A merger between Virginia Intermont College and Webber International University (Fla.) has fallen through as of April 15, and the school’s future is now uncertain.
“Due to this decision, we are moving with haste to guarantee accredited options beyond July 1 for our students who are not slated for graduation,” said VIC President Clorisa Phillips in a statement. “We will also immediately call faculty and staff in to discuss plans for operating over the coming months. In the coming days we will take care of our students, address the needs of our employees, continue to work on our financial situation, and communicate with our partners and vendors. We ask for the space and time to do this important work. That is especially critical for our students.”
In the statement, Phillips said the college, founded in 1884, will complete the spring semester and then offer its usual summer session through June 27—and that those activities will remained accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges due to a temporary injunction filed in August 2013. Previously the Bristol-based school faced a fiscal and accreditation crisis, with SACS recommending withdrawing its accreditation last June due to the financial troubles.
Former director of equine studies and riding, Eddie Federwisch, announced his departure June 24, 2013, and Lisa Moosmueller-Terry was named head coach and director of the VIC Equestrian Center last July.
The fate of the Virginia Intermont College equestrian program—including its Intercollegiate Horse Show Association, Intercollegiate Dressage Association and American National Riding Commission teams—is also unknown at this time. The Virginia Intermont College Equine Facebook page has a statement posted asking for monetary assistance for the college’s 65 horses.
“The issue now is caring for the horses until we can either transfer the program to a new school or close it if a new school can’t be found,” stated the riding center on the Facebook page. “To accomplish this we are now tasked with raising $100,000 over the next few weeks with every dime of it going to the feeding, shoeing and medical care of the herd. At the moment we have a plan that will accomplish this goal and allow for tax[-deductible] donations.”
The Virginia Intermont dressage team most recently won the IDA National Championship (Va.) on April 13.