A central Kentucky college officially closes on Monday, after 85 years of operation.

Officials at St. Catharine College near Springfield announced in June that the school would shut down, citing declining enrollment and a dispute with the U.S. Department of Education over a cut in financial aid.

The move left several hundred students scrambling to find a new school.  Many have transferred to similar-sized institutions such as Bellarmine, Midway and Kentucky State University.

More than 100 faculty and staff members were laid off.

Welcome banner at St. Catharine College near Springfield, Ky.Rick Howlett |

Welcome banner at St. Catharine College near Springfield, Ky.

St. Catharine President Cindy Gnadinger said it’s been a trying time for everyone.

“This is truly a death and it feels like a death to all of us,” Gnadinger told WFPL last week. “This place has been here for so long. Education has been on this land for so long, and I think many took it for granted. And it’s been very difficult.”

Human Resources Director Carlotta Brussell has worked at St. Catharine for nearly a decade and earned three degrees from the school.

She was among a handful of staff still on campus last week.

“Seeing the students go off and saying goodbye to them has been one thing,” Brussell said. “Saying goodbye to my staff and faculty — the tears — it’s really been sad because they are such loyal and dedicated people.”

St. Catharine College was established in 1931 by the Dominican Sisters. The school property is being placed in receivership and will be sold to pay off creditors.

Rick Howlett is WFPL's Broadcast Editor and also produces feature and general assignment radio stories.