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Presentation College Closing This Summer

72 years after the Presentation Sisters founded Presentation College to train nurses for rural health care, Presentation College in Aberdeen will close after this summer’s academic term. Here’s the College’s announcement:

Presentation College announced today that it will not enroll students for the 2023-24 academic year and will cease educational operations at its Aberdeen campus after the Spring and Summer 2023 sessions. Three Teach-Out Agreements with other higher educational institutions are in place to provide complete credit acceptance and comparable net tuition costs for current students. Employees will be provided staggered end dates and final compensation based upon their responsibilities.

St. Ambrose University (Davenport, Iowa) will continue to offer Presentation’s signature Online BSN program, a pathway for nursing students established through a consortial arrangement that was communicated last week. The Online BSN programs will become the Nano Nagle Online School of Nursing at St. Ambrose University in honor of Nano Nagle who founded the Sisters of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Aberdeen, South Dakota (Presentation Sisters) in Ireland in 1775.

“After careful evaluation of the sustainability of the College’s academic programs, and a thorough review of alternatives, the Board of Trustees and Presentation Sisters reluctantly decided to close the physical campus and implement Teach-Out programs as the most responsible way to steward students’ pathways to completing their degrees,” Sister Mary Thomas, president of the Presentation Sisters Corporate Board shared. “We understand and share the heartbreak by our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Aberdeen community, and we will work closely with them to succeed through this transition.”

Presentation Sisters founded the College in 1951 to fulfill its mission of rural health care and service through nursing education. The College later expanded to include academic programs in Health and Natural Sciences, and Social Science and Humanities, to support its mission of development of the whole person, in the Catholic tradition. Presentation Sisters have continuously sponsored the College and retained ownership of the campus land with the College as a separate nonprofit.

Just before the COVID pandemic, the College, the Board of Trustees, and the Corporate Board of the Presentation Sisters embarked on a year-long process of examining data and market impacts, engaging constituent groups to better understand the financial health of the College and its potential for growing enrollment to achieve sustainability. Its rural location, difficult for many out-of-state students to access, was already a known factor, along with a significant dependency on tuition revenue and gifts. The impact of COVID exacerbated the College’s challenges.

“The College explored and brought to the boards numerous partnership options over the last year, resulting in their selection of St. Ambrose University (SAU) for continuing the Online BSN programs,” said Paula Langteau, president of Presentation College. “As previously announced, St. Ambrose University’s state-of-the-art nursing program is a natural fit with Presentation to create the Nano Nagle Online School of Nursing, ensuring the legacies of the College and the Presentation Sisters,” President Paula Langteau said. “SAU also will serve as one of a number of Teach-Out Partners for other majors. It is important to us that every student has multiple, comparable options to complete their chosen degrees on time and without an increased financial investment.”

Presentation also has Teach-Out Agreements in place with the University of Mary (Bismarck, North Dakota) and Olivet College (Olivet, Michigan) and continues to pursue adding agreements with other regional and online institutions. January 30-31, the College is hosting a Teach-Out Fair (in the afternoons) and a Career Fair (in the mornings) to assist students and faculty, respectively, with their transitions to other higher educational institutions. In a unique partnership for college transitions, the College is also bringing independent academic coaches from College Possible to campus to assist students with their individual plans. A Job Fair will be organized for later this Spring to help staff to explore future employment opportunities [Presentation College, announcement of closure, 2023.01.17].

Spring semester courses at Presentation started last week on Monday, January 9. The college will maintain its full schedule of spring courses; it will offer only practical nursing certificate courses this summer. The college says it will fully refund students who choose to withdraw this semester.

St. Ambrose University will become the keeper of Presentation College’s transcripts and other records. The college says it is not filing for bankruptcy and should be able to carry out its existing contracts through August 31.

Presentation College’s closure is part of a long nationwide trend of campus closures. United States college and university closures spiked in 2016; over 860 higher-education campuses have closed since 2004, largely due to a shrinking student pool. According to IPEDS, Presentation College’s full-time-equivalent enrollment in Academic year 2021 was 527; in 2017, PC FTEs reached a decade-peak at 752.

The Presentation Sisters left their convent in 2021 and moved to two assisted-living facilities in Aberdeen and Sioux Falls. The closure of Presentation College will leave the 100-acre campus on the northwest corner of town vacant and open to new development proposals. Expect a lot of money-people and idea people to be contacting the Sisters and the College trustees to float their ideas for converting the Presentation campus into Aberdeen’s Next Big Thing.


  1. scott 2023-01-18 06:51

    Another nail in the coffin of healthcare for the citizens of SD. It will not be long before healthcare will only be available to those who can travel great distances to see even a mid-level provider.

  2. larry kurtz 2023-01-18 08:46

    For decades to pay lawsuits and hush money to the victims of pederastic clergy the Roman Church has been bleeding the assets and financial resources of the Presentation, Benedictine and the other ten orders of nuns in the United States forcing many elderly women into nursing homes at taxpayer expense. That’s it’s criminal is to say the very least.

  3. John 2023-01-18 09:55

    Another measure of the dire labor shortage in the US is the closing of over 860 higher education schools since 2004. The US is short 400,000 workers (SD is short over 30,000 workers). The annual labor shortage will climb to about or over 900,000 annually in 15 years until peaking. Wage inflation is built into the system.

    Noem’s and republican answers are to: 1) close the borders stopping immigration and exacerbating wage inflation, and 2) forcing seniors to work by cutting social security and medicare. The US will NOT receive immigrants from western or even eastern Europe because those nations have far better social safety nets and also have populations in decline. US immigrants MUST come largely from Central and South America and Africa – where the birthrate is over the replacement birthrate. Bloomberg and the financial press recently “woke up” to the fact that China’s population is fast declining.

