By Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper
Springfield College President
As I write this, I am looking forward to welcoming our new first-year, transfer, and graduate students to the ice cream socials at the President’s Residence. One of my favorite things about being the president of Springfield College is the opportunity to connect with so many of you during activities and events on the campus, and this event is a special one for me, particularly because it means you all are back.
There has been a lot of activity on the campus this summer, not the least of which has been the initial work to renovate Babson Library into the Learning Commons. Resources, staff, and technology were successfully relocated over the summer, and things are humming along as smoothly as can be expected while we are under construction.
This building will reflect a shift from the old library model to an exciting space where a culture of information literacy exists. The façade will include more glass so that the daylight is more prominent, as well as to allow beautiful views of Naismith Green from the front and athletic fields from the back. The design will provide “a luminous beacon for the College.” It will also have space to accommodate studying 24/7, a request that we heard from you.
Another great project nearing completion is the reconstruction of the iconic MacLean Terrace behind Alumni Hall. This includes a new back staircase, terrace space, and balustrade, as well as exciting new programming space, Adirondack chairs, and a gas fire pit overlooking Lake Massasoit. This has always been one of the most beautiful spaces on the campus at which to host student and alumni events, and I look forward to its completion and the opportunities it will afford us.
And, if that wasn’t enough, new surfacing was installed on Stagg Field and was ready for our fall athletic teams.
We’re doing building of another kind, too. In addition to these projects, we continue to build and enjoy important partnerships with community organizations and individuals, as well as with alumni who are instrumental in providing internships and other practical work experience to our students, and employment opportunities to our graduates. We believe this is what allows you to expect the 96 percent placement rate that our graduates currently experience.
Some new partnerships that we are excited about include one with the Cal Ripkin, Sr. Foundation. This foundation has built more than 50 youth baseball fields around the country, and this will be their first undertaking with a college. They will partner with us to build two fields, a new baseball field and a unified field, so that individuals who are differently abled will be able to play ball.
Additionally, we recently dedicated the Deaf Community Home, a new one-of-a-kind home and learning center adjacent to our campus. This home has interactive program space and the capacity to host up to five hearing-impaired residents. Although these residents are not students, they will have the opportunity to be immersed in Springfield College’s culture by working on our campus and attending events.
We’ve also just received some excellent news. Springfield College has again been named in U.S.News and World Report’s Best Colleges and Universities. Not only have we consistently been included on this list, we have climbed 40 spots in six years, and now are ranked 27 among Best Regional Universities-North. It is a fact of which we can all be proud.
You also can be pleased knowing that you are getting the best return on your investment, as U.S.News ranked Springfield College 12th for best value among Regional Universities-North. The value in a Springfield College education is found in the numerous and meaningful hands-on experiences that our students have, in most cases from the very first semester. It also is found in the commitment that our faculty and staff, including myself, make to your success.
In other great news, the Corporation for National and Community Service has selected Springfield College as the winner of its Presidential Award. In the past, we have been named to this organization’s President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. This year, we were thrilled to be named with the top award.
There are so many aspects to a higher education. You are here to educate and enrich yourselves, but the whole world benefits from your efforts. As I told our newest students during this year’s Convocation, Springfield College is a place where we believe that an education, and an individual, can change the world.
The 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner, civil-rights activist, and the first Black president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use the change the world.”
Although the work you do here is uniquely yours, you are not the only person who will benefit. Through practical knowledge of your discipline, you will be able to change the world. You will bring the Springfield College Humanics philosophy of the whole person to your job and the people you influence daily, and you will live your life in spirit, mind, and body.
As Mandela said, “It is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all.”
Have a great year.
Mary-Beth A. Cooper, PhD, DM