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Marymount California College, a half-century-old Catholic college, to close down

(RNS) — Marymount California College, a 54-year-old Catholic non-public establishment within the coastal Los Angeles County metropolis of Rancho Palos Verdes, will completely shut this summer season, after years of monetary battle. The choice to shut comes shortly after a merger with a non secular liberal arts college in Florida fell via.

The board of trustees on Friday (April 22) said it voted to close the college on Aug. 31, citing declining enrollment, rising prices of the pandemic and a scarcity of monetary sources “wanted to assist the establishment’s operational bills.”

“That is a particularly unhappy day for Marymount and for the legacy and traditions misplaced, each for our campus group and the native Palos Verdes space we’ve known as residence for greater than 50 years,” mentioned Brian Marcotte, the college’s president, in an announcement.

“This choice was not made frivolously. However we felt probably the most compassionate factor to do was to present everybody time to make plans. Our focus now shall be to assist our college students, school and employees,” Marcotte added.

RELATED: Closing doors: Small religious colleges struggle for survival

Marcotte instructed Faith Information Service that college students had been knowledgeable of the choice Friday afternoon. Marcotte, together with the vp of pupil affairs, will maintain a digital open discussion board with college students on Tuesday.

Marymount California has 500 full-time college students and 140 full-time employees.

No new college students shall be admitted for the autumn semester, and the varsity mentioned it’ll work with the assistance of its regulators to transition college students to different faculties and universities for the autumn semester. A small variety of workers will stay on employees “to handle the wind-down of the varsity,” in response to the college assertion.

The college was based by the Spiritual of the Sacred Coronary heart of Mary in 1968 as Marymount Palos Verdes Faculty, a two-year Catholic establishment. The title modified in 2013 to Marymount California College as the varsity started providing four-year undergraduate levels and graduate diploma applications.

Marcotte mentioned they’ve sought to foster a mission that’s primarily based on values, “that’s sturdy on growth of the entire individual.” He mentioned college students of all faiths are represented within the college.

“I feel the general values that we function underneath are vital for all religions which might be right here or those that haven’t any faith in any respect,” Marcotte mentioned.

Marymount California affords a spread of bachelor’s levels, from biology and prison justice to digital communication media and psychology. It additionally fields groups in 16 sports activities, together with soccer, baseball, seaside volleyball and browsing. 

The college additionally boasts an ethnically various pupil inhabitants.

Almost three-quarters of its college students are individuals of colour, with Latinos making up 46% of the general inhabitants, the college mentioned, citing preliminary 2021 fall enrollment data

Marymount California College in Rancho Palos Verdes. Picture courtesy of Google Maps

In a signing ceremony final October, Marymount California celebrated a merger, which has now fallen via, with St. Leo College, a Catholic liberal arts college in central Florida.

College officers had sealed the deal in July and hoped to finish the transaction by January 2023, according to the news site Inside Higher Ed. These efforts, nevertheless, had been stymied in December when the Southern Affiliation of Schools and Colleges Fee on Schools, the accreditor for St. Leo, rejected the plan.

St. Leo, in response to the accrediting company, “didn’t present a suitable plan and supporting documentation to make sure that it has the aptitude to conform” with its requirements. St. Leo mentioned it will proceed to hunt approval. The merger, nevertheless, was known as off earlier this month, as reported by the Tampa Bay Times. 

Marcotte mentioned the merging course of was complicated as a result of “we had been crossing regional accreditation boundaries.” 

He mentioned the collapse of the merger “was a contributing issue” to the varsity’s closure.

“I don’t wish to underplay it, nor do I actually wish to overplay it,” Marcotte mentioned. 

Marymount California will not be the one small spiritual non-public school to shut lately. 

Concordia College in Portland, Oregon, which was overseen by the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, shut down in 2020 amid monetary issues and issues over the school’s support for LGBTQ students. 

Grace College, a Christian school in Omaha, Nebraska, ceased operations in 2018, doomed by monetary and enrollment challenges. 

The financially strapped St. Gregory’s Roman Catholic college in Oklahoma permanently closed in 2017.

To Marcotte, it’s unlucky seeing small unbiased universities like Marymount California struggling to remain open. Marcotte mentioned these smaller faculties provide a private contact within the relationship between college students and schools. “We’ve got only a few courses which might be larger than about 15,” he mentioned.

“Once I discuss to our college students … all of them really feel that it’s a very particular atmosphere for them to have this studying scenario with their professors. I simply suppose that’s a part of the smaller, non-public tuition, mentality, and atmosphere,” Marcotte mentioned.

“I’d hate to see it diminished an excessive amount of,” he added. “I’m hoping that others don’t must undergo the identical course of that we’re, however I do know the pressures are there.”

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