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Possible partnership with Marian could open door for St. Joseph’s College to come back

RENSSELAER, Ind. — An official with a private northwestern Indiana college that was shuttered amid financial problems says plans are in the works to bring the school back.

St. Joseph’s College closed last year under the weight of a $27 million debt, the Journal & Courier reported.

Fr. Barry Fischer said in a message to alumni and the local community posted last month on the college’s Facebook page that staff members are working to find a new mission for the school.

“Understand, we’re in the initial stages,” Fischer said. “Some people might still dream we can come back quickly as a four-year college like it was before. Of course, they’re going to be disappointed. We can’t do that. . What we need to work on, and the challenge for us, is to win over our alumni base, so that they can get on board with this.”

The Roman Catholic liberal arts college may return as a two-year school through a potential partnership with Marian University in Indianapolis, Fischer said.

“We sort of have a blank page, a ground zero, and we have the possibility of creating something that can be innovative and exciting,” Fischer said.

About 80 St. Joseph’s College students transferred to Marian University this academic year after their studies were disrupted by the college’s closure.

Marian University is a Catholic school with almost 2,300 undergraduates. The university’s Board of Trustees formed a task force earlier this year to explore the option of starting a two-year college, said Daniel J. Elsener, Marian University president.

“Our trustees have requested a report by this summer,” Elsener said. “While we await that report, we will enthusiastically meet with St. Joe’s officials to determine if our visions for a two-year college align and, if so, explore possibilities for a partnership.”

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