Shining Star

Elms College Named Non-Profit Organization of the Year in 2015 Shining Star Awards

The Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce presents these annual awards to recognize exceptional accomplishments in the business community.

CHICOPEE (Massachusetts) -- The College of Our Lady of the Elms has been named 2015 Non-Profit Organization of the Year in the Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce’s annual Shining Stars Awards.

Awarded annually since 1993, the Shining Stars are an important event for the regional business community, where accolades are given to those that have shown exceptional accomplishments.

This award is a historic one: “Non-Profit Organization of the Year is a brand-new category, and Elms College is the inaugural recipient,” said Eileen Drumm, the chamber’s president.

The category was added to showcase the unique ways in which nonprofits contribute to the community. “They’re equally as important as any for-profit businesses, and we wanted to start bringing recognition and kudos their way as well,” Drumm said.

Elms College is a co-educational Catholic college offering a liberal arts curriculum that gives students multiple perspectives on life. Founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph, Elms College has a tradition of educating reflective, principled and creative learners, who are rooted in faith, educated in mind, compassionate in heart, responsive to civic and social obligations, and capable of adjusting to change without compromising principle.

“We are honored to receive the Shining Stars Award,” said Elms College President Sr. Mary Reap, IHM, Ph.D. “The College of Our Lady of the Elms has been present in Chicopee since 1928, and has educationally prepared thousands of individuals who work in and provide leadership for our community and for its economy.”

The award criteria were straightforward: Nominees had to be chamber members displaying strong leadership, mission and vision, and community impact. The committee selected Elms for a number of reasons, Drumm said. “It wasn’t just one thing. It’s the college’s growth and resiliency -- in the past 15 years, Elms has blossomed and grown. It’s a college with an amazing nursing program and business programs, and it continues to add educational opportunities.”

The growth Drumm mentioned has been significant: Partnerships with six community colleges have paved new pathways to four-year degrees for hundreds of students. New programs (healthcare leadership MBA, doctor of nursing practice) have evolved to answer immediate local needs. The college attracts nationally recognized professors and lecturers, and enrollment has increased dramatically in recent years.

New spaces such as the state-of-the-art Center for Natural and Health Sciences, the first new building on campus in decades, are important investments in the educational experience, as are the new Blue House writers center and physical and technological upgrades made to the Quad, the administration building, the residence halls and the admissions center.

“Even when the economy wasn’t doing great, Elms didn’t lose sight of its vision and mission,” Drumm added. “The college met its own goals and exceeded expectations, even adding new buildings. Elms demonstrates continued commitment to education and the community.”

The awards will be presented at the Shining Stars Banquet, held from 6:30 to 10 p.m. March 6 at the Castle of Knights at 1599 Memorial Dr. The chamber invites both members and the general public to attend the banquet and learn more about the Shining Stars.

This year’s other Shining Stars awardees include DeJordy, Dugre, Croteau & Company, P.C., named Business of the Year; Andrew Crane of A. Crane Construction Co., Citizen of the Year; and Jason Reed of the Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee, Chamber Volunteer of the Year. The event will also include a tribute to Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

“On behalf of our college community, we thank the Chamber of Commerce for this recognition and we offer our congratulations to all those being recognized this year,” Reap said.

Chamber of Commerce event set for March 6