College of St. Joseph will remain open.
The Board of Trustees voted in favor of keeping the college open following a three-hour meeting on Monday afternoon. The decision was announced by Board Chair A. Jay Kenlan to a cheering audience of students, faculty, administrators and alumni gathered in Tuttle Theater. A plan for sustainability, presented by CSJ President Larry Jensen, calls for the implementation of several new programs and initiatives, and the expansion of others, with a goal of increased revenue.
New initiatives include marketing the historic Clementwood mansion as a wedding and event site, establishing a daycare center, and launching an online bookstore with CSJ-branded apparel. Administrators will move forward with expansion of the Traumatology Institute, which launched in January of this year, as well as grant applications and a new development campaign.
“I’m delighted that the board expressed support for our plan,” says College President Larry Jensen. “What’s really important to understand is that this vote didn’t solve our challenges. We have a lot of work ahead of us. But what we said is we are willing to take on these challenges and fight for the future of the College.”
A combination of factors led to the announcement on April 26th that the trustees were considering closure. Enrollment shortfalls and losses from the failed physician’s assistant program, combined with the cost of operating and maintaining the campus, has resulted in several years of budget deficits and a depleted endowment.
Admissions is working toward an enrollment goal of 235 full-time undergraduate students for the fall of 2018, and is stepping up recruitment of first-generation students, both in- and out-of-state with messaging of affordability, access and opportunity. In February, the College re-affirmed its commitment to affordability with an announcement that free Chromebooks would be given to all full-time undergraduate students in the fall of 2018. Additionally, the school is offering matching funds for tuition deposits of $250 or $500 as further incentive for accepted students to commit to CSJ.
The message to the CSJ community from President Jensen and Chairman Kenlan is that they are all part of the path to success, and that they should do their part by registering and recruiting.
“The Trustees vote does not itself save the College,” says Jensen. “We need student and community support now more than ever. Alumni volunteers, area nonprofits, community members and business leaders can all help by aiding enrollment efforts and making contributions.”
“This is not a passenger vessel,” said Kenlan. “Every person on board is a member of the crew. We need all of you to help us achieve these goals.”
“It is time to look ahead, rather than behind,” added Jensen. “We can’t change the past, we can only try to make a better future for CSJ.”
College of St. Joseph was founded in 1956 by the Sisters of St. Joseph and has served the Rutland community as a small, independent, nonprofit Catholic institution. CSJ offers 20 undergraduate degree programs and 12 graduate programs, including an MBA program and the first and only Traumatology Institute in Vermont.
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