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BREAKING: Pres. Miciak confirms that JCU will not buy Notre Dame College buildings if it closes

Notre Dame College
Recent news about Notre Dame College’s future has the Carroll community wondering what action John Carroll will take.

As institutions of higher education continue to struggle, John Carroll’s sister institution, Notre Dame College, is shrouded by rumors signaling its potential closure after this academic year. Yet, despite its shared identity and close proximity, JCU President Alan Miciak confirmed that JCU is not looking to purchase the campus if it were to shut its doors.

At the end of 2023, multiple reports trickled through local Cleveland media that NDC was not sitting strong in its finances and that its administration had not officially decided whether the institution would stay open despite celebrating its centennial just two years ago. As of Jan. 24, interim President John J. Smetanka told Spectrum News that Notre Dame College is “engaged in an ongoing strategic planning exercise to maximize opportunities to continue our mission into the future and serve our students in the best way possible.”

With decreasing enrollment and the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic still hammering at Notre Dame’s books, other universities are eyeing absorbing the college to stay ahead of the curve. However, John Carroll is not a member of that camp. When asked about potentially purchasing the NDC buildings, Miciak told The Carroll News that such a buy “isn’t a good decision at this point in time.”

“At this point, we will be very supportive of students who want to transfer and finish their education [at John Carroll],” he stated. “You’ve got to be very efficient with the assets that you do have. Their campus, with the brick and mortar, is very beautiful, but very expensive to maintain.”

Other schools, specifically Cleveland State University, have signaled that they are willing to take on Notre Dame with talks dating back to September 2023. Faculty and staff at NDC told WKYC-TV that a decision could be released within the month of February on if the college will close and what the path forward may look like.

Despite not expanding outward towards South Euclid, Miciak assured that the Building Inspired Futures projects are still underway and students can expect progress only a few footsteps off campus at Fairmount Circle. The continuation of these renovations also shows that John Carroll’s financial situation is not in dire straits like other universities in the region.

“We’re in good shape,” Miciak said. “The board is investing in all of the renovations that you see; we’ve started the College of Health which is bringing new enrollments that would not have traditionally been at John Carroll. I feel very confident where we’re at right now. We’re doing a lot of I think the investments to keep John Carroll an attractive option.”

In a statement to The Carroll News, Smetanka stated that their work is ongoing and it “will lead to a final decision soon.”

“Notre Dame College (NDC), with its rich history and commitment to academic excellence, has been a cornerstone of our community for more than 100 years,” he said. “However, as we have shared, like many higher education institutions across the country, NDC has experienced challenges due to higher costs and a shrinking pool of college-aged students. We know this period of uncertainty can be unsettling. While specifics are still under development, we want to reassure students that our goal is to enable each student to successfully complete their degree in a timely manner.”

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About the Contributor
Laken Kincaid, Editor-in-Chief
Laken Kincaid is the Editor-in-Chief for The Carroll News from Beckley, West Virginia. They are a senior at John Carroll University who is double majoring in political science and communications (digital media) and minoring in leadership development. Laken has written for The Carroll News since the start of their freshman year and has previously served as a staff reporter, campus section editor and managing editor of the paper. They have received 18 Best of SNO awards, a Society of Professional Journalists Mark of Excellence award for Region 4 and two honorable mentions from the College Media Association. They have also been recognized by universities like Georgetown for their investigative reports. Additionally, they also write political satire for The Hilltop Show and feature stories on global poverty for The Borgen Project. In addition to their involvement with The Carroll News, Laken is involved with the Kappa Delta sorority, the speech and debate team, the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion, the Improv club and other organizations. They also serve as the news director for WJCU 88.7, John Carroll's own radio station, and as the president for John Carroll's Society of Professional Journalists chapter.  Laken also started their own national nonprofit organization known as Art with the Elderly which they have won the President's Volunteer Service Award and the Humanity Rising Award for. When not writing, Laken can be found doing graphic design for their internship with Union Home Mortgage or working as a resident assistant and peer learning facilitator on campus. Laken also enjoys skiing and watching true crime documentaries. In the future, Laken hopes to become a political journalist for a national news organization or to be a campaign commercial editor for politicians. To contact Laken, email them at [email protected].

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