Rolling Out

Lincoln College to close after 157 years

Lincoln College to close after 157 years
Lincoln College in Illinois (Image source: YouTube/WBMD station)

Lincoln College is shutting its doors permanently after serving generations of students for over 157 years.

Lincoln College President David Gerlach described the shuttering of the Illinois-based school as devastating.

“The loss of history, careers and a community of students and alumni is immense,” Gerlach announced on Friday, May 6, according to WMBD television station in Lincoln, Illinois, which is about 160 miles southwest of Chicago. 

According to the station, officials said Lincoln was ambushed by the twin killers of a historic drop in enrollment caused directly by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic and a devastating cyberattack that the school could not recover from. 

“[Lincoln] experienced a record-breaking student enrollment in fall 2019, with residence halls at maximum capacity. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic dramatically impacted recruitment and fundraising efforts, sporting events, and all campus life activities,” Gerlach explained.

School officials relayed in a statement that Lincoln was embroiled in “economic burdens initiated by the pandemic [that] required large investments in technology and campus safety measures.” It also cited “a significant drop in enrollment with students choosing to postpone college or take a leave of absence, which impacted the institution’s financial position.”

This is tragically ironic because Lincoln College, which was founded in 1865 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church and named after Abraham Lincoln, had proudly “survived [in] many difficult and challenging times – the economic crisis of 1887, a major campus fire in 1912, the Spanish flu of 1918, the Great Depression, World War II, the 2008 global financial crisis, and more,” officials say. 

“Though we are experiencing undeniable grief and sadness,” the statement from Lincoln concluded, “we find comfort in knowing Lincoln College has served generations of alumni who have undoubtedly impacted our world.”

Associate professor Annette Roter was among the faculty who tried to console her students and Lincoln College alumni last month. 

“I believe,” Roter wrote, “if we had more time, that we would have been able to have found someone, but, this is all out of our control.” Through the process, she noted, Lincoln students “have had an incredible learning experience about leadership, perseverance and resilience.” 

Watch the full report regarding Lincoln College’s proud history but precipitous decline in the video report below:

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