By Irene Rotondo
Since 1885, the USA’s YMCA and Springfield College have shared a unique partnership that benefits both organizations. It provides the YMCA with a professional studies program for undergraduate students, along with an executive master’s program in Springfield College’s school of Professional and Continuing Studies, which prepares YMCA executives to lead their program and make a difference.
Recently, Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper and YMCA President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Washington recently signed a five-year agreement. This agreement also revealed the new YMCA Online Degree Completion program, which will provide staff who have earned leadership certification through the YMCA with the chance to turn their experience into college credits to put towards a degree completion at Springfield College.
This class of students, comprised of approximately 30, visited the campus recently for their New Student Orientation. The class will be the first ever to graduate under the Springfield College YMCA Degree Completion program, making the history between the College and the YMCA even deeper and more rich. The students also received scholarships through a grant from the Harold C. Smith Foundation, further easing the process of earning a college degree.
The five-year agreement also entails a recognition of Springfield College as a “premiere institution of higher education for YMCA leaders,” as well as continuing and expanding educational services for any YMCA professional and volunteer. Though there is already a large availability of professional development opportunities at Springfield College for active YMCA employees, this renewed agreement opens the door for more.