Wells College Closure

Announcement of Closure

Dear Members of the Wells College Community,
April 29, 2024

This is a difficult letter to write and an even more difficult letter to read and process. It is with profound sadness that we announce the forthcoming closure of our beloved Wells College.

As trustees, we have a fiduciary responsibility to the institution; we have determined after a thorough review that the College does not have adequate financial resources to continue. As you may be aware, many small colleges like Wells have faced enormous financial challenges. These challenges have been exacerbated by a global pandemic, a shrinking pool of undergraduate students nationwide, inflationary pressures, and an overall negative sentiment towards higher education.

Members of the board, many of whom are Wells graduates, have spent years trying to find creative solutions to raise revenues in hopes of avoiding closure, including most recently having conversations with other academic partners. We acknowledge the work from all board members and college leaders, especially members of the Cabinet, our faculty, staff, and graduates on creating strategic plans, sponsoring aggressive fundraising campaigns, launching innovative new programs and managing our resources with care. Your efforts are appreciated more than you know. But revenues, unfortunately, are not projected to be sufficient for Wells’ long-term financial stability.

The Board is committed to the legacy and educational mission of Wells College. As such, we have entered into an agreement with Manhattanville University where it will become our legacy and teach-out partner. This partnership further will help ensure that Wells’ current students matriculate and our institutional mission and legacy continue. Manhattanville is developing dedicated housing for Wells students and will be partners in supporting our students with transfer plans. Manhattanville has also expressed interest in developing a legacy agreement that would integrate the Wells College name and history into the Manhattanville community. We have developed additional teach-out agreements with these other teach-out partners: Excelsior University, Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Keuka College, Le Moyne College, Mercy University, SUNY Brockport.

In the coming hours and days, you will have questions, some of which can be answered immediately. We have created a website which lists additional information. We will continue to update this website and communicate with our stakeholders as we finalize plans for the closure of Wells.

The Board thanks all of our alumnae/alumni and friends who have supported the institution since its founding in 1868. Your support and generosity have allowed Wells to continue its mission of helping students think critically, reason wisely and act humanely.

Regards,

Marie Chapman Carroll, ‘75, Board Chair
Jonathan Gibralter, President

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