Despite the record frigid weather, I have a particularly warm feeling about the beginning of the spring semester.
Before the semester began, I had the opportunity to be out in the greater Springfield community, talking about higher education in Massachusetts and Elms College’s unique role in it.
On Monday, Jan. 14, Holyoke Community College’s President Christina Royal, Westfield State University’s President Ramon Torrecilha, and I taped a “Connecting Point” segment about diversity in Western Massachusetts higher education leadership. WGBY aired the segment on Martin Luther King Day.
On Friday, Jan. 18, at the invitation of Elms College Trustee Ellen Freyman, I spoke to the Springfield Rotary Club about how Elms College is positioned to thrive in a very challenging higher education environment. (See my photo with Ellen Freyman and Rotary President Sue Mastroianni.)
And this past week, returning students made their way back to our Chicopee campus and to our various satellite locations. We also welcomed nearly 30 new transfer students. There is nothing like interacting with these students and witnessing their eagerness to begin or continue their unique Elms experience. There’s the warmth that I mentioned earlier.
With Newbury College’s announcement that they are closing at the end of this academic year, Hampshire College’s decision not to enroll a freshman class for Fall 2019 while they seek a partner, and the clear indication that there will be more closures or mergers to come, these are certainly challenging times for higher education.
I have the privilege of seeing what is happening in the sector up close because of my work with the New England Commission for Higher Education and my involvement with some of the State Department of Education’s efforts to monitor private institutions’ finances more closely.
Ems College’s fiscal discipline in the past decade and beyond has enabled us to be on solid footing today. We are committed to ensuring that generations of students to come enjoy their unique Elms experience.
The spring semester is lined up with speaker series, student activities, and special celebrations that you can’t miss. I will share my reflections on these events as they unfold.