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The Saint Anselm Crier

The student news site of Saint Anselm College

The Saint Anselm Crier

The student news site of Saint Anselm College

The Saint Anselm Crier

Magdalen College to close its doors after 50 years

St. A’s reaches out to undergrads
Magdalen College announces closure at conclusion of 2023-2024 academic year
Courtesy/Magdalen College
Magdalen College announces closure at conclusion of 2023-2024 academic year

Magdalen College, located just 40 miles away, will be closing its doors after 50 years of providing higher education rooted in Catholic tradition.

In a statement on their website, the college said, “after careful evaluation of the college’s financial challenges and a thorough review of alternatives, the Board of Trustees reluctantly has decided to close the college after graduation in May 2024.” 

Magdalen College was founded in 1973 by Dr. Peter V. Sampo and two of his students, John Meehan, a Saint Anselm graduate, and Francis Boucher. 

Prior to founding the college and serving as its first president, Dr. Sampo was a member of the Saint Anselm College faculty. According to an article published in 1970 in Anselmian News, the alumni magazine, Sampo resigned in part due to differing views on Christian tradition and education. 

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“He said that, in his estimation, the essence of the college, those things which make it different and important, those things which make it a Catholic College in the Benedictine tradition, are seeping away,” the article said.

The article also included that Sampo “admitted that he will probably not be able to find a college where the conditions for teaching which he considers necessary to be effective as a scholar and teacher will be in effect.” 

It is perhaps for this reason that he went on to found Magdalen, so that he could create his ideal teaching conditions as a proponent of Christian and liberal arts thought. 

Later, he was a charter faculty member of Cardinal Newman College in Normandy, MO. He also founded two more colleges after leaving Cardinal Newman in 1978, Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts and the Erasmus Institute of Liberal Arts in Canterbury, NH.

One final class of Magdalen graduates will receive their diplomas in the spring. However, underclassmen will have to decide where and how to continue their educational pursuits. The college says that they are already working with other institutions, the New England Commission of Higher Education, and the New Hampshire Department of Education to help facilitate this transition.

“Our College, through Dr. Favazza, has already reached out to their president to assist the community of Magdalen, especially the students.  We have offered our support and will be conversing about how we can assist in the process they face.  We are prepared to meet with and ease the transition for any student who might wish to find a place here on the Hilltop,” said Alicia Finn, Dean of Students.

According to the New Hampshire of Education, Magdalen is one of four Catholic colleges in the state. It is the first to close since Daniel Webster in 2017.

“As closures happen around the nation, I don’t believe that NH is any worse than, or immune from, the same threats I noted above.  Each one of us is keenly aware of the current state of academia and all institutions – private, public, large and small – are making adjustments to sustain ourselves and offer the best educational experience to students given our own mission-related accents,” said Dean Finn.

“While college closures across the country are on the rise, Saint Anselm College welcomed the second largest class on record in the fall of 2023 while setting an all-time record for the number of applications,” said Julie Lanman, Director of Admission.

Saint Anselm College hopes to continue providing Catholic, liberal arts education to the state of New Hampshire and all those who desire to call “the Hilltop” home.

Dr. Peter Sampo founded four colleges (Courtesy/Magdalen College)

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