Doors Close for Christian College at Weimar Health Institute

Weimar College, a four-year Christian school and missionary training center at Weimar Institute in Northern California, will close this summer after 30 years of operation. School officials say shutting down will allow them to re-evaluate finances. [photo: courtesy Weimar
Weimar College, a four-year Christian school and missionary training center at Weimar Institute in Northern California, will close this summer after 30 years of operation. School officials say shutting down will allow them to re-evaluate finances. [photo: courtesy Weimar]

[February 5, 2008] Weimar, California, United States Elizabeth Lechleitner/ANN

Citing financial reasons, board members of Weimar Institute of Health & Education in Northern California announced in a statement last month that the self-supporting Christian college known internationally for its eight-step, 18-day NEWSTART health recovery and disease prevention program will close its doors on June 20.

The NEWSTART program will continue. The program is hinged on many of the healthy lifestyle principles -- including proper nutrition, exercise and temperance -- advocated by the Seventh-day Adventist Church's department of Health Ministries. The NEWSTART program, school officials say, draws more than 400 participants every year. Also expected to remain open is Weimar Academy, the institution's boarding high school.

Established in 1978, Weimar College grew steadily until the early 1990s when changes in economics and student priorities began whittling away at enrollment, the statement said, adding that the decision came after "various financial and ministries solutions" floundered.

Rather than go into debt by continuing operations with so few students -- enrollment last semester was 20 -- college officials decided closing the school would best allow them to reevaluate the situation.

In the statement, Bob Hancock, Weimar acting chief operating officer and board chairman, cast a positive light on the closure, insisting it would give Weimar a chance to re-evaluate its finances and "rebuild from the ground up."

"We are not abandoning our goals for the educational aspect of our program," Hancock said. "We are going to keep that an essential part of our mission ... [but] we have to get down to bedrock and develop a solid financial foundation."

Dr. Michael Orlich, Weimar acting academic dean, elaborated on the college's plans to rebuild, naming healing arts, foreign missions and evangelism as possible areas of training Weimar administration might explore.

Editorial Update: Weimar reopened in January, 2009 in partnership with Amazing Facts.