William Peace Univ. Pres. calls transition successful

July 27, 2012 3:43:01 PM PDT
Since going from an all-girl Peace College to co-ed one year ago, officials said retention is up 10 percent.

The question remains, do people think the move was a smart one?

The campus is quiet and peaceful in the summertime, but a closer look behind the scenes might reveal a more unsettled picture.

The university's president Debra Townsley said the transition from an all-girl to a co-ed school was successful.

"With the students, it seems to be going just great," said Townsley. "This is obviously what the students needed and wanted and when we look at our returning students, what we see is that our first and second year retention has gone up 10 percent."

Townsley said more students are committing to the school as well.

"We have a group of inquiries now, about 5,000 from juniors, and they have requested early decision so we have implemented early decision as of July 1," said Townsley.

But some alums and former teachers like Sally Buckner are still very upset about the switch.

"There are some who weep till their dying day about the change," said Buckner. "It's not just the co-ed. There's the business of acting as if there's a magic wand and you can touch the college on the head and say behold, you are now a university, without a single graduate course."

Some alums have pulled their financial support.

"Well, there were several very large gifts. They were in wills and were going to go later, that disappeared," said Buckner.

Giving is down, depending on how you look at it.

"Giving has returned to what the average was pre-campaign," said Townsley. "So, we were in a campaign for about six years and you always see your giving go up during a campaign."

The university said they have the support of many alums.

Townsley said she is proud of the increases she has seen at the university, and said the change was best for the future of the school.

"Some people may never accept it and I'm sorry for that," said Townsley. "But, I hope people will understand that the goal here is that we continue to offer a great quality academic program."

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