Holy Names University
holy names u

Catholic university in Oakland, Calif., is closing in May

Jan. 4, 2023
Officials at Holy Names University say the economic headwinds were too strong to overcome.

Holy Names University, a Roman Catholic coed institution in Oakland, Calif., has announced that it will close in May after its spring semester.

The East Bay Times reports that university representatives have laid out multiple reasons for the decision, pointing to shifting economic conditions and the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We've been working very hard to have a different outcome and our process was full of integrity, but it was time to make this decision," said Holy Names board of trustees president Steven Borg.

Borg called the headwinds in higher education "profound," and pointed to the pandemic and rising costs' effects on the university and other smaller, liberal-arts institutions.

The board says it will work with Dominican University of California in San Rafael as a designated transfer institution, enabling students to continue academic programs.

According to numbers from December, the university had enrolled 520 undergraduate and 423 graduate students in fall 2022, but only 449 total students for the spring 2023 semester.

Borg said that there is $49 million in debt on Holy Names’ property, and the costs of deferred maintenance and compliance upgrades on the 65-year old campus could be over $200 million.

Holy Names was founded in 1868 as the Convent of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart. It moved to its Mountain Boulevard location in 1957.

About the Author

Mike Kennedy | Senior Editor

Mike Kennedy has been writing about education for American School & University since 1999. He also has reported on schools and other topics for The Chicago Tribune, The Kansas City Star, The Kansas City Times and City News Bureau of Chicago. He is a graduate of Michigan State University.

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