  4. Nix 2023-01-18 10:10

    I think that the campus, or at least part of the facilities at Presentation College
    should be converted to the Fred Deutsch
    Aberdeen Medical Cannabis dispensary.
    Maybe the Sisters should have kept the
    money that they used to help buy 20,000
    votes to defeat IM27.
    Karma is a bitch.

  5. e platypus onion 2023-01-18 12:27

    Strange situation since nurses are in high demand and low availability. What gives?

  6. Steve Simons 2023-01-18 13:29

    For the record, The Presentation Sisters Are Not To Be Confused With The Pointer Sisters.

  7. P. Aitch 2023-01-18 14:16

    Your state needs a computer chip factory. America needs lots and lots of them.

  8. Arlo Blundt 2023-01-18 15:58

    Well…I consider it a blow to Aberdeen and to the state generally. The Benedictines and Presentation Sisters have contributed greatly to health care and our quality of life in South Dakota. Historically, in South Dakota, communities depended on the Presentation Sisters and Benedictines to establish hospitals and train medical personnel. It appears that time is now past but the quality of their replacements in the industry is in doubt.

  9. grudznick 2023-01-18 16:30

    Might this become a regional jail for the County of Brown and its neighbors?

  10. larry kurtz 2023-01-18 17:39

    Maybe it should become a boot camp for those whose BMI is over 27.

  11. P. Aitch 2023-01-18 18:06

    Maybe a Soylent Green processing center for grudz and his “Connie Commoners with No Sense” group.

  12. grudznick 2023-01-18 19:34

    A state-owned resort catering to elderly fellows who enjoy all you can eat breakfast buffets!
    Only that Aberdeen is a hole nobody wants to visit. So the prison idea is probably best.

  13. grudznick 2023-01-18 20:18

    Laudate Pueri Dominum

  14. grudznick 2023-01-18 20:19

    To Serve Mann

  15. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-01-19 05:02

    The point about health care and nurse supply is worth considering. We are short on nurses, as we are of many other important professionals. One would think that the need for nurses would have kept Presentation College’s nursing program viable. But perhaps PC struggled to sustain its nursing program for the same reasons South Dakota struggles to recruit nurses: not enough students wanted to study in a relatively remote area, and not enough faculty wanted to work for the lower wages at PC when they could make much more working elsewhere.

    Of course, in this case, you’d think the wage issue would have solved itself: high demand for nurses should have led to high demand for nurse training programs which should have led to lots of tuition-paying students which should have led to good salaries for instructors.

    PC was competing with SDSU for nursing students, and that doesn’t seem a fair fight, but again, if SDSU isn’t completely meeting the market demand for nurses, you’d think there’d be room for a competitive nursing program elsewhere in the state.

  16. ABC 2023-01-19 07:10

    Get a free Harvard education. Google “Harvard CS50”. For a free exciting Intro to Computer Science class, with several other follow up classes.

    Presentation College closing is a big thing.

    The Republican Legislature has tightened up on college regulation. Check Secretary of State website for details.

    Hey with a free Harvard Computer Science class or two under your belt, adjust your t shirt and you can swagger anyplace in South Dakota and say, “Hey man, I can code and do very cool things on the Web. What shall I change next?” You can be the hero in your adventure!

    As to Aberdeen, hey, private colleges have closed before, Yankton College was a big one. With men attending college less than they did in the 1970s, online web colleges and learning programs are starting to take over.

    To pump up Aberdeen in general, start a for profit or social business (M. Yunus, Nobel Prize Winner) and as you grow your business, set up shop in Aberdeen, add 5 or 10 employees there. Yes!

  17. ABC 2023-01-19 07:40

    Hey, I’ll post this now. A little guide on how to set up Free your own Legislature.

    1. Pick a name. Something cool, like Bison Legislature, Ft. Pierre Friendly Legislature, or whatever up you like.

    2. As a Private Legislature, you have no elections, fundraising to do. No laws to pass, no taxes to levy. You can have 1 Member, you, or any number of people join. Your Legislature can do unlimited good.

    3. Easy way to run it. Use a checking account. Maybe post your results online. Here’s the name of my Legislature, how many members, no elections. We have $20 in our account, we gave so much money to these charities or great causes.

    4. Choose one or more projects that you and your Legislature will do. Post updates to the success of your project(s)!

    5. A major factor of your Legislature’s success. It will be since you are giving 10% to 100% of your Legislature’s cash (from a bank account or in your cash kitty like an empty milk carton) to nonprofit causes, Increase will happen! Tithing or giving a percentage of your Legislature’s money to nonprofit causes will invariably bring Lots more money to your Legislature, hey you can buy a town in West River maybe ! (Most of Interior was sold to a church in the Philippines a while back). With a prospering Legislature, you could pay yourselves a modest salary and keep doing unlimited good ! (Read Charles Fillmore’s great book, Prosperity.)

    That’s very cool! 5 easy rules and you can have your own private Legislature making life better today!

    1. Name. 2. Number of members. 3. Checking account or cash kitty. 4. Project(s). 5. Donate 10% plus (or tithe)

    Your Legislature can post it’s great results on Twitter, Facebook Groups, Blogger or any blog, or any free web page building site, Instagram.

    You don’t have to wait until November 2024.

    You can create your own Legislature today!

  18. Jenny 2023-01-19 12:19

    Converting PC into assisted living apartments for low income Seniors would be an option.

  19. larry kurtz 2023-01-19 15:09

    The Order of the Presentation opened St. Mary’s in Elkton where I attended grade school but the nuns were from the Dominican and Benedictine Orders, too. They were Commies who taught us Pete Seeger, Woody Guthrie and Puff the Magic Dragon.

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