This year, one could say Knoxville College has a dramatically different-campus-like atmosphere. That’s because, for the first time in Knoxville College’s 140-year-old history, no students can be found on its campus located just northwest of the city of Knoxville’s downtown area. Just like many other historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in the nation, Knoxville College faces both leadership and financial issues. The AP reports that the college faces “millions of dollars of debt.” Knoxville College also “has cycled through three presidents in the past 18 months,” reports the AP. The college says it had to halt classes this academic year to reorganize and regroup with stronger fundraising
“Emotionally, it’s been hard,” said the Rev. James Reese, chairman of the college’s board of trustees. “It’s tough sometimes to hear people respond, you know, with, ‘You don’t have any students, so what do you need money for?’ I tell them we need the money to be able to soon bring students.” Since its founding, Knoxville College has been opened “to students of diverse backgrounds and cultures who seek a quality liberal arts education,” and in particular Black students. Presently, Knoxville College and leadership hopes alumni, family, and friends will come out to enjoy, and give back to the college during the fall homecoming celebration next month. Reese also says the college is planning to open its doors to new and returning students again during the fall term in 2016.