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IW President: Board of Trustees to discuss future of university

University President Dr. Steven Titus speaks during Iowa Wesleyan's Founders Day Celebration Feb. 14, 2018/Beth Waldon

Students and faculty at Iowa Wesleyan University are scrambling this month to prevent their school from closing.

The Iowa Wesleyan Board of Trustees met in a special session last week to review the university's financial status.

According to a Nov. 1 newsletter published on the university's website, Iowa Wesleyan does not have the funds needed to stay open.

"This may be surprising given all our progress and accomplishments achieved together over the past five years," University President Dr. Steven Titus wrote in Thursday's newsletter. "Our enrollment has doubled, student retention has increased, and we have tremendously talented and dedicated faculty and staff members."

Dr. Titus went on to say that administrators have tried to secure enough funds to maintain a sound foundation, however: "The university does not have a healthy endowment or extensive donor network," the statement adds.

In an effort to save the university, several students and faculty are spreading the word on social media.

In a post shared on the university's Facebook page Monday, one student wrote:

"We need $2.1 million to just have a spring semester in 2019," said Kodi Rundquist. "But its going to cost a lot more than that to keep it running, and open. President Titus, and all of the faculty are clearly willing to do whatever they can to keep IW open."

In a separate post, a professor has asked the Iowa Wesleyan community to submit written testimonials.

"Email them to me (vunkrich@iw.edu) and I will pass the letters to where they can best be utilized," Valerie Unkrich wrote.

The board of trustees is scheduled to reconvene Nov. 15 to consider the future of Iowa Wesleyan.

"We are actively and aggressively pursuing additional funding sources, and new and innovative partnerships, collaborations and supporters," Dr. Titus wrote in the Nov. 1 newsletter. "The next 14 days are extremely important as we meet with the USDA, regional business and community leaders, and partners in higher education to explore alternatives."

CLICK HERE to donate to the Iowa Wesleyan Fund.

Dr. Titus' full statement is posted below:

"I want to provide an update on the Iowa Wesleyan University’s Board of Trustees special session today. It was a tremendously difficult meeting as we reviewed the financial projections of the university.
As you may know, small liberal arts colleges and universities across the country continue to face significant financial challenges. Iowa Wesleyan University is no different. We have struggled, yet survived, for decades because of our strong commitment to our students and the southeast Iowa region.
This may be surprising given all our progress and accomplishments achieved together over the past five years. Our enrollment has doubled, student retention has increased, and we have tremendously talented and dedicated faculty and staff members.
The university does not have a healthy endowment or extensive donor network. We have attempted to secure funding to establish a solid financial base. Unfortunately, several anticipated gifts simply have not materialized. At this moment, the university does not have the required financial underpinnings to bridge the gap between strong enrollment and new programming, and the money needed to keep the institution open.
Today, the Board of Trustees voted to reconvene on November 15, 2018 to consider the future of the institution. Therefore, we are actively and aggressively pursuing additional funding sources, and new and innovative partnerships, collaborations and supporters. The next 14 days are extremely important as we meet with the USDA, regional business and community leaders, and partners in higher education to explore alternatives.
These decisions may have a profound impact on students, faculty, staff members as well as the entire southeastern Iowa community. Iowa Wesleyan’s economic impact to the southeastern Iowa region is over $55 million annually. We feel a strong responsibility and commitment to continue the mission of Iowa Wesleyan University.
Thank you for your prayers and patience. We will keep you updated on the Board’s decision."


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