In South Lancaster, Massachusetts, Atlantic Union College (AUC) was established in 1882 as a Seventh-day Adventist institution. In the 1990s, the college started to face financial difficulties. With 82% of enrolled students getting financial help in 1993, there was a high student loan default rate and enrollment was falling far short of expectations. The college was “basically bankrupt,” according to an auditor’s assessment, and owed at least $3 million at the time. The college struggled year after year, and the debt increased. The college was placed on probationary status by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges in 2008 as a result of “failure to meet [its] Standard on Financial Resources.” The loss of Atlantic Union College’s accreditation on July 31, 2011, was announced in February 2011.
At Atlantic Union College, several non-degree-granting activities persisted after 2011. The Thayer Performing Arts Center continued to offer performing arts instruction, and in 2013 the Northeast Evangelism Training School launched a certificate program in evangelism. 2018 saw the official closure of the college due to accreditation issues and money issues. AUC was a four-year liberal arts institution with a peak enrolment of approximately 700 students from 1933 until 2018.
The campus is now almost entirely abandoned. The 33 buildings on the 135-acre property total roughly 500,000 square feet of space and include dorms, academic buildings, staff housing, a gymnasium, and more. Parts of the campus have been sold off to buyers, but the large majority of the buildings remain abandoned and are falling into disrepair. A very interesting sight to see!
- Year Established: 1882
- Year Abandoned: 2018
- Original Function: Preparatory school