The Classes of 2020 and 2021 were celebrated during five separate ceremonies at Springfield’s MassMutual Center May 13 and 14. Class totals included 866 Class of 2020 members, 486 graduate students from the Classes of ’20 and ’21, as well as 794 Class of 2021 who joined the ranks of alumni. For more information, visit westfield.edu/commencement.
Interim President Saigo’s Impactful Tenure
Dr. Roy H. Saigo’s interim presidency came to a close on June 30. Dr. Saigo succeeded retiring president Dr. Ramon S. Torrecilha in summer 2020 and helped pave the way for President Dr. Linda Thompson, appointed in May to her post that began on July 1.
President Saigo’s interim term was a productive one. Through the global pandemic over the last academic year, Westfield State launched billboards and lawn signs campaigns; enriched and enhanced communication among all constituent groups; created UEAAC, which provided $6 million worth of cost-saving and efficiency-boosting recommendations; and launched a Racial Equity and Justice Institute (REJI) team, pledging to dismantle systemic barriers and injustices faced by communities of color on our campus.
Dean Juline Mills appointed provost
Juline E. Mills, Ph.D., was named interim provost and vice president for academic affairs in May, following three years of service as founding dean of the University’s College of Education, Health, and Human Services. She succeeded Robert Kersting, Ph.D., who retired after a year as interim provost and 25 years of service to Westfield as a professor of social work and director of the social work program.
UEAAC provides operational recommendations
Formed by Interim President Saigo, co-chaired by Dr. Juline Mills and Vice President for Administration and Finance Stephen Taksar, and comprising 22 cross-campus members of faculty, staff and union representatives, the University Efficiency Analysis Advisory Committee assessed Westfield State’s finances and operational structure, then suggested short-term an long-term paths for improved operational and fiscal efficiencies using a data-driven approach. The recommendations identified more than $6 million in savings and suggested some organizational restructuring.
Parenzo Hall update
The $40 million renovation of Parenzo Hall, under the direction of construction manager Daniel O’Connell’s Sons Inc. of Holyoke, is progressing toward a groundbreaking ceremony this summer. The project is currently in the design documentation phase, and project planners are preparing for early package contract bidding. Project completion is expected in the summer of 2023. Visit westfield.ma.edu/parenzorenovation for updates.