Commissioner Freeland Delivers Keynote Address at Opening Day
Over 350 faculty and staff were on hand for our Opening Day Conference, Tuesday, September 3. Worcester State University vice presidents opened the event by welcoming new faculty and staff to campus. President Barry Maloney then praised faculty and staff for securing the 10th consecutive “Best in the Northeast” recognition from The Princeton Review. He also noted that WSU is welcoming 777 first-year students and over 500 transfer students to campus, the strongest class in our history. These students include our largest entering Honors Program class, with 103 new honors students.
Massachusetts Commissioner of Higher Education Richard Freeland, Ph.D. delivered the keynote address, focusing on the state’s Vision Project for higher education. The strategic plan for the Vision Project is to seek national leadership in college participation, college completion, student learning, workforce alignment, preparing citizens and closing achievement gaps. Freeland stressed that Massachusetts needs to have the best-educated citizenry and workforce in the nation—and needs to be a leader in research that drives economic development. Some of the workforce challenges he discussed were:
- 70 percent of Massachusetts jobs require a college education.
- 146,500 jobs are unfilled.
- Public colleges and universities educate two-thirds of high school graduates in Massachusetts.
- Massachusetts is ranked 30th in state funding for higher education.
- Low funding compromises quality.
- High fees compromise affordability.
“Massachusetts will not succeed unless public higher education succeeds,” said Freeland. “It will take equal measures of hard work by the campuses, strengthened collaboration with community partners, and sustained investment by the Commonwealth to get us where we need to be.”
Opening Day discussions continued, and presentations were given by faculty and staff on Succeed in 4, the university mission statement, strategic planning and Title IX.
As part of Opening Day each year, we take a moment to recognize faculty and staff who go an extra mile for our students and colleagues. Recipients of the Extraordinary Dedication Awards are nominated by their co-workers and have shown a consistent commitment to advancing the mission of Worcester State. This year’s awardees are: Dr. Linda Larrivee, Katey Palumbo, Mandi Kuster, Jeremy George, Nancy Lapriore, Dr. Elizabeth Wark, and Dr. Raynold Lewis.