Lincoln College Will Close at the End of 2022, Eliminating Swim & Dive Program

Lincoln College in Lincoln, Illinois will close its doors for good on May 13. The 157-year old college named after Abraham Lincoln served around 1,000 students, including 13 athletes on its intercollegiate swimming and diving teams.

Lincoln College competes in the Mid South Conference and the NAIA. At the 2022 Mid South Conference Championship meet, where the men finished 8th out of 12 teams and the women finished 9th out of 12 teams.

The women’s team had a conference champion in the form of diver Carla Gutierrez Anaya, who won the women’s 1-meter springboard event.

According to federal government data, for the most recent year available, 2019-2020, student-athletes made up 248 out of 777 undergraduates at the school: almost a third of the undergraduate student body.

The school faced a dramatic decline in enrollment over the last decade. Beginning in 2012, the school saw enrollment numbers begin to drop: from 2012 through 2020, enrollment dropped by 41%. The school saw a burst of enrollment just before the COVID-19 pandemic, but that pandemic along with a cyberattack in December 2021 that thwarted admissions data until March 2022, ultimately forced the school to close.

The school was founded in 1865 by the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, though after a series of mergers it is now independent and has no formal church affiliation. The school is a designated PBI by the U.S. Government, or a Predominantly Black Institution. Historically, the school has had about the same number of black students as white students, though that has fluctuated from year-to-year.

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