Morrisville troubles draw concern from community

NORWICH – The former campaign manager who successfully raised $1 million to build the Norwich branch of Morrisville State College said Monday he was extremely disappointed to learn that the educational institution might be in trouble.

The fact that enrollment is down by 100 students and the dean has been directed to create community-funded curriculum over the next 30 days to attract future students isn’t sitting well with William H. Smith Jr. The retired Smith Ford dealer and New York businessman said he led a committee that tapped into trusts such as the Roger W. Follett Foundation and the Greater Norwich Foundation, and also from private individuals.

“Go look at all of the names on the walls and on the classrooms down there. We really cared about having Morrisville become part of our community; that’s why we built the building here. That the college and state are not supportive of our campus is really disappointing,” he said.

Specifically, fundraisers cumulated $250,000 from the Follett Foundation, $100,000 for the college’s lobby and $25,000 for a classroom in memory of Agatino J. Natoli from the Greater Norwich Foundation, and $25,000 from retired Norwich businessman Jim Dunne in memory of his father. Dunne has served on the Morrisville College Council for the past 10 years.

There were just 360 students on the attendance roster this semester, compared to 460 last year. The county had projected an enrollment of 1,000 when the Norwich campus opened its doors back in 2006.

The college’s Officer in Charge, Dr. B. Wolfe Yeigh, has directed Campus Dean Marsha Cornelius to look at providing college credit courses to Norwich High School students and to engage business leaders to use the campus for their licensing or training programs. She has been asked to report back in April. Cornelius has said she is confident about Morrisville’s future in Norwich.

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