Bradford College (United States)

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Bradford College
Navy logo.jpg
Bradford College seal
Former names
Bradford Academy (1803-1932), Bradford Junior College (1932-1971)
Motto Surgo ut Prosim
Type Private
Active 1803–2000
President Jean Scott
Academic staff
33 Fulltime
Administrative staff
Students 600
Location Haverhill, MA, USA
42°45′56″N 71°04′48″W / 42.765454°N 71.080009°W / 42.765454; -71.080009Coordinates: 42°45′56″N 71°04′48″W / 42.765454°N 71.080009°W / 42.765454; -71.080009
Campus Suburban

Bradford College operated in the part of Haverhill, Massachusetts that was once the town of Bradford. Founded in 1803, Bradford College began as Bradford Academy, one of New England's earliest coeducational institutions. In 1836 Bradford chose to devote itself exclusively to the education of women.[1] By 1932, the school had grown from a secondary school and became Bradford Junior College. In 1971 Bradford was authorized to grant bachelor's degrees. The new Bradford College began admitting men again that same year. Bradford College focused on the creative arts and social sciences with one of the oldest alumni associations in the country.

On November 19, 1999 its Board of Trustees announced that the 197-year-old liberal arts institution would close in May 2000. The campus presently now is the current home of Northpoint Bible College.


Bradford College traced its origins to Bradford Academy, which was founded in 1803, and used that date in its collegiate logo. The academy incorporated in 1804.[2] Many of Bradford's early graduates became Christian missionaries. The first president of Bradford was Dr. Katharine Denworth, a graduate of Swarthmore with a doctorate from Columbia. Her tenure from 1927 to 1939 oversaw the transformation of Bradford in 1932 to a liberal arts junior college for women leading to a bachelor's degree. With degrees in classics from Oberlin and Smith, scholar Dorothy M. Bell became president in 1940. Over the ensuing 27 years Ms. Bell led Bradford Junior College through World War II and to national and international prestige as a two-year liberal arts private women's college, retiring in 1967. The college became coeducational and the name changed to Bradford College in 1971.

During the 1990s, annual budget shortfalls of more than $1 million, combined with declining enrollment and revenues, along with resulting losses due to competition from larger regional institutions, sealed the school's fate. In 1997, the school incurred a $18 million debt when it refinanced old debt and sought funds to build new dormitories.

After 197 years, Bradford College was closed in 2000, leaving substantial debt. In late 2007, the remaining endowment of $3.6 million was awarded to Hampshire College, an alternative liberal arts college in Amherst, Massachusetts.[3] With the closing, 33 full-time professors and 133 employees were left without jobs.

Property sold[edit]

Bradford Academy postcard, ca. 1905

According to the Assemblies of God denomination, an affiliate of Hobby Lobby stores (founder: David Green) purchased the former Bradford College campus in 2007. Renovation needed to be done prior to a new school's opening on the campus.[4] An estimated $5 million worth of repairs and upgrades were needed before the shuttered campus reopened for the fall semester of 2008. The cost of repairs was covered by Green and his affiliates. The 18-acre (73,000 m2), multimillion-dollar campus, was then given to Zion Bible College, the Assemblies of God Bible school previously located at the former campus of the Barrington College in Barrington, Rhode Island.

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ Massachusetts Board of Education; George A. Walton (1877), "Report on Academies: Bradford Academy", Annual Report...1875-76, Boston – via Internet Archive 
  2. ^ George Adams (1853). "Education in Massachusetts: Incorporated Academies". Massachusetts Register. Boston: Printed by Damrell and Moore. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Jill Harmacinski (2007-09-17). "Bradford College to change hands today; Deal allows Zion Bible College to move onto campus". The Eagle-Tribune Online. North Andover, Mass. Archived from the original on 2013-01-22. Retrieved 2011-11-29. 
  5. ^ Robinson, C.S. (1891). Necrological reports and annual proceedings of the Alumni Association Volume 3: 1875-1932 (Volume 3: 1875-1932 ed.). Princeton, N.J: Princeton Theological Seminary. pp. 134–135. Retrieved 8 July 2016. 

External links[edit]