Cazenovia College Announces Closure

After a missed bond payment and months of uncertainty, Cazenovia College will close.

The small, private liberal arts college in New York announced Wednesday that it would cease operations after the spring semester, citing financial concerns exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic and inflation that irreparably harmed the nearly 200-year-old institution.

Cazenovia defaulted on a $25 million bond payment in October. Since then, rumors have swirled about its fate. University officials remained tight-lipped, telling Inside Higher Ed only that “discussions continue to take place” on the outstanding bond payment. Now college leaders have made a clear decision.

“We’re deeply disappointed that it has come to this,” Ken Gardiner, chair of Cazenovia’s Board of Trustees, said in a statement Wednesday announcing the forthcoming closure. “Considerable time and effort have been spent on improving the College’s financial position over the past several years. Unfortunately, the headwinds and market conditions were insurmountable, leading to a projected deficit of several million dollars for next year. As a result, the College won’t have the funds necessary to be open and continue operations for Fall 2023 and beyond.”

The college struck a similar tone in an email to graduates.

“This extremely difficult decision was the result of unchangeable business realities which were accelerated by the global pandemic. Leadership worked tirelessly over the past several years to come up with a solution, but ultimately the financial challenges were too great to ensure the long-term viability of the College,” President David Bergh wrote in a message to alumni Wednesday. “We remain committed to providing support and information to our students, faculty, staff and alumni. We will be providing updates on our website to assist with questions you may have as alumni going forward. We thank you for your support over the years.”

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