Alabama college announces decision to close on May 31 after 106-year legacy

Published 2:10 pm Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Officials from Birmingham-Southern College announced the school will shutter its doors on May 31, 2024.

The Board of Trustees unanimously decided to cease operations following the failure of a critical bill in the Alabama House of Representatives, which sought to amend legislation vital to the college’s financial stability.

There are approximately 700 students enrolled at BSC this semester.

Birmingham–Southern College is the result of a merger of Southern University, founded in Greensboro, Alabama, in 1856, with Birmingham College, opened in 1898 in Birmingham, Alabama. These two institutions were consolidated on May 30, 1918, under the name of Birmingham–Southern College.

The Rev. Keith Thompson, Chair of the Board of Trustees, expressed profound sorrow over the closure, acknowledging its profound impact on students, employees, alumni, and the wider community. Efforts are now focused on facilitating a smooth transition for all affected parties, with detailed plans already in motion to assist students in transferring to other institutions and supporting displaced employees.

Despite the impending closure, BSC vows to maintain normalcy until the end of the spring term. Classes, athletics, and extracurricular activities will continue as scheduled, including significant events like Commencement. Plans are also underway to organize meaningful events for alumni before the closure.

As questions abound, the administration pledges transparency and accessibility, with information readily available on the college’s website and updates promised as details emerge.

The closure not only spells the end of an educational institution but also represents a significant loss for Birmingham and the state of Alabama. BSC’s substantial economic impact, amounting to over $90 million annually, is set to vanish, leaving a void in the community that will be challenging to fill.

Efforts to secure funding through the Distressed Institutions of Higher Learning Revolving Loan Fund proved futile, despite exhaustive attempts over the past 18 months. Despite legislative efforts to salvage the situation, the lack of sufficient support in the House of Representatives sealed the college’s fate.

As BSC braces for its final days, the profound legacy it leaves behind serves as a testament to its enduring contributions to education and society at large.