Tuesday, November 15, 2005

What If?

What if? It is one of my favorite questions to ask in towns as I see what happens over time from decisions that have been made in the past. For example: What if Advance Foods had decided to locate in some other OK town, instead of Enid? How much different would Enid be today, with 1800 fewer employees?

As I was touring the community with Dr. Jim Strate and Teri Holle of Autry Tech we drove by Phillips University, or what used to be Phillips University. Today the campus has become a branch campus for one of the state schools.

Phillips was started in 1906 as a Disciple of Christ College and was a vibrant part of Enid until it closed in 2002, due to continuing losses and mounting debts. When they closed, they sold off all of the assets. One painting, which sat behind the president’s desk at the college, was sold for more than the total debt of Phillips! The proceeds from the art collection would have not only paid off all debts, but also provided an endowment that could have supported Phillips for years into the future.

What if someone had thought to look into the value of the art collection prior to making the decision to close? Are there any assets in your town that you might be overlooking?

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