution, but second that when you come here and you graduate from here, your degree actually means something.”
While there is a lot to celebrate at this year’s homecoming, the Lions community said it’s more important than ever to continue to support the school.