July 3, 2023
Announced Alliance University Closure Elicits Tears, Tales, and Tributes
On June 29, 2023, the Alliance University (AU) Board of Trustees made the difficult decision to cease all academic offerings effective September 1, 2023. The decision was precipitated by nearly 10 years of complex financial realities that ultimately resulted in the June 22, 2023, determination by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, AU’s accrediting body, that the university remained unable to sustain ongoing compliance with the Commission’s Standard 6 (financial health) requirement.
Throughout the challenging period leading up to this decision, the C&MA Board of Directors has continually affirmed the vital role of Alliance Theological Seminary (ATS) in training and equipping pastors, international workers, counselors, chaplains, and other ministers of the gospel. The Alliance is currently exploring options to sustain ATS beyond the close of Alliance University.
Since Alliance University announced its decision to cease academic operations, many alumni and friends have expressed their grief, fond memories, and words of tribute for an institution that has raised up, equipped, and sent out 35,000 graduates who have faithfully served Christ in 90 countries.
Here are just a few of the sentiments recently expressed on social media:
“Nyack College [AU] will always be where God stretched me, where I heard the call, where men and women of God poured into me and made me the man I am today. To my fellow alumni, God blessed us with a season at Nyack, we should cherish that season until the Lord calls us home. Lastly, my memories of long nights studying, chapel services, class debates, praying with other students, walking through the paths of the holy hillside to receiving my diploma, thank you Nyack College, Nyack College forever!!!”
“I am so very thankful to the Lord for my Nyack College [AU] experience! I loved it! I learned so much from the teachers and professors, the chapel speakers and fellow students! I was part of the Brooklyn Gospel Team. My experience there changed my life! I’m so thankful! Yet, I’m saddened; especially for those current students! Let’s agree together to pray for them.”
“I was a new believer, a senior in high school. I was reconsidering my college choice. I talked to someone I respected at my church who was a year older and went to Nyack. What he said resonated with me. He said it was all about the people. He was right. The campus is gone, now the school is gone, but it was never about that. Thank you all for making it such a special place.”
“I’m thankful for the time I spent to complete my degree. It has served me very well. I enjoyed my cohort and my professors. The things I learned have enhanced my service on the mission field, which began long before I entered Nyack. I am grateful.”
“It is actually a grieving process. The grieving of a community that loved its school and seminary. The grieving of something we share together even though we don’t know each other. Alliance University/Nyack College/ATS united and unites all of us. You can see shock, anger, deep sadness, emotions that actually show that we are grieving and how much we loved our school.”
“I still have many great memories of the hillside. I will never forget coming to New York City by bus and being picked up at the port authority. [Nyack students] drove me up the hill to Simpson Dorm at 3:00 in the morning. The mystique of all the walks in the freezing cold on the hillside is still in my memory!”
“I will always treasure my days at Nyack [AU] . . . the wonderful friends and professors, challenging class work, inspiring worship at the chapel services, opportunities to serve, the pathways on the hillside where everyone had a smile and a hello for one another. I’ll never forget my first day…I drove up to the entrance of Christie Hall, just me and a hatchback full of stuff. Then a group of girls (I never knew their names) swarmed around my car, cleared everything out, hauling the contents up several flights to my dorm. I knew right then this was going to be a special experience. Praying for all current students and faculty…I can only imagine how devastated they feel right now. But I have no doubt the Lord will see them through this difficult time and lead them onward to the right next step.”
“My grandparents attended when it was called the Missionary Training Institute in the 30s. They lived in Simpson Hall. My parents attended in the 60s when it was Nyack Missionary College. I attended Nyack College from 86 – 90. I loved living in Christie Hall, just as my mother had. I loved the old architecture of Schuman, which was the library, Pardington, and Simpson. I loved the beauty of the Hudson River and the Hillside.”
“Our school was formed 140 years ago as a missionary training institute. The buildings on campus were not named after donors, but after those who gave their lives for Christ. Working in the archives at Bailey Library, I was humbled by the legacy of faith and sacrifice –from the dozens of alumni martyred during the Boxer Rebellion, to the courageous and feisty American spinster who refused to leave her mission in Japan during WWII, to the nurse who selflessly gave up her rations to feed her ailing fellow-prisoners on the march to their deaths in Vietnam.”
And finally, in his June 30 letter to AU Alumni, Alliance University Provost Dr. David Turk wrote,
“We understand that this news may raise concerns and disappointments. It is important to reflect on the wonderful memories we have made together. Let us remember the echoes from the “Mount of Prayer and Blessing” gracing the Hillside. The joyful laughter of students sliding down the lawn of Simpson Hall on cafeteria trays during snow days. Perhaps, more recently, it’s the awe-inspiring view of the Oculus at One Trade as you commute into 2 Washington. These cherished memories remain with us, and we recognize the pain that accompanies this news.”
An Unending Fruit-bearing Legacy
Over one hundred and forty years ago, God ignited an overwhelming love for people of every race and tongue in the heart of Alliance Founder A. B. Simpson who, at the time, was the pastor of a large and affluent church in Manhattan. In response to what God was doing in his own life, Simpson urged his congregants to welcome the immigrants who were pouring into the city. Many in the church resisted this compassionate call and rejected Simpson’s vision for the church.
One Sunday morning in 1882, Simpson declared from the pulpit, “I am not interested in being a respectable Christian.” He resigned from the pastorate and established the Missionary Training Institute, where people would be trained to take the good news of God’s love wherever it needed to be heard.
That institute, which later became Nyack College, and more recently Alliance University, has remained faithful to its founder’s original vision and will be forever remembered for having repainted the spiritual landscape in many of the world’s hard places. And despite this sad farewell, the fruit-bearing legacy of Alliance University will continue to expand the Kingdom of Christ—in the Church and in the marketplace—for generations to come.
Please pray for Alliance University students, faculty, and staff as they seek God’s guidance and provision for their next season of life and ministry. Pray also for C&MA and Alliance University/ATS leaders as they seek God’s wisdom in sustaining the ministry of our national seminary.
“We must learn to live on the heavenly side and look at things from above. To contemplate all things as God sees them, as Christ beholds them, overcomes sin, defies Satan, dissolves perplexities, lifts us above trials, separates us from the world and conquers fear of death.”
– A. B. Simpson