Transition from College to Foundation

(Excerpts from The Monticello College Foundation “An Incorporated Ideal” by Dr. Robert R. Anschuetz)

At a meeting of the Monticello Board of Trustees on May 24, 1970, the decision was made to close Monticello College in an orderly fashion. It so happened, fortuitously for both the seller (Monticello) and the purchaser (Lewis and Clark Community College – LCCC), that there was an increasing sentiment at this same time and area for the establishment of a tax-supported coeducational junior college. There had been a positive declaration by public ballot to proceed with the establishment of such an institution and contact ensued between the two parties. The sale of the campus was consummated and an additional agreement was made that Monticello College would maintain a composite student body for the 1970-1971 academic year consisting of the last class of the Monticello students plus the first class of students of the newly organized Lewis and Clark Community College. With a singleness of purpose by all concerned, a smooth transitional year was accomplished and terminated with the graduation of the Monticello College class of 1971, Monticello’s last graduating class.

When the campus sale agreement had been reached, there were many new challenges to be met. There was accord among the Monticello trustees that their administrative functions would meld into a foundation to be known as The Monticello College Foundation; however, the location of its office was uncertain. A request for office space for the Foundation in Erickson Hall, the most recently constructed building on the campus was not grantable because the Lewis and Clark administration had claimed that space already. However, a stately ante-bellum residence on the campus, known as The Evergreens, had been the traditional residence of the president of Monticello College. As state regulations did not allow presidents of state-supported junior colleges to live on campus, the Monticello administration contracted with the Lewis and Clark administration to occupy The Evergreens.

In return for the perpetual use of this building, the Monticello trustees gave the 30,000 volumes in the college library to LCCC, enabling that fledgling school to be relieved of the complicated necessity of assembling a suitable replacement junior college library. Through the subsequent years, The Evergreens has been the site of continuing historic and/or nostalgic interest to visitors who may have been alumnae, students who chose some aspect of the Monticello history for a class assignment, persons interested in mid-nineteenth century architecture, or most importantly, the office from which The Monticello College Foundation personnel have continued the “promotion of female education.”

As the alteration from a college to a foundation would require legal modification Dr. Gail Myers (President of Monticello College) and Karl K. Hoagland Jr. (Trustee and Counsel) were astutely anticipating the changing legal position. Their recommendation to the Board of Trustees was essentially to retain the original entity created in 1843 by Act of the Illinois legislature, amend the charter to change the name to “The Monticello College Foundation,” and continue the original purpose of promoting female education. This amended charter became effective on July 1, 1971, and can be considered a temporal extension in concept of the charter granted by the State of Illinois to the Monticello Female Seminary in 1843.

The transfer of the college organization and campus to the LCCC administration occurred on July 1, 1971. When Monticello sold its campus of land and improvements thereon to LCCC for four million dollars, the character of that transfer reflected a strong desire by the Monticello trustees that the campus and buildings would continue to be the site of an educational institution. If there ever was such a thing as purchase of a “turn key college” including campus, loyal administration and faculty, functioning physical facilities and maintenance crew, this particular transaction could be considered a prime example.

Summary – Sale of the Monticello College Campus

1. The purchase price of the campus was four million dollars with payment completed on April 26, 1972.
2. The size of the campus was 183 acres.
3. The buyer was the State of Illinois, Junior College District #536, represented by Lewis and Clark Community College (LCCC).
4. On May 29, 1971, there was agreement that The Monticello College Foundation would have continued use of The Evergreens for its office; in return, the Foundation gave LCCC the 30,000 volumes constituting the junior college library.
5. On March 11, 1972, the Foundation gave a Charitable Trust of fixtures, furniture, and equipment to LCCC, valued at $661,600 by The American Appraisal Company.