After what was once considered “a win-win for both institutions,” Trocaire College’s planned acquisition of Medaille University has been terminated.
Trocaire College President Bassam Deeb cited the “extreme” challenges higher education, in general, is facing for the two colleges’ split. Among them are demographic shifts affecting Western New York, pandemic-related ramifications and lack of student interest.
“This is not the outcome we strived for as significant human and financial resources have been invested by both institutions in the attempt to consummate the proposed transaction,” Deeb said in a statement.
Discussions between the two colleges first began in October 2021. Discussions were moving so positively that last August, the schools issued a memorandum of understanding. Medaille subsequently sold Trocaire six properties totaling $1,960,256. The two schools are based in Buffalo, located just nine miles apart.
Facing underwhelming financial and enrollment prospects, Medaille sought an acquisition with Trocaire to preserve its 148-year-old legacy, along with its programs, faculty, staff and students. All “Medaille legacy” students still enrolled following the end of the spring semester would have had all their credits transferred to Trocaire without any loss of credits.
While “disappointed” that the acquisition is not happening, Medaille Interim President Lori V. Quigley could not comment on why it happened, citing confidentiality provisions, according to The Buffalo News. Deeb similarly declined to comment or elaborate on why the plan fell apart, though he seems to stand with Quiqley’s sentiments.
“This is on top of the emotional effort expended by many board members, senior leadership and faculty and staff at both institutions who worked so diligently on this matter over the last several months,” Deeb said.
Plans might have fallen apart during the schools’ pending approval with state and regional governing bodies, such as the state Education Department, the Attorney General’s Office and Middle States Commission on Higher Education, their accrediting agency.
Medaille’s Board of Trustees is set to meet today to discuss the university’s remaining options. With little room to continue, the university may face a potential closure. Last year, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education issued a statement to Medaille requesting Standard II compliance, such as “adequate fiscal and human resources, including physical and technical infrastructure, to support operations.” If closure is the case, Medaille could join a growing list of small private colleges with religious roots announcing closures this year, such as Finlandia University, Iowa Wesleyan University and Cardinal Stritch University. Medaille’s closure could potentially displace around 1,600 students.