Franklin gave struggling Urbana University 6 more years

Heartbroken, heartbroken, heartbroken.

The feeling I and many others in Urbana have about the closing of UU. The university served the area for 170 years through both good and trying times.

I taught at Urbana University (College) for 32 plus years and there were very few years in that time that we weren’t on the edge of closing, because of finances. I came in August of 1973 and it wasn’t certain we would open a month later for the 1973-74 year. The good graces of the local financial institutions saved us numerous times. The faculty and staff were always underpaid but many stayed on for a number of years because of their belief in Urbana University and what it was doing for students. We had a number of excellent faculty and staff members spread across all the academic areas.

In April of 2014 Franklin University purchased Urbana University, with the help of our local financial institutions and at great financial costs to them. Without that purchase, UU would have closed at that time. Was it all rosy? No. Many people lost their jobs due to restructuring. Without the purchase, all employees would have lost their jobs.

Franklin invested many, many thousands of dollars to repair most buildings on campus and make numerous other repairs. Some buildings needed major repair. Once UU was on its feet, it was to be self supporting. The enrollment never reached the level to allow that to occur. Dr. Washington worked extremely hard in trying to make UU grow. He worked hard in trying to build a better town-gown relationship. I feel that relationship was better than I had seen it since I came to Urbana in 1973. He was so supportive and enthusiastic with our students.

Franklin gave UU six years of extended life and the city of Urbana six years of extended financial benefits. I am so thankful that UU had those six more years. I don’t think Franklin “crapped” on Urbana.


Robert “Bob” Cawley