Antioch University agreed Tuesday to transfer the campus of financially strapped Antioch College to an alumni group that plans to turn it into an independent school.
But any reopening of Antioch College is at least two years away and hinges on a list of conditions.
The university temporarily closed the Yellow Springs college a year ago because of financial problems caused by declining enrollment, a heavy dependence on tuition and a small endowment.
Antioch College is known for its pioneering academic programs that produce students with a passion for social activism. The college was the flagship of Antioch University, which also has campuses in Seattle, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, Calif., and Keene, N.H.
The alumni group, called the Antioch College Continuation Corp., has agreed to pay the university $6 million for the campus, located about 15 miles east of Dayton, and the college’s endowment.
The transfer of assets cannot occur until a list of conditions have been met, including approval from the Ohio attorney general’s office and university bond holders. The target date to implement the agreement is Aug. 31.
The alumni group said it would be about two years before the college could accept students because it will take that long to get regulatory approval, fix up the campus and put the educational program in place.
“While our journey has been long and difficult and is not yet complete we are committed to continuing the hard work ahead to complete the transaction,” said Art Zucker, board chairman for the university.
The college is the alma mater of Coretta Scott King, “Twilight Zone” creator Rod Serling and two Nobel Prize winners. The college didn’t give grades, encouraged students to develop their own study plans, and combined academic learning with experience through a co-op program in which students leave campus to work in various fields.
Students and graduates have a fierce allegiance to the college, citing the co-op program, the friendships they formed and the school’s track record of producing notable graduates.
After each graduation ceremony, graduates recited in unison the phrase coined by the late school President Horace Mann, an educator and a statesman who advanced the cause of universal, nonsectarian public schools: “Be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.”
Over the years, activism and civil disobedience became part of the school’s fabric, with anti-war protests and weekly peace vigils in the 1960s. In 1994, students took over a campus building to protest plans to turn it into an admissions office instead of a student-activity center.
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