CAZENOVIA, N.Y. (WUTR/WFXV/WPNY) — Cazenovia College has announced that after almost 200 years of educating students and serving the community of Central New York and the rest of the State, it will be closing its campus permanently following the upcoming Spring Semester.
“We’re deeply disappointed that it has come to this,” said Ken Gardiner, chair of the Cazenovia College Board of Trustees. “Considerable time and effort have been spent on improving the College’s financial position over the past several years. Unfortunately, the headwinds and market conditions were insurmountable, leading to a projected deficit of several million dollars for the next year. As a result, the College won’t have the funds necessary to be open and continue operations for Fall 2023 and beyond. Our plan is to be open for the Spring 2023 semester during which faculty and staff will work with students to help them transfer to another college for the fall.”
Due to financial concerns, the Cazenovia College Board of Trustees will not be enrolling students for the 2023-2024 academic year and is working toward closing prior to the start of the Fall 2023 semester. The 2022-2023 Fall/Spring semesters will complete as scheduled including all normal classes and events, including athletics and other activities. During the Spring 2023 semester, the College will also assist students with their plans for transferring for Fall 2023.
School officials say the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic and “skyrocketing inflation”, along with the “population of college-aged individuals continuing to shrink”, have led to enrollment levels too low for small colleges like Cazenovia to maintain, dropping by over 40%.
The college says the pandemic has significantly increased the economic burden it has had to carry, which in turn impacted its efforts toward recruitment and fundraising. Additionally, large investments were made in technology and campus safety at a time when enrollment was dropping due to students choosing to postpone college or take a leave of absence.
“Being a small college without a large endowment has made the College’s challenges formidable. We have worked tirelessly to strengthen the financial position of the College through fundraising campaigns, adding graduate offerings, streamlining transfer pathways, and exploring alternative options,” stated David Bergh, president of Cazenovia College. “Unfortunately, these efforts did not create results to ensure long-term viability for the College.”
Cazenovia College was established in 1824 as the Genesee Seminary. In 1839, the seminary also developed a curriculum focused on women’s education. In 1942, the church sponsorship of the seminary was withdrawn, and it was reorganized to include a junior college program as well as the preparatory school with the name, Cazenovia Junior College. It then became Cazenovia College for Women in 1961. In 1982 it returned to being co-educational and adopted the name Cazenovia College although it was not recognized as a bachelor’s degree-granting institution until 1988. In 2019 it began its first graduate program, a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.
“We really are a family on this campus,” continued Bergh. “It is an extremely difficult time for all of us, but we remain committed to students, faculty, staff, and alumni.” To date, the College has entered into agreements with the following higher education institutions that will provide pathways for students to continue their studies beginning with the Fall 2023 semester and will be assisting students with their transition. Other institutions will be added as agreements are finalized.