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MacMurray College Closing at End of Semester

March 28, 2020

MacMurray College, a 174-year-old liberal arts institution in Jacksonville, Ill., will close at the end of the spring semester, the college announced Friday.

The small private college’s board decided it had no viable financial path for the future. Leaders cited declining enrollment, rising costs and an endowment they called insufficient.

MacMurray’s board attempted to find new sources of capital and to explore financial scenarios for more than a year. The college had also been laying plans to build professional degree programs and educate more nontraditional students.

“However, despite our best efforts, we were unable to secure the capital to fund a viable path forward,” the board’s chair, Charles O’Connell, said in a statement. “We deeply regret this decision and are sorry for the disruption and disappointment it will have for everyone in the Mac Family.”

O’Connell also called closing the only responsible option.

The new coronavirus and the economic pain it's causing across the country were not the main driver behind the closure, O’Connell added.

MacMurray will work with accreditors to transition students to seven nearby colleges and universities for the fall semester. It will also route incoming freshmen and transfer students to other institutions.

The college enrolls more than 500 full-time students. It employs 101 full-time workers. Most employees will be terminated effective May 25. Some may remain to help with closure efforts.

No decision has been made about the college’s commencement, scheduled for May 9.

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Rick Seltzer

Rick Seltzer, Projects Editor, oversaw special projects and coordinated daily production for Inside Higher Ed from 2019 through May 2021. He joined the publication in 2016, covering finance and management. Previously, he worked as a reporter for The Baltimore Business Journal, The Bloomington Herald-Times, the Central New York Business Journal and The Harrisburg Patriot-News. He has covered numerous business, municipal, government and general assignment beats. Rick graduated from Syracuse University in 2008.

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