Judson College in Marion to Close after 183 Years
In what it calls a “heartbreaking” decision today, the Judson College Board of Trustees has voted to close the 183-year-old institution. The Christian college was founded in 1838 and had been the fifth-oldest women’s college in the country.
It was also home to the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame.
In a statement posted online, college officials say:
“The news is a somewhat unexpected end to the five-month emotional roller coaster for the Judson community following the hopeful report from the Board on April 2. But after several multi-million-dollar fundraising efforts since December 2020 and the exploration of potential mergers and other options, new developments during the first few days of May forced school officials to prepare the board for the reality of Judson’s financial situation.”
The board had approved a budget for the 2021-2022 school year, with the hope that new donors would help close Judson’s operating deficit. But the money never came in.
Enrollment had dropped from 145 to about 80 students, with 41 seniors graduating last Friday. Only 12 new students had been confirmed for Fall 2021.
The statement says:
“The continued financial strains caused by all of these factors, said Judson President W. Mark Tew, came to a head when one of Judson’s creditors called the note on a loan, which was due (and not renewed) two days before the May 6 scheduled Board meeting.”
The board voted today to suspend academic operations and move through an orderly closing through a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Board will create a five-member committee from its Executive Committee to work with administration and bankruptcy counsel as it moves through its transition to closure.
Addressing the board, Tew said, “We know this was the right decision, but there is not a person here whose heart isn’t broken over this. I share the heartbreak of this decision that is felt by generations of Judson students, faculty, and friends.”
According to Tew, a shutdown with a small number of employees will follow in the coming months.
Judson will suspend its academic operations after the summer term ends July 31. Residence halls will close as scheduled after the May 2021 summer term.
The College will assist each student in preparing transfer plans, taking into consideration their majors, remaining hours to graduation, and institutional preference.
Judson says it will make every effort to provide assistance in employment transition and give as much notice as possible for its employees.
The college’s alumnae and friends who made statements of future financial support for the 2021-2022 academic year will not be obligated to complete their gifts.
PREVIOUS JUDSON COLLEGE COVERAGE FROM ALABAMA NEWS NETWORK:
Dec. 17, 2020: Judson College Faces Uncertain Future
Dec. 28, 2020: As 2020 Comes to a Close, Judson College’s Future Looks a Little Brighter
Dec. 29, 2020: UPDATE: Judson College’s Future Remains Uncertain
Dec. 31. 2020: Judson College Will Open for Spring Semester
Jan. 20, 2021: Students, Faculty and Staff Back on Campus at Judson College
Mar. 4, 2021: Judson College Launches $5 Million Fundraising Campaign to Keep Doors Open
Mar. 9, 2021: Judson College Still Facing Uncertain Future