BEREA COLLEGE CONVOCATION, 3 p.m., November 12, 1970
Address by President Willis D. Weatherford
"The Role of Private Colleges in America"
Everyone agrees that America's independent colleges are in
the midst of a serious crisis, but the nature of that crisis is
misconstrued by most and its seriousness understimated by many.
The crisis is frequently seen in financial terms, with col-
lege administrators saying that the private colleges in American
may virtually disappear unless the federal government comes to
their aid. Come hold that two-fifths of all independent colleges
may fold up within a decade if left to their own financial devices.
Although I do not accept the more extreme prophecies of gloom,
there is considerable truth in these arguments. Several colleges
folded up last year from insolvency, and another loots as if it
may follow by Christmas this year.
Yet the financial crisis, though serious enough in itself,
is primarily a surface indictation of a much deeper and more
serious crisis. This is the question of whether the private col-
leges have a continuing important role irn American higher educa-
tion. If they do, and if the public is convinced of it, then
these colleges will continue to receive financial support one way
or another. But if there is not an important role for the private
colleges they will not survive and should not. Thus the issue