Ripon College President Zach Messitte
Ripon College President Zach Messitte

   As news began to break among Ripon College alumni about changes being made, college President Zach Messitte started to receive phone messages from graduates who were less than happy.

   “People were concerned,” he said of the college’s future.

   Some staff and professor positions were eliminated.

   Majors and minors were cut.

   What is going on? many asked. Is the college failing?

   “I got emails ... from people who were unhappy, who were hearing from their professors here and from others, and that’s a tough situation. One where you have to be sympathetic with,” Messitte said. “But I am a believer that, at the end of the day [the college] is a business-like institution. At the end of the day, your revenues still have to match your expenditures and the college wasn’t doing that.

   “And the college is starting to do that — or at least pretty well down the path to doing it. And that’s important.”

   This spring, Ripon College trimmed about $1 million from its budget, between eliminating positions and altering its curriculum.

   This also comes a year after another $1 million in cuts last year.

   “We’ve done it, and it’s been tough,” Messitte said.

   It’s not done yet. This next school year likely will see additional alterations to the school’s curriculum.

   Messitte, though, views the changes as part of a painful but necessary step toward putting Ripon College on a path toward financial success.

   “You never want to say ‘never’ on anything, but the majority of the work that needed to be done in order to make sure we were being fiscally responsible has been done,” Messitte said, “and that I don’t foresee this becoming something that happens every June.”

Read the full story in the July 16, 2015 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.