Historic Knoxville College may see accreditation in near future

Historic Knoxville College may see accreditation in near future

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Knoxville College was founded at the end of the Civil War. Knoxville College was founded at the end of the Civil War.
"It was a great school," said alumnus Robert J. Booker. "We had 500 to 600 students on the campus, a great faculty then, good facilities, tremendous basketball team that won a big championship in '56, and '58." "It was a great school," said alumnus Robert J. Booker. "We had 500 to 600 students on the campus, a great faculty then, good facilities, tremendous basketball team that won a big championship in '56, and '58."
"I know it's not too much to a lot of people down here," said Knoxville College senior Brandon Steele. "For me, it's a stepping stone." "I know it's not too much to a lot of people down here," said Knoxville College senior Brandon Steele. "For me, it's a stepping stone."
The school has deteriorated in recent years, especially after losing accreditation. The school has deteriorated in recent years, especially after losing accreditation.

By JOSH AULT
6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - A historic college in Knoxville is falling apart.

Knoxville College was started right after the Civil War to educate freed slaves. At one time, the college was thriving. Today, the college is in a state of disrepair.
  
Knoxville College has a rich history in East Tennessee. After being established in 1875, it became known as one of the most influential African-American colleges in the country.

Robert J. Booker graduated from Knoxville College in 1962.

"It was a great school," said Booker. "We had 500 to 600 students on the campus, a great faculty then, good facilities, tremendous basketball team that won a big championship in '56, and '58."

But since then, the school has deteriorated. Many of the building on campus have been condemned, and student enrollment has dropped to between 65 and 100.

Many say this started when the school lost accreditation in 1997.

"I know it's not too much to a lot of people down here," said Knoxville College senior Brandon Steele. "For me, it's a stepping stone, so I'll take what I can from here and move on with it."

Steele came all the way from Minnesota to attend school here. He says despite lacking accreditation, it was the only college he could afford.

Tuition is $2,500 a semester.

Steele says he can look past the run down buildings for a good education.

"I've seen way worse from where I'm from," said Steele. "When I first looked at it, it wasn't too bad, because it was easy for me to adjust."

Everyone 6 News spoke with who has ties to Knoxville College just hopes one day it can come back to where it used to be.

The man who is on a mission to do that is current Knoxville College President Dr. Horace Judson, who is starting his fourth year at the college.
     
"We are optimistic and confident," said Dr. Judson. "There has been no formal effort to apply for accreditation until now."

Dr. Judson says they started the process last May and says they should have their accreditation back in 12 to 18 months.

He says with that they will be able to improve the campus, and build the student body up to his goal of 2,000.

"I think we are on the upswing now," said Dr. Judson. "We kind of bottomed out and I think we are moving forward."

Dr. Judson says the college is still trying to pay off a $5.5 million loan from 2005. He says their current budget is $3 million, with a majority of that coming from fundraising.

Most of the professors at the college are part-time from the University of Tennessee.

Half of the student body at Knoxville College is international students.

If you'd like to make a donation to the school, visit the Knoxville College website.

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