MARION, Ala. -- Trustees cited a lack of money and declining enrollment in deciding to close Baptist-affiliated Judson College, a small school for women that predates the Civil War.
The decision Thursday came just days after what could be the last graduation exercises at the college in Marion, about 80 miles northwest of Montgomery.
Judson was founded in 1838 and is the country’s fifth-oldest college for women. But a $1.5 million fundraising drive launched in December didn’t bring in enough money, and enrollment declined from 145 to about 80, with only a dozen new students committed for the fall.
Problems became insurmountable when one of Judson’s creditors called the note on a loan on Tuesday, according to a statement from the school.
Judson will suspend academic operation after the summer term ending July 31 and begin the process of filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Board chairwoman Joan Newman, a Judson graduate, said the decision followed months of fundraising, research and prayer.
"Acknowledging the incredible legacy of Judson, acknowledging the thousands of lives that were changed through a Judson experience and grateful for my own personal journey at Judson, it is with broken hearts that the board votes to suspend instruction,” she said in a release issued by the school.
The board had approved a budget for the upcoming academic year, but funding didn't materialize to ease the school's deficit.