Historic Antioch College to Stay Open: Saved by Amazing Alumni Efforts

Antioch Hall: Antioch College, Yellows Springs (OH)

Earliest Known Photograph of Antioch Hall (1852)

Coretta Scott King (’51) Accepts The Horace Mann Award, Antioch (2004)

Glen Helen: The Antioch College Forest Preserve

Historic Antioch College Saved by Amazing Alumni Efforts

Antioch College won’t be shut down next summer after all. Antioch’s Alumni Board is confident that it can raise the tens of millions of dollars needed to halt the suspension of operations that the trustees had regarded as unavoidable only five months ago. Arthur Zucker, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Antioch University, which oversees the college, announced at a joint news conference with leaders of the alumni group on Saturday that the beleaguered institution would remain open for business beyond June 30, 2008, thanks to a “fantastic and unprecedented” fund-raising effort by Antioch’s alumni.

The 155-year old college, which is located in Yellow Springs, Ohio, is the residential undergraduate division of Antioch University. The agreement is subject to meeting a series of financial benchmarks. The alumni group needs to raise and transfer to the college at least $2-million by next Monday, and an additional $4.6-million in a period of weeks after that, for a total of $6.6-million by December 15. Further, jointly the institution and alumni group must collect additional amounts, $12-million by the end of next May, $26-million by June 30, 2009, and $19-million by June 30, 2010, for the college to remain open.

I think everyone finally agreed that this college is just too important in terms of its place in American higher education, its place in history and its place in our social structure to let it die,” said Steve Schwerner, an Antioch graduate, former professor and former longtime dean of students. He is also a member of the Alumni Board and a parent of a graduate.

The alumni group has already secured $18-million in pledges from its members. “An enormous amount of work remains to be done, but we are energized and ready to rise to this challenge,” said Nancy Crow, President of the Antioch College Alumni Association. “Our goal is nothing less than the regeneration of Antioch College as a leader and innovator in liberal-arts education.”

Holly Zachariah has written a detailed article in The Columbus Dispatch (Ohio) about the new agreement for Antioch to remain open, which interested readers can access here.

Voices of Recent Antioch Graduates

The Previous Announcement of Antioch College’s Imminent Closing

In an earlier article published in June, I wrote:

Antioch College, a 154-year-old liberal-arts institution in Yellow Springs, Ohio, widely known for for its socially activist tradition, will close next year because of mounting budget deficits and dwindling enrollment, college officials announced on Tuesday.

The college in Yellow Springs (OH) is the undergraduate residential component of Antioch University, whose Board of Trustees voted over the weekend to shut the campus down. The Antioch Board members said that it was their hope that by closing the college now, a sound financial state might be restored that would enable them to reopen in 2012. Antioch University also has five nonresidential campuses around the country, all of which will remain open.

Paul Fain wrote in the Chronical of Higher Education:

The decision was agonizing,” said one trustee, Barbara Slaner Winslow. “For many of us, the meeting was like a funeral,” said Ms. Winslow, an Antioch alumna who is an associate professor of women’s and social studies at the City University of New York’s Brooklyn College.

Antioch officials said revenue from the college’s small endowment of $36.2-million and tuition from a projected fall enrollment of 309 students would not be enough to cover budget shortfalls, which have been exacerbated by the cost of maintaining Antioch’s historic campus, in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

We really need a much larger critical mass of students,” said Tullisse A. Murdock, chancellor of Antioch University, noting that only 125 new freshmen were scheduled to arrive next fall. Of the decision to close the college, she said: “Certainly it’s going to be a huge disappointment to our college alumni.”

The trustees also declared a state of financial exigency, which means most of Antioch College’s 160 full-time faculty and staff members will be laid off by July 2008. College operations will be suspended at that point, but a university spokeswoman said an undetermined number of staff members would stay on to maintain facilities. The university will also establish a commission to determine the college’s long-term future, and some staff members might be included on that commission….

Antioch is perhaps best known for its liberal initiatives, such as eliminating grades and a sexual-offense-prevention policy from the mid-1990s that required specific “verbal consent” for every step of intimacy. But the college also has a long list of famous alumni, including Coretta Scott King, Rod Serling and Stephen Jay Gould. Its first president was the education reformer Horace Mann.”

Interested readers can read a detailed account of the earlier planned closing of Antioch in The Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription).

Cary Nelson, Ph.D., Professor of English at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign wrote nostalgically about his experiences as an undergraduate student at Antioch College during the mid-1960s, which you can read here.

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One Response to “Historic Antioch College to Stay Open: Saved by Amazing Alumni Efforts”

  1. Tim Says:

    What do you think about this particular cartoon relating to liberal arts? Its funny! Cheers!

    http://www.jjcomics.com/liberal_arts_degree_and_education_cartoon_comic.htm


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