JACKSONVILLE, Texas -- Texas’ oldest junior college will resume classes this fall with only a handful of faculty and a gutted enrollment base. This comes after a failed effort at Lon Morris College to have a new football program save it from mounting debt.
The East Texas college decided in 2009 to resurrect its football program after nearly 70 years in hopes it would increase enrollment and revenue. Although the program helped more than triple enrollment to about 1,000 by 2010, Lon Morris was burdened with waves of new students who couldn’t pay the bills and overwhelming football expenses.
Now the 158-year-old private two-year college has filed for bankruptcy, cut all its sports programs and furloughed all but about a half dozen faculty. Officials estimate about 100 students remain enrolled at the Jacksonville campus.