RENSSELAER - The man in charge of raising money for Saint Joseph's College's effort to reopen says the Rensselaer school has made "good progress over the last 12 months." However, Vice President For Advancement Bill Hogan says, despite "positive strides," issues surrounding a farm credit loan made to the school have not yet been resolved.

In an open letter on Facebook, Hogan says the school has been experiencing the most difficult period in its 127-year history since suspending operations in mid-2017. He is among the leaders of the Phoenix Project, designed to help the school "rise from the ashes."

One encouraging note, says Hogan, is that all 43 Saint Joseph's College juniors who transferred to Marian University after the suspension announcement graduated on time.

In the letter, Hogan says most of the school's bills have been paid, and there is money available to carry forward into Fiscal Year 2019. However, he says the college needs another $1.3 million to maintain the school and keep hopes of reopening alive.

Hogan's open letter, in part, is below:

Thank you for your generosity during the most difficult period in the 127 year history of our beloved alma mater. We have made good progress over the last 12 months and I want to provide you with updates on what has transpired. We would enjoy reporting the resolution of the Farm Credit issue but although positive strides have been made, it is close but not yet completed. We know this is a source of frustration for many of us as you have heard this information before.

After the suspension of operations announcement in February of 2017, one of the priorities the SJC BOT established was to support our students and the good news is that the former St. Joe’s students have been able to transfer to another college or university. In fact, all 43 SJC juniors who transferred to Marian University for their final year graduated on time. This is remarkable:

These comments are not meant to diminish the suffering many Puma faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends had to deal with. Rather, it is important to note there are other colleges and universities that have experienced similar issues but our Board of Trustees deserves the credit for making the most of an extremely difficult situation. Several other institutions simply closed at the end of the semester without providing much help to their communities.

Your support of Saint Joseph’s College since June of 2017 has enabled the 17 dedicated staff members to press on for a brighter future. We are all taking a “leap of faith” at this point and currently, most of our bills have been paid and there is money available for carry forward in FY19. The major challenge is we need an additional $1.3M to be able to maintain St. Joe’s for 2018-19 to keep our hopes and dreams alive. Please thank the individuals who donated at this critical juncture when we needed it most and special thanks to the former BOT members because without their substantial financial support, we would not have been able to operate this past year.