Closing doors: Small religious colleges struggle for survival

Crux | 11/25/2017 | Staff
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SHAWNEE, Oklahoma - Duncan Tiemeyer chose St. Gregory’s University because he wanted a faith-based education that would teach him more than how to succeed in a career.

The 550-student Catholic liberal arts college in Oklahoma traces its roots to French monks who moved to Indian Territory in 1875, intent on developing the bodies, minds and souls of Native American and settler children.

Plan - Plan - Plan - Tiemeyer - Business

“Here, we are taught not only to focus on our five-year plan but also our 100-year plan and our 500-year plan,” said Tiemeyer, 22, a senior business and theology major from Houston. “What are we preparing for? Are we living our lives in a way that is getting us to the next life? Are we going to be able to go to heaven?”

However, the brand of education offered by St. Gregory’s - where Benedictine monks still pray multiple times daily in a chapel beside a cemetery filled with the remains of their predecessors - will come to an abrupt halt at the fall semester’s end.

Loss - Students - Faculty - Staff - Loss

“It’s just a tragic and sad loss, and I’m grieving for our students and faculty and staff who are working through this loss,” said St. Gregory’s President Michael A. Scaperlanda.

The financially strapped Roman Catholic institution, 40 miles east of Oklahoma City, is just the latest small religious college to close in an increasingly competitive higher education marketplace.

Grace - University - College - Omaha - Neb

Grace University, a Christian college in Omaha, Neb., will end operations in May, doomed by financial and enrollment challenges.

Marygrove College, a Catholic liberal arts institution in Detroit, will shut down its undergraduate programs in December.

Saint - Joseph - College - Rensselaer - Ind

Catholic-affiliated Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Ind., did not reopen this fall.

“The transition from a mom-and-pop shop to a niche boutique has been difficult for many colleges,” Scaperlanda said. “In the pre-Wal-Mart world, mom-and-pop shops could survive and thrive. In the Wal-Mart world, you need to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Crux
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