FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Bob Berg of Van Dyke Horn
Marygrove College to Transition to a Graduate Educational Institution in 2018
Transition Marks New Era for Historic Detroit College
DETROIT, MI, August 9, 2017—Marygrove College today announced that, beginning in January 2018, it will offer Master’s degree programs and close its undergraduate programs. The college will continue to serve as a vibrant institution and an anchor in the Fitzgerald neighborhood, remaining open and operational with a reduced faculty and staff.
At the start of the Winter 2018 semester, the college will refocus its efforts and educational mission on graduate education and graduate professional development while maintaining its historic commitment to advanced education and the community. Undergraduate studies will close to allow Marygrove to remain viable for the future.
Marygrove President Elizabeth Burns, MD, said, “Regrettably, Marygrove has experienced the same enrollment and financial issues as many liberal arts colleges across the country and the state. Vigorous marketing and recruitment efforts have failed to provide sufficient revenue from our undergraduate programs to continue operations as usual. A recent analysis found that Marygrove is not sustainable in its current business model. And undergraduate enrollment is projected to be lower than last fall.”
In recent years, Marygrove enrollment peaked in 2013 with more than 1,850 graduate and undergraduate students. In Fall 2016, total enrollment had fallen to 966.
“Given the downward trend in Marygrove enrollment, and the plight of other liberal arts colleges, the Marygrove Board of Trustees determined that transitioning the college to a graduate-only institution was the best course of action,” Dr. Burns said. “Marygrove is pleased that our students and our community will continue to benefit from the quality education the college has been delivering since it was founded as St. Mary’s College in Monroe in 1905 and brought to Detroit 90 years ago. Our commitment to help our students remains firm.”
The college has notified incoming and returning students of the planned Winter semester transition and will assist them to identify alternative colleges and universities that offer their program. Students who are registered for Fall will receive assistance from academic advisors and financial aid counselors to develop an individualized plan that will allow them to successfully transfer and ultimately achieve their dream of a college degree.
Dr. Burns said that the Higher Learning Commission is in the process of re-evaluating the institution given its changed circumstances.
Marygrove is also assisting affected faculty and staff with their career transition.
Kay Benesh, president of the Marygrove Board of Trustees, said, “The Board of Trustees voted to continue with strong graduate studies and professional development because grad studies are sustainable and in demand. It was also critical for Marygrove to remain the mainstay of this northwest Detroit community and an active partner with our neighbors in growing this community. Marygrove will proceed with our February performance of the Marygrove Theatre of “I Will Speak for Myself,” a play representing the voices of African American women throughout history, and the Contemporary American Authors Lecture Series, now in its 30th year, with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Colson Whitehead in April, among other community-oriented programs.”
Sister Mary Jane Herb, IHM, president of Marygrove’s sponsors, the Sisters, Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary congregation, said, “The decision to reduce the academic program was a difficult one, but one that will enable Marygrove College to maintain a presence in Detroit. It is our sincere belief that the campus will continue the rich heritage of education, being a beacon of hope for students into the future.”
Dr. Burns added, “We know of no other college in the country that has made this type of transformation, a transformation not unlike our historically bold moves to educate women when it wasn’t fashionable, to bring 68 African American students to Marygrove in 1968 with the 68 for ’68 initiative, to create one of the nation’s first Master in the Art of Teaching (MAT) degrees, a distance-learning curriculum to help teachers to advance in their careers, and to commit to an urban leadership strategic vision.
“Marygrove is grateful for this opportunity to reinvent ourselves to remain viable for the future, thanks to our funders and donors who believe in our mission, our sponsors, the IHM sisters, and the decades of students who’ve chosen a Marygrove education. We have seen our alumni make a positive impact on our world by living the ideals known here as the three C’s: competence, compassion and commitment. Marygrove is committed to continuing that legacy.”
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