Marian, Saint Joseph’s to Open 2-Year College

October 11, 2018

Two Catholic higher education institutions in Indiana will open a new two-year college in Indianapolis.

Leaders of Marian University of Indiana and Saint Joseph’s College said Wednesday that the new college, to be called Saint Joseph’s College of Marian University-Indianapolis, will be located next to Marian’s campus. It is due to open in July 2019. Under the terms of the partnership, leaders of the two institutions will study whether to open a second location on the grounds of the Saint Joseph’s shuttered campus in Rensselaer, Ind., about 100 miles northwest of Indianapolis. It closed in 2017.

“This is a collaboration between two Catholic institutions with a shared mission and history,” said Marian president Daniel J. Elsener. “Saint Joe’s has a rich tradition of educating thousands upon thousands of leaders with a strong liberal arts foundation.”

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Saint Joseph’s rector Father Barry Fischer called the move “a positive step forward” for the college, which announced in February 2017 that it would suspend operations by semester’s end. At the time, leaders said, it was operating under a $27 million debt. Saint Joseph’s graduated its final class in May 2017.

But the following April, Father Barry said the college hoped to resume operations by partnering with Marian. In a Facebook posting, he said the college’s Board of Trustees had approved the two-year program and a plan to “formally pursue a relationship” with Marian.

Elsener said Marian would study whether to expand the new college to other areas of Indiana, including the Saint Joseph’s campus in Rensselaer. Under the agreement, Saint Joseph’s will provide $1.5 million in scholarships over 10 years, primarily funded from donations already made to support its students.

Last August, one of Saint Joseph’s former vendors, the food service company Sodexo, said the college owed it more than $1.3 million. In a lawsuit, Sodexo said it fronted Saint Joseph’s the money to pay for student center renovations in 2016, and that it provided $1.35 million in exchange for an agreement that allowed it to operate Saint Joseph’s food service until 2029.

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