154-year-old Oakland university to close after 2023 spring

2 mins read

After 154 years, the Holy Names University in Oakland will close after the 2023 spring semester. The school announced Monday that declining enrollment, COVID-19, and an economic downturn are the reasons for closing down. 

According to the school, it worked hard to find ways to stay open but needed more financial resources to do it. The sports program will be cancelled at the end of the spring semester, and around 32 employees will receive layoff notices in January or February. 

“We have been doing our best to find a partner to keep the university functioning and continue HNU’s mission,” said HNU Board Chairperson Steven Borg. “While we’ve had interest in long-term collaboration from potential partners, we do not have the type of interest that would sustain HNU in continuing to offer its own programs and services, so we are forced to make the difficult decision to close and designate a transfer institution in the best interest of our students.”

HNU had 520 undergraduates and 423 graduate students in the fall semesters. However, for the spring semester, only 449 total students enrolled. According to the school, students struggle to pay tuition, and uncertainty about the school’s future is why enrollment is declining. 

“Increasingly college costs have become a challenge for many students and their families.  HNU, which extends significant institutional aid, is dependent upon tuition and residence hall revenue,” Borg said.

Active HNU students will have the option to transfer to Dominican University of California to continue their studies, HNU said. Dominican is located in San Rafael. Students on track to finish their degrees by the end of the spring semester can graduate from HNU.

Students will have the ability to finish their degree on schedule at Dominican. Faculty members will also be “considered” for similar roles at Dominican.


Charlene is a Bay Area journalist who hails from the small community of Fresno. Drawing from her experience writing for her college paper, Charlene continues to advocate for free press and local journalism. She also volunteers in all the beach cleanups she can because she loves the water.

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