IN THE NEWS: Dolores Cross, former president of the struggling Morris Brown University (Ga.) has been indicted by the federal government for defrauding the school, the U.S. Department of Education, and hundreds of students. Cross, who became president of Morris Brown in 1998, is accused of going on a personal spending spree that squandered money on additional household staff and trips for herself, family and friends, and then hatching a $5 million fraud scheme with the financial aid director to ease some of the school's debt. She and Parvesh Singh are accused of running a scam that had unwitting students applying for financial aid to attend the school. Almost $1 million came into the financial aid office and was used for expenses. Students, though, began receiving notices that they were responsible for the loans. Morris Brown also received a $9 million line of credit from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce when Cross arrived. Within the first six months under Cross' leadership, the school had spent $4.8 million, but failed to meet the loan's requirement to make deposits to the account. Cross, who now lives in Chicago, defends her tenure with Morris Brown. Both she and Singh insist they are not guilty of fraud. Morris Brown, once a school with an enrollment of 2,500, now has 150 students. The school continues to work to regain accreditation, but still carries $27 million in debt... A part-time janitor stunned administrators at the University of Great Falls (Mont.) with his $2.3 million posthumous gift. Genesio Morlacci, who died at the age of 102 this fall, was a former dry cleaner who sold his local business before going to work at the university. The gift, no doubt made possible by the proceeds of the sale of the business and smart saving, is the largest the school has ever received... Daniel Goodwin, chair of the board at Northeastern Illinois University, went beyond the call of duty when he donated $400,000 of his own money to settle a three-week faculty walkout. This donation will be apportioned so that $100,000 will be applied to the faculty contract over the next four years, allowing faculty to receive a 3.5 percent pay raise. The faculty's union had earlier rejected a 3 percent increase.
APPOINTED AND PROMOTED:
David Potter, the outgoing Higher Education Commissioner, becomes the president of North Georgia College and State University this month. Potter has held the commissioner's post since 2003. Prior to that he was president of Delta State University (Miss.) for four years... Saint Mary's University of Minnesota has selected Brother Craig J. Franz to be its next president. He succeeds Brother Louis DeThomasis who has led the university for 21 years. Franz has been president of Saint Mary's College of California...Lawrence Rouse, the former dean of students at Johnston Community College (N.C.), has been named president of James Sprunt Community College (N.C.)... Alverno College (Wis.) has selected Mary Meehan to be its next president. Meehan, who will be the first lay president of the private, Roman Catholic college, has been the vice president for administration at Seton Hall University (N.J.)... Washington & Jefferson College (Pa.) has picked Tori Haring-Smith to be its next president. Most recently she has served as vice president for educational affairs, Willamette University (Ore.)... Trinity College (Conn.) installed a new president this fall, after sustaining several years of interim leadership. James Jones, former president of Kalamazoo College (Mich.), succeeded Richard Hersh who resigned in 2003 amid complaints from students and faculty about his plans for Trinity... Thomas Shepherd will be the next president of Ross University (Ill.) and executive vice president of DeVry Inc. He has been president of Bastyr University (Wash.)...C. Peter Magrath, president of the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges and a former president of the University of Minnesota, will leave the association next year. He will become a senior advisor to the College Board... Jeffery Mills has become vice president for university advancement at Monmouth University (N.J.). He has been vice president for university advancement and president of the alumni association at the University of Maine.