Judson College, Alabama’s only all-women higher education center, is closing its doors after nearly 200 years. While the news is not surprising, current students, faculty, staff and alumni are heartbroken to see it close.
An unsurprising ending
Like I said above, the news of Judson College’s closing is not exactly a surprise. The past year has seen the school go through hard financial challenges, and even after several multi-million dollar fundraising efforts, it just wasn’t enough.
Just since December 2020, Judson has taken blow after blow, as significant donations haven’t come through, enrollment sharply decreased and debts became due. This semester alone, the college’s enrollment dropped from 145 to 80, and only 12 students were enrolled as first-years for Fall 2021.
In the face of these overwhelming challenges, the Boards of Trustees voted on May 6, 2021 to close the school and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
A little, long history
Founded in 1838, Judson College opened in Marion, Alabama as the state’s only college for women. Baptists established the college, and it is the fifth oldest college for women in the entire US. and
The school graduated a number of impressive women, from singers to botanists to a First Lady of Texas.
Founded by Baptists as a religious institution, Judson College focused its educational offerings and pedagogy around three main goals:
- Engage her mind
- Practice her faith
- Live her purpose
The Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame
Judson College is home to the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame. The Hall was established in 1970 to honor the groundbreaking work and lives of the women of Alabama. Check out just a few of the inductees:
- Rosa Parks
- Helen Keller
- Julia Tutwiler
- Mary Ivy Burks
- Tallulah Bankhead
Because the Hall of Fame is state agency, it is unlikely to be affected by the school’s closure.
Following the bankruptcy filing, Judson College will end its academic operations after the summer term on July 31, 2021. Residence halls will close as anticipated in May 2021.
The College will assist all students as they prepare to transfer to other institutions, and hopes to be able to provide faculty and staff support as they also move into new positions.
Learn more about Judson College: