Homecoming and Family Weekend
More than 1,200 alumni, family members, and guests participated in the annual Homecoming and Family Weekend events in October 2018. Alumni and families enjoyed the Athletic Hall of Fame Awards Dinner on Friday night, as well as an Alumni Awards and Reunion Brunch, a Golden Owl Reunion for the Class of ’68, homecoming games for women’s soccer, football, and field hockey. A Harvest Fest offered food, student performances, and family activities, including a movie on the campus green.
Interfaith Campus Ministry Summit
The University’s Albert and Amelia Ferst Interfaith Center hosted its first Interfaith Campus Ministry Summit in October 2018, at which religious officials from across the state gathered to share ideas and promote campus ministry and inclusive efforts. Guest speakers included Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rosanski, D.D.; Rabbi Emeritus Mark Dov Shapiro of Springfield’s Sinai Temple; and Imam Wissam Abdel Baki, Ph.D., of the Islamic Society of Western Massachusetts. The group hopes to meet again to continue its discussions.
Ranked Among Best Values by Money Magazine
According to Money magazine, Westfield State is ranked among the top 200 colleges nationwide on its “Best Colleges For Your Money 2018” list. The rankings were determined based on 26 factors divided into three categories: affordability, quality of education, and outcomes. Out of the 727 colleges and universities included in this annual list, Westfield State is ranked 19th in Massachusetts, 33rd in New England, and 184th overall. Each college considered for ranking was required to have at least 500 students to be analyzed. Westfield State was recognized for its “many academic options, including flexible learning schedules, online classes, and professional development programs.”
A Warmer Welcome
The Horace Mann Center has become the new welcome center on campus. This past June and July, exterior and interior renovations transformed the Horace Mann Center lobby into a more inviting and technologically-advanced welcome center. Updates include new exterior signs and banners, as well as interior carpet, furniture, and technology. The hope is to provide a more dynamic first impression and experience for prospective students and their families.
Diversity and Inclusion
In September 2018, diversity consultant Dr. William Lewis provided Westfield State with an assessment report entitled “The New Normal: Institutional Assessment and Recommendations for a Strategic Diversity Management Strategy.” This assessment was written after Dr. Lewis’ week-long campus visit last spring with information gathered from conversations with students, staff, and faculty. The goal of the document is to help Westfield State strive for “Inclusion Every Day” on campus. President Ramon S. Torrecilha, Ph.D., describes this change as the first step of many to ensure the institutionalization of inclusion.
A Home for CURCA Opens
The Center for Undergraduate Research & Creative Activity (CURCA) celebrated the opening of its dedicated space in December 2018 with a ribbon cutting ceremony. Located in the Ely Library Mezzanine, the location will allow for multi-disciplinary collaborations, speaking engagements, classroom activities, and professional development workshops. Dr. Lamis Jarvinen, director of CURCA, explained, “We aim to create a place where students’ ideas are supported, they continue to grow, and we can help with funding to travel to conduct research while enabling professional development opportunities.”
Parenzo Design Slated for October Completion
The University received $21 million in state funding last summer to renovate its oldest campus building, Parenzo Hall, into state-of-the art, technology-rich learning and teaching environments. The facility will include two new Centers: for Innovation in Education and Industry Partnerships, and for Student Success and Engagement. Working with the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance, and Mathey and Associates architects, following a utilization study and architect selection, a schematic design is slated for completion in October. Target dates include a May 2020 groundbreaking and an October 2022 completion.
Strategic Plan Pushing Toward Approval
The Touch Point II stage of the University’s Strategic Plan development was presented to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education (BHE) in October 2018. A final plan is slated to be submitted to the BHE in early 2019. Once approved by the state, implementation will begin at the University. The plan will guide Westfield State for the next five years.
Civic Engagement through Banacos Center
Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi delivered remarks at Westfield State’s Civic Leadership event in September 2018. Joining students, faculty, and staff at the event were area school superintendents, legislators, mayors, city councilors, and other elected officials. In addition to thanking the officials for their service and leadership, President Ramon S. Torrecilha, Ph.D., specifically acknowledged State Sen. Donald Humason Jr. ’89 (R-Westfield) and State Rep. John Velis (D-Westfield) for their advocacy on the University’s behalf that resulted in a $75,000 earmarked funding for the Banacos Academic Center.