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Cardinal Stritch University will close following the spring semester

The sun rises behind a university building, turning the sky shades of red and orange.
Sara Woelfel
/
Cardinal Stritch University / Instagram

On Monday evening, Cardinal Stritch University announced that its 85-plus years of educational services will soon come to an end.

Dr. Dan Scholz, the university’s president, broke the news in a message posted on the Cardinal Stritch website. He reported that the board of trustees recommended to the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi that the school “suspend and cancel all educational services, activities and programs effective May 22, 2023.”

The motivation behind the decision seems to be entirely financial, as Scholz cited declining enrollment, a shortage of resources, and operational and facility challenges that added up to “a no-win situation.”

“In the end, it was determined that we could no longer continue to provide the high-quality educational experiences our students rightly deserve,” he continued. “Now, our attention will turn to helping our students, supporting our faculty and staff, and doing the best we can in winding down operations at our beloved university.”

For the students, Scholz said Cardinal Stritch will provide academic services “to a limited number of students” who are close to completing their academic programs and to the extent that finances allow, giving them a chance to fulfill their graduation requirements. He also said the school is “finalizing partnerships with local colleges and universities” so other students can transfer their credits and continue their education.

Scholz noted that employee-assistance programs for faculty and staff will continue, and that Cardinal Stritch will “work closely with them on employment matters.”

The school plans to go ahead with its final commencement ceremony May 21 at the Wisconsin Center, with Scholz saying, “It most certainly will be bittersweet, but we want to recognize the achievements of those earning their degrees.”

“For more than 85 years,” he continued, “Stritch has been an excellent resource for a liberal-arts education grounded in our Franciscan values: showing compassion, reverencing all of creation, making peace and creating a caring community — the hallmarks of an incredible place for learning. We are all proud of this legacy, and we will celebrate it.”

Scholz closed out his message by inviting those affected by the closing to contact him at djscholz@stritch.edu. He also pointed viewers to a landing page on the school’s website about the closing, although at the time of writing it was still being populated with information.