Fordham University has begun the process of seeking a buyer for the Marymount campus, and will move the University’s Westchester operations to smaller quarters by September 2008, decisions driven by the disproportionately high cost of supporting the reduced operations on the Tarrytown campus.
“It is sad that the Marymount College campus must pass from Fordham’s ownership, and the alumnae’s great love for and devotion to Marymount made the decision all the more painful to us.” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “Nonetheless, Marymount alumnae will always have a home wherever Fordham University exists. In this we hope to maintain the spirit of Marymount’s foundress, Mother Marie Joseph Butler, who created a place of learning where women could experience personal growth and receive an education that would prepare them for positions of leadership and influence in the world.”
The University arrived at the decision after an exhaustive exploration of other options and extensive consultations with interested parties. Fordham had hoped to continue serving Westchester from the Marymount campus, but its large size relative to the University’s needs, and attendant overhead and costs, are impossible to justify. Fordham has incurred millions in expenses since Marymount College became part of the University: revenue from the proposed sale will likely not exceed expenses. The University remains committed to maintaining its 30-year presence in Westchester, and making the transition from the Marymount campus to new quarters as seamless as possible for students, community members, faculty and staff.
The closing of Marymount as an undergraduate women’s college is part of a larger picture in higher education. Declines in enrollment, driven by social, cultural and demographic changes in the last three decades, coupled with increased operating expenses, conspired against single-sex institutions. There were 230 women’s colleges in 1970, but by 2000, only 63 women’s colleges remained in existence.