Home > Press Release - July 10, 2000

Trinity College Begins to Close September 1, 2000

Burlington, VT – Transition plans for closing Trinity College of Vermont beginning September 1, 2000, were announced today at a gathering of 100 students,  faculty and staff. The decision was made Friday, July 7, at a scheduled meeting of the 20-member Board of Trustees and  ratified in a vote of the executive council of the Vermont Sisters of Mercy who founded the College.

“Despite all of the efforts of our outstanding administration, faculty, alumni board, students, staff, and the community, we were not able to ensure a financially sustainable future,” said Edward Connors, chairman of the board of trustees. “We had hoped that this year would give us the time that was needed to rebuild. Unfortunately, in light of our financial position, we cannot continue to operate.”

Connors reported many successful interim steps toward financial security. They included receiving financial and planning support from the Sisters of Mercy, Alumni Board, financial institutions, faculty, staff and friends. “We very much appreciate all the work that made it possible to continue thus far,” said Connors, “but after announcing the need to close or merge in July 1999, we could not recruit enough traditional age residential students for the Fall  term to be financially viable for the upcoming academic year. Further, we were not able to garner sufficient funds from private gift sources to sustain the College in the long term.”

“We hoped to be the exception to the prevailing trend of financial difficulty faced by most small, single-gender, liberal arts colleges without significant endowment,” said President Jacqueline Marie Kieslich, RSM, Ph.D. “Nevertheless,” she said, “our students, faculty, staff and alumni deserve special attention and special thanks for the uncertainty with which they have lived and the support that they have provided. Our Trinity community has given energy and commitment beyond all expectation. ”

Most programs for undergraduate students will end by September 1, 2000. A  transition period is expected for the Graduate Program in Education, the Graduate Program in Community Mental Health, the Women’s Small Business Program, and the Trinity College Child Care Center to help plan for their futures. Plans for an the undergraduate transition include “teaching out” a few programs so that a number of seniors can graduate with a Trinity diploma while others take advantage of agreements with other colleges to transfer credits and complete programs at similar institutions.

Details of the disposition of College assets are yet to be finalized. The lease agreement reached with Fletcher Allen Health Care will remain in place. A majority of the 125 full-time faculty and staff will remain with the College until September 1. Following this period, only staff needed for the smooth closing of the College will remain.

Jeannine Mercure, RSM, president of the Vermont Sisters of Mercy said, “Few other decisions in our 75-year history with Trinity have been more difficult and no single day has been more painful.” President Mercure joined President Kieslich in saying finally, “We all look forward to the healing days ahead as we reflect on the spirit and strength of Trinity College that will continue into the future through the lives of our faculty, staff,  current students and 5,000 alumni.” 

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Last updated July 11, 2000
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