Marymount California to close after failed merger

Two days after Saint Leo University and California’s Marymount University called off their proposed merger, the latter institution announced Friday that it would close in August.

“Like other small tuition-dependent schools, MCU has struggled financially in recent years in the face of declining enrollment, rising costs, and a pandemic, which university leaders have acknowledged put them in jeopardy. a position of not having the necessary resources to support the functioning of the institution. expenses,” said a university press release.

“This is an extremely sad day for Marymount and for lost heritage and traditions, both for our campus community and for the local Palos Verdes area that we have called home for over 50 years,” said the statement quoting Brian Marcotte, the university’s president, as saying.

Marymount California was founded by the Order of Religious of the Sacred Heart of Mary in the late 1960s as a two-year institution and began an aggressive push to become a four-year institution with degree programs higher in 2010.

Marymount in California has seen its enrollment drop by more than half since 2014-2015, and it has burned campus leaders.

Last summer, it announced it would merge with Saint Leo, another Roman Catholic institution a continent away in Florida.

But in December, Saint Leo’s accreditor, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, rejected its original merger plan. This led the two parties this week to officially call off the merger.

“The parties did not receive regulatory approval as expected in December 2021 and, faced with an extended timeline to complete the transaction, ultimately decided that it was in the best interests of both universities to separate at the ‘amicable,’ a statement from Saint Leo said.

The announcement of the closure came Friday evening after a vote by Marymount’s board of directors in California.

“This decision was not taken lightly,” Marcotte said. “But we felt the most compassionate thing to do was to give everyone time to make plans. Our focus will now be on helping our students, faculty and staff.

Marymount California is the second small independent institution to announce its closure this spring. Last month, Lincoln College in Illinois announced it would close in mid-May, citing the impact of COVID-19 and a cyberattack that thwarted its admissions process as college officials hoped to rebound. .

The final weeks of an academic year are often a time when announcements like these emerge, as the enrollment picture for the following fall becomes clear and the numbers do not support projected spending.

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