Today it was announced that my junior college alma mater Hiwassee College in Madisonville, Tennessee is closing at the end of the semester after 170 years of service to the world. Many reasons led to this decision by the board of trustees and I am sure the decision was not an easy one.
For me this is a time of sadness and the beginning of some mourning. Without Hiwassee the person you know does not exist. It opened my mind and heart to so many wonderful things, ideas and opportunities. I was able to get my college career back on track there after an unsuccessful first attempt after High School.
Hiwassee did a lot to help me grow in my faith and to understand that the family of God is much wider than I could have ever realized on my own. Rooted in The United Methodist Church’s tradition of education the college inspired me as well as informed me of many lessons both academic and spiritual. I became a much more open-minded person there.
I flourished there socially and made great friendships that have lasted for a long time. The connections with people of all walks of life have meant a great deal to me. At Hiwassee I was accepted and was able to have a group of friends that I hadn’t had before who welcomed me into their fold.
The reasons for closing are valid. College/University is a different sort of thing these days. Reducing the cost is something people around the world are working on. Also when you see what is going on in the world you have to be more dynamic and fluid in how you educate for today’s workforce. The college couldn’t adapt to that model.
Now Hiwassee has a few weeks left and I will share more memories as that time comes. Right now is a time to remember fondly and to pray for those who are current students, faculty and staff in the next phases of their lives.