Abandoned Campuses and Online Learning

The strange case of Knoxville College.

December 3, 2018

There is nothing so disturbing as an abandoned college campus.

The site of empty classrooms, dorms, and administrative buildings play on our worst fears about the insecurity of the industry in which we have devoted our lives.

Search YouTube for “abandoned college campus,” and you find a depressingly long list of videos. Prominently featured in this YouTube list is Knoxville College.

In watching the videos of Knoxville College, it is easy to picture the school as it once was. The buildings are classic campus architecture.  The campus looks to be situated in a beautiful location.

Knoxville College is a private HBCU that was founded in 1875. The liberal arts institution hosted Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as its commencement speaker in 1960.  The school has struggled financially for many years, losing its accreditation in 1997, and closing down in 2015 with only 11 enrolled students.

The Knoxville College story, however, may have a twist.

Press reports indicate that Knoxville College is attempting a rebirth. The school’s website indicates that it is open for enrollment. The college will start with online classes and is hoping to transition to a residential institution once again.

In watching the videos and reading the stories that I could find on Knoxville College, I kept thinking that this is an institution that we should all be supporting. The stories contain many examples of alumni talking about how important the institution has been in providing a foundation for success.

Can we call on edtech companies to offer their platforms and expertise to Knoxville College?

Are there any higher ed consulting companies willing to partner with the College?

Are there ways that we can help spread the word about the history and possible future of this institution?

There is a story about our colleagues who are trying, against long odds, to bring this school back to life.  Who will tell their story?



Share Article


Joshua Kim

Back to Top