St. Paul’s College, the historically Black college in Lawrenceville, Virginia, held its 125th commencement last month when 51 students earned degrees. Now we learn that it may well be its last. The college has informed the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools that is will cease operations as of June 30.
The college, founded in 1888, is affiliated with the Episcopal Church. Last fall, it was notified that it would lose its accreditation. In November, St. Augustine’s University, another HBCU in Raleigh, North Carolina, that is also affiliated with the Episcopal Church, announced that it was exploring the possibility of taking over the operation of St. Paul’s and merging the two institutions. But in May, St. Augustine’s University president Dianne Boardley Suber called off the planned merger saying that “the acquisition of Saint Paul’s College, at this time, would significantly challenge the fiscal stability of Saint Augustine’s University.”
St. Paul’s College immediately began what it termed “an urgent appeal to alumni and friends” to raise enough money to keep the college from closing down. The campaign titled “The Time Is Now: The Legacy Is Forever” was more than $400,000 short of its goal after raising $185,000 in the month of May.
The university has told students that it will assist them in transferring to other institutions of higher education. University officials stated that they hope the closing is temporary and that some way can be found to reopen the college.