Following a six-month due diligence process by the administrations and boards of trustees of Salem State University and Montserrat College of Art Presidents Stephen D. Immerman and Patricia Maguire Meservey announced today that a merger has been ruled out. The presidents said that despite the desire to create a stronger affiliation, estimated transition costs and the complexities of operating a separate campus would not make the merger economically feasible. The current economic climate in the commonwealth and limited growth potential in higher education in general, presented obstacles to the merger.
Both presidents said the process helped the institutions gain new insights into the workings of the other and that further academic collaborations between the two would continue to be discussed.
“Montserrat College of Art is an exceptional, small art college with an outstanding faculty and programs that Salem State would have been pleased to add to its curriculum, but the numbers just didn’t work at this time,” said President Meservey. “We will continue to discuss potential collaborations that would be beneficial to students from both institutions.”
“Montserrat entered discussions with Salem State hoping to add additional courses to our very rich visual arts programs, and during our discernment process, have learned much about our great neighbors at Salem. We will continue our discussions there, while we continue to add value, cultural life and economic impact in Beverly and continue contributing to the burgeoning Creative Economy of the region,” said Steve Immerman.
Montserrat Board of Trustees Chair Lee Dellicker said, “The future of Montserrat is strong and we entered these discussions from that posture. The college looks forward to welcoming a strong freshman class this fall, high retention numbers going forward, and from just completing a solid year in fundraising. We are poised for the future.”
The college will remain the intimate, student-centered learning environment that it has been for the past 45 years. It is integral to its culture to continue to explore options and opportunities to strengthen the college. Montserrat has done that in the past and no doubt will continue to do so in the future. While there was much that was attractive and considered seriously about a merger with Salem State in the end it was not an option that was going to work. We are mindful of the challenging economic climate for small, private colleges in America today, and we will continue to carefully steward both the history and build on the future of this great institution and its students, as we have always done, seeking new and innovative ways to secure its future.