St. Joseph’s College of Indiana to close after spring semester

Private school located in Rensselaer, Indiana has been plagued by cash problems

The decision did not come lightly on Friday, February 3 but their board voted to suspend operations after their final Commencement on May 6.  The school was $100 million in the red and could not make up the difference before the end of this academic year.  The Pumas basketball team played in Division II after many decent years toiling in Division III and managed to play some quality opponents on the road during the last several years–including trips to Purdue, Valparaiso, and most recently Pittsburgh.  Their most famous alumni including former baseball great Gil Hodges and Kevin McGuff, the women’s basketball coach at Ohio State.

According to the website in an article originally dated February 7, several schools in Indiana will be offering assistance to many of the students that will be displaced.  904 students are currently enrolled and this shocking decision will also affect at least 200 faculty members as the process of finding and landing new jobs has begun in earnest.  The Bachelor of Science program in Nursing will continue one hour south along I-65 in Lafayette.

The school was founded in 1889 by the Societies of the Precious Blood and is best remembered as the longtime training camp home for the Chicago Bears between 1944 to 1974.  However, their biggest claim to fame was key portions of the 1971 movie Brian’s Song was shot there.  The story talks about the life cut short of one-time Bears running back Brian Piccolo and his special friendship with Hall of Famer Gale Sayers.

Several schools in the Hoosier State will be accepting displaced students

One school to keep a small eye on is a few hours to the north and west near the Illinois State Line.   Calumet College of Saint Joseph for many years was their sister campus before moving out of the once popular storefront campus located in East Chicago prior to 1975.  Located in Hammond with a Whiting postal address-the six story campus with their own athletic facility a stone’s throw near the campus, is in the heart of base industry with BP firmly in the background.

This past Tuesday, Dr. Amy McCormack was named as the school’s seventh president and the first ever woman to hold the post.  Dr. McCormack will start her new duties on July 1.  She comes by way of Dominican University (MBA 1995) and has spent the last 26 years there.  Dominican is a fellow NAIA school in River Forest, Illinois where she is the senior vice president for finance and administration.

Outgoing CCSJ President Dr. Daniel Lowery said in an email that all displaced students will be welcome and the school will accept all past credits and help in any way possible toward earning their four-year degrees in their chosen major of interest.

Other schools helping other students include:

Purdue Northwest in Hammond and Westville near Michigan City will implement a special transfer-student merit scholarship program.  Any student who has at least a minimum 3.5 GPA will qualify for an annual scholarship of $2,000 and is good for up to three years.  For those students with GPA’s between 3.00 and 3.49, those students might be eligible for a $1,000 annual award scholarship and is also renewable for up to three years.

The University of St. Francis in Fort Wayne will have available two special transfer awards designed specifically for displaced students at SJC.  One of the awards is a student transition award which could up to $9,500 per year and an housing award of $1,000 per year.

At Marian University in Indianapolis, they will offer in addition to whatever transfer assistance students might need, the school will guarantee that any out-of-pocket costs for tuition will not increase.


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