MUSKOGEE, Okla. – One of Oklahoma’s oldest colleges says it may have to close its doors due to a lack of money.
In 1880, Professor Almon C. Bacone dreamed of creating a Christian-based school for Native Americans. He started by teaching a handful of students, but was later granted 160 acres of land from the Creek Tribal Council. Bacone founded ‘Indian University,’ which later became Bacone College.
Although the college has a rich history, school administrators say they are facing a financial crisis.
“We’ve run out of money,” said Frank Willis, Bacone College’s outgoing president.
So far, the school has laid off more than 90 faculty and staff members. Willis says the campus may have to be closed for several weeks to save money, which is causing concern for many students who live on campus.
“I’m a senior, I’ve got one more semester left,” TJ Styles told KJRH. “I’m just trying to graduate and move on. This school got so much money out of me already so I’m still trying to be faithful not trying to give up because it’s frustrating,”
Willis says the new president is working to secure funding to fill a $2 million budget hole.
“If those sources of support don’t come in we will have to close Bacone,” Willis said. “The oldest school in the state. It would be a true tragedy,”