After 183 years, Judson College is closing its doors

Judson College
After nearly 200 years, Judson College is closing. Photo via Judson College’s Facebook

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

Judson College
Judson has faced a difficult past year. Photo via Judson College

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.

Read the full release about the school’s ending.

A little, long history

Judson College
Judson College has a nearly 200-year history in Alabama. Photo via Judson College’s Facebook

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
Judson is the home of the Alabama Women’s Hall of Fame. Photo via Judson College’ Facebook

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.

What’s next?

Judson College
The sun is quite literally setting on Judson. Photo via Judson College

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:

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Claire Hancock
Claire Hancock
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