Chapter 4, Part 4 – The Accreditation Process Begins

1960 – 1970: The Accreditation Process Begins

  • Presidential debates were televised for the first time.
  • Lasers were invented.
  • Peace Corps was founded.
  • Soviets launched the first man into space.
  • John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy were assassinated.
  • Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) became World Heavyweight Champion.
  • Nelson Mandela was sentenced to life in prison.
  • Lyndon B. Johnson was elected president.
  • U.S. Senate sent troops to Vietnam.
  • Neil Armstrong became the first man to walk on the moon.

Western States College emerged from the 1950s having barely survived the financial strain under which it had labored, but its precarious position would only worsen.

By 1960, it was clear that the two-year, pre-professional college education requirement for admission to WSC was undermining college enrollment efforts. As admirable as it was to commit WSC to higher education standards, doing so without the participation of the other chiropractic colleges produced a predictable outcome. Prospective students given the choice between a college with a two-year pre-professional requirement and a college requiring only a high school diploma chose the latter. WSC enrollment numbers plummeted.

The situation was so dire that the Board of Trustees entertained two drastic measures they felt might save the college: 1) sell the campus building at 4525 SE 63rd and/or, 2) find a local institution with whom to affiliate or merge.

In early 1960, Dr. Elliot met with representatives of Portland City Junior College, Multnomah College, Columbia Christian College, and Lewis and Clark College to explore affiliation or merger. Two other institutions, Judson Baptist College and Western Business College, were also approached because of their own financial challenges. After obtaining an appraisal value of $85,000, the campus was put up for sale. No record remains of the asking price, but it must have been too high because the realtor relinquished his contract for the sale of the property within a month.

College leadership was frustrated by having to put the campus up for sale. It was felt that this decision would only precipitate more doom and gloom from the campus community. The frustration exhibited by Dr. Elliot and his administration increased significantly when they learned of plans by outsiders to bring WSC to an end. It had been no secret that WSC was experiencing financial difficulties, and news of its possible demise had been circulating around the profession for months. However, the college was ill-prepared for what it learned at the January meeting of the NCA Council on Education in Los Angeles.