Sweet Briar is proof!

The Washington Post reports.

Loyal alumni make it extremely difficult to close a college. Just ask Sweet Briar.

Seniors and their family members prepare to line up before what was believed to be the final commencement ceremony at Sweet Briar College, an all-women’s liberal arts college in Sweet Briar, Va. on Saturday May 16, 2015. An agreement has been reached to keep the school open at least one more year. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
A few years ago, Clay Christensen, the Harvard Business School professor and champion of disruptive innovation, predicted that the “bottom 25 percent of every tier” of colleges will disappear or merge in the next 10 to 15 years.

But the latest round in the battle to save Virginia’s Sweet Briar College — where a judge approved a deal on Monday to keep it open next year — shows just how difficult it is to put a college out of business, even a small one facing stiff financial headwinds.

Customers of Borders or Tower Records didn’t save those retail chains when the forces of technology and changing shopping habits forced them to close. Alumni of a college are a different kind of customer. A college diploma is perhaps the only “product” we buy one time in our life (and usually early on), and in which we still take an active interest during the business years or even decades later. We even advertise the college for free to other prospective customers throughout our lifetime with sweatshirts and car-window decals.