Parsons College – Lost in Time, Not Forgotten by Alumni

Fairfield, Iowa, was once called by some as the “Boom town” of college towns and cities across the country. Contributing largely to this was Parsons College, which was a small school with enrollment numbers dropping below 400 students in 1957, yet within a short period of time to nearly 6,000! Educators from near and far flocked to the rapidly expanding college to witness the phenomenon themselves.

In 1957, the board of trustees appointed a Presbyterian minister from New York, Millard G. Roberts. He had zero experience in educational administration. He instituted a fifteen-year plan, which included recruiting from coast to coast.

The success of Parsons College was short-lived, however, and just 10 years later would implode due to some unfortunate publicity, the end of the Vietnam war, and financial difficulties. The “Parsons Plan” ultimately failed, and the college shut its doors in 1973, never to reopen as a school.

This fall, Parsons College will be full of life once again, as a group of Parsons alumni, students, friends, and “diehards” will converge on campus for “Parsons Golden Jubilee Reunion.” The weekend of October 6th-8th will bring a special feeling to Fairfield, as they commemorate the 50th anniversary of the college closing. Activities, including the premier showing of a “Parsons College Documentary” produced by Dick DeAngelis, a local resident, will be shown at the Fairfield Arts & Convention Center.

If you are an alumni, or a former student, staff, professor, or friend of the college, you are invited to attend. You must pre-register and payment must be returned no later than August 1st. For a registration form and to learn more about reunion details, please email Nancy Wirtanen at

The youngest Parsons alums will reach 70 years of age this year.