Knoxville College president to retire at end of year

Knoxville College president to retire at end of year

Dr. Horace A. Judson (source: Knoxville College) Dr. Horace A. Judson (source: Knoxville College)

6 News Reporter

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - The president of Knoxville College has submitted his resignation and plans to retire at the end of the year.

Dr. Horace A. Judson is in his fourth year as president of the troubled historic college.

Board of Trustees member Frank Shanklin, Jr. told 6 News Dr. Judson will serve through the end of the year.

Dr. Evelyn Hallman, acting academic dean at the college, will be named president.

"I look forward to returning to retirement to my Florida home. I continue to wish the very best for Knoxville College," Dr. Judson said in a statement released by the college.

Before coming to Knoxville, Dr. Judson served as president of Grambling State University and as interim president of Plattsburgh State University of New York.

Knoxville College is the only historically black college in East Tennessee. It was established in 1875 and became known as one of the most influential African-American colleges in the country.

The years have been unkind to the college, however. The four-year liberal arts school lost accreditation in 1997. Since then, some campus building have been condemned and student enrollment has dropped significantly.

School administrators are now engaged in the process of reapplying for accreditation.

Under President Judson, the school has applied to get a conditional accreditation through Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) to take effect in May 2014.

If the college remains in good-standing for one year, the school could officially earn the accreditation by May 2015.

The accreditation would give students a chance to get types of federal loans and a better chance to get into graduate school. 

"I think we need it because we can funds for a lot of things, but I think people don't have to look down on it because is not," said Gaitor.  

Margaret Gaiter is a 1947 graduate of Knoxville College. Her brother and sister also graduated from the college during a time when black students couldn't go to UT and when there few other choices.  

Since then times have changed. Gaiter says the college has gotten a bad rap over the years, but is still holding out hope.

"They have to redo what they offer, but I still believe there is a place for Knoxville College," said Gaiter.  

Gaiter, along with other members of the board of trustees, say Dr. Judson stepped down because he fulfilled his promise of putting the school on track to earn its accreditation. 

Many say the school has improved in other ways since he first became President.

Leon Boddie came to Knoxville College to play basketball in 2008. He left to return home in 2010 for a semester, but ended up coming back.  

Despite the 140-year old campus that has many dilapidated and empty buildings, Boddie says he has noticed a difference.  

"The college has been gotten better since 2008, because by the maintenance and the grass and more lawnmowers and help from other people from the city that actually care for the school," said Boddie.  

A board of trustee member says alumni contributions have increased, three times as much when President Judson first came to the college.  

Many still worry the college may not have its accreditation approved.  

"It does worry me as a student, because you do want to go to grad school," said Sophomore Ian Johnson.  

Judson didn't return calls for an interview, nor did any other Knoxville College administrators.  

A group of volunteers are hosting a Knoxville College mega clean-up day on Saturday.

The event is the first event of its kind, asking for people to paint, clean and landscape around the campus.

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