End of an era: Rosemont College going coed

June 2, 2008 10:56:35 AM PDT
Tough times are leading to a new chapter in the history of the small college on the Main Line.

The school's trustees have voted to allow men to take classes at the Roman Catholic school beginning in the fall of next year.

A steep decline in enrollment, and a budget deficit, basically forced trustees to make the move to coed.

The idea has drawn strong criticism from current students and nostalgic former students.

But others who support the change say while they would mourn the loss of the school's all-women status, they would be hurt even more if the college closed.

Founded in 1921, Rosemont's undergraduate enrollment dropped from 419 to 366, or 13 percent, between fall 2005 and last fall. By this spring, it was down to 342.

Immaculata in Chester County and Chestnut Hill, both small Catholic colleges in Philadelphia, have reported a sharp increase in enrollment since converting to coed.