YELLOW SPRINGS — Trustees overseeing Antioch College said Saturday they have reversed their decision to temporarily close the school, which is known for its pioneering academic program that produces students with a passion for free thinking and social activism.
The reversal is contingent on whether alumni and the school can meet fundraising goals over the next three years, board chairman Art Zucker said. Antioch will also close buildings and dormitories and will downsize the faculty to meet budget constraints, he said.
The school will continue offering credits to current students, and the next class of graduates will receive degrees, pending the approval of academic accreditation boards, Zucker said.
Trustees announced in June that because of declining enrollments, heavy dependence on tuition and a small endowment, the college would close after the spring term, reorganize and reopen in 2012.
Alumni formally asked the trustees last month to reverse the decision, saying they had raised $18 million, primarily in pledges, to keep the school going. They feared that temporarily closing the college would scare off badly needed donors and make it difficult to recruit faculty and attract new students when the school reopens.
The resurgence of alumni support and cooperation between trustees and the alumni board made Saturday’s announcement possible, said Nancy Crow, a board member and alumni board president.
Alumni and school officials must raise $6.6 million in cash by Dec. 15, another $12 million by May 2008, an additional $26 million by June 1009 and an additional $19 million by June 2010, Zucker said.
The college, founded in 1852 and located about 15 miles east of Dayton, is the flagship for Antioch University, which has five other campuses in Ohio and on the East and West coasts.
Antioch, which costs $36,000 a year to attend, has an $18 million operating budget and a $2.6 million deficit. Enrollment is down to 230 students.