[Updated July 28, 2007 - added link to news about President Lawry's resignation]
You have probably heard that Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio will close its doors in 2008, citing a "lack of money and students." The effect on faculty, students and staff is obvious. But what about the largest permanent constituency - the alumni?
The Chronicle's Andrew Mytelka recently wrote about reunions on campus, a week after the Trustees' announcement about the closing. He described the reunion as "an angry wake" and wrote that
the missionary zeal and counterculture ethos that made alumni so passionate about their alma mater also appear to have played a major role in driving the liberal-arts college into the ground, with minimal fund raising, a minuscule endowment...and a diffusion of energy and resources into branch campuses that eventually came to outdo the parent.
When campus administrators tried to explain to reunioning alumni the institution's needs and shortcomings (facilities, student enrollment, endowment),
[a]ngry alumni hissed, hooted, and jeered in response. They asked why the college had never seemed to seek their help.
Most of us in alumni relations are accustomed to alumni claims (rarely true) that "the only time" their school contacts them is when it's asking for money. Antioch's desperate circumstances are unfortunate, yet it's almost refreshing to hear alumni complain that they were never asked to donate. Too bad that in this case it's just too late.
"Save Antioch" web site - alumni & others mobilizing to stop the school closure.