New England College Receives $5 Million Gift to Create a State-of-the-Art Athletic Complex
September 17, 2019Posted in News Press Release
New Complex Design Features a Gymnasium, Fitness Center, Training Facilities, and Other Amenities.
New England College (NEC) today announced a $5 million anonymous pledged gift to support the design and construction of a new, 45,000-square-foot Athletic Complex on its Henniker campus. “This transformative gift, which has under discussion for quite some time, has already spurred other generous donors to consider additional five-, six-, and seven-figure contributions; major gifts which will help us reach our $12 million fundraising goal,” said NEC President Michele Perkins. Construction is slated to begin in the spring of 2020 with the Complex making its debut in time for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Designed by the award-winning architect Scott Simpson, an NEC Trustee who is contributing his services, the Athletic Complex along with the John Lyons Center (opened 2016)—which houses classrooms, offices, a café, and meeting and other shared spaces—and the Rosamond Page Putnam Center for the Performing Arts (opening January 2020), will complete NEC’s ambitious campus master plan.
As a long-time leader in competitive sports for men and women, athletics and fitness are an essential part of NEC’s mission.
“The new facilities will bolster our standing in NCAA Division III athletic competition and underscore our commitment to both scholar-athletes and personal fitness for the entire NEC community,” said Perkins. “This gift which will change our campus in ways that are real and long-lasting. We are most grateful to our donor for his vision, unwavering support, and generosity.”
NEC enrolled 356 varsity athletes in 2018 alone, with many more students taking part in club or recreational sports. At NEC, half of the school’s residential undergraduates participate in team sports. During the 2018-2019 academic year, NEC athletes earned four conference championships, a school record, in men’s baseball, women’s lacrosse, men’s lacrosse, and women’s basketball. Since 2016, NEC’s men’s lacrosse team has won four consecutive championship titles, another NEC record.
NEC athletes come from across the US and around the globe. Athletes not only excel in sports but are among the College’s most successful cohorts academically.
“The new Complex represents another step on the path to an expanded and enhanced program, making NEC more attractive to students of every background and experience,” said Director of Athletics, Dave DeCew. “With its state-of-the-art facilities, the Athletic Complex reflects the College’s commitment to our players and coaches and to the health and well-being of all of our students.”
Estimated to cost approximately $15 million, NEC plans to secure at least $7 million in additional gifts before moving to the final design stage of the Complex which will feature a new, 25,000- square-foot gymnasium complete with a regulation-size court for basketball, volleyball, and wrestling. With seating for up to 1,300 spectators, the gym will allow NEC to host NCAA-sanctioned tournaments and competitions.
Additionally, a new building adjacent to the Complex will provide offices and meeting rooms, along with a large, glass-enclosed lobby. This building will also house training and locker rooms and an expansive fitness center overlooking the Contoocook River.
A new façade will unify the Athletic Complex, making current facilities more functional and integrating them into the emerging campus aesthetic.
The $5 million gift, along with additional financial support for the Athletic Complex, will complement the College’s $40 million plus Bridge to the Future capital campaign which is slated to conclude in January. This campaign will support several of the College’s strategic priorities including new facilities, endowed and named scholarships, and the Opportunity Fund which provides scholarships and underwrites a variety of initiatives including study-abroad and other academic programming. Bridge to the Future marks the largest fundraising effort in the College’s 73-year history.
New England College Reports Record Enrollment with Expansion to Manchester
August 22, 2019Posted in News Press Release
New England College (NEC) begins classes this fall with new students on campuses in Henniker and Manchester, NH, following the incorporation of the former New Hampshire Institute of Art and the establishment of the Institute of Art and Design at NEC (Institute). Approximately 545 new students have enrolled at the College: 440 at the main campus in Henniker and 105 at the Institute in Manchester. For the combined campuses, new student enrollment is on budget, up approximately 6% over last year. At well over 400 new students, the Henniker campus remains in record enrollment territory for the third year in a row. The College estimates combined undergraduate enrollment will reach 1,345, the highest in the College’s history.
“With our successful merger now complete, the Institute of Art and Design will provide expanded intellectual and artistic opportunities for all our students, those enrolled in arts majors and those seeking exposure to art history, photography, game design, or other fields,” commented NEC President Michele Perkins.
While many institutions struggle with declining enrollment, NEC continues to grow and expand its student population, faculty, staff, and facilities. Equally important, NEC attracts one of the most diverse student populations in New Hampshire and across the region, with 36% of enrolled students from minority communities. NEC students are geographically diverse as well, with incoming students from as near as New England, including 163 from New Hampshire, and the New York metropolitan area and from as far as California, Hawaii, Maryland, Michigan, Texas, and Florida. For the 2019-2020 academic year, the College will also welcome a significant number of international students from Canada, Finland, India, Jamaica, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, Spain, and Sweden.
“The Institute is just one element of our long-standing, strategic goal of increasing student enrollment, both in-person and online,” Perkins added. “NEC recruitment campaigns— launched across the country and around the world— have attracted a large, diverse group of students to New England College. And an expanded student body allows us to increase academic choice, grow athletic programs, and emphasize student engagement. Further, the Putnam Center for the Performing Arts, which will make its debut in early 2020, and new athletic and student housing facilities which will open soon after, will allow us to better serve and support our students and their varied interests.”
A strong financial foundation allows NEC to engage students in need, by offering scholarships and grants that make college accessible and affordable. With continued enrollment growth in sight, the College is poised to raise over $40 million in its first ever capital campaign, which will conclude next spring.
“As we begin our 73rd year, we remain committed to preparing students for success in their careers and in their lives,” said Perkins. “We will continue to embrace the liberal arts while incorporating experiential learning in small classroom settings, taught by our talented and supportive faculty. The future is very bright for New England College.”
Students will gather at Convocation on the Simon Green in Henniker at 3:00 PM on Friday, August 23. New England College will welcome new and returning students for the first full day of classes on August 26.
New England College (NEC) is pleased to announce that Dave DeCew has been appointed Director of Athletics at NEC. NEC conducted a national search which generated nearly one hundred applicants from which DeCew was selected.
DeCew has been at NEC since 2003 when he was hired as Head Coach for Men’s Soccer and Men’s Baseball. During that time, he led his team to win the NAC soccer championship. DeCew was also named North Atlantic Conference Coach of the year in both 2012 and 2014. NEC has enjoyed other athletic successes recently. During the 2018-2019 academic year, NEC atheletes won a school record of four conference championships in men’s baseball, women’s lacrosse, men’s lacrosse, and women’s basketball.
In addition to serving as a coach, DeCew was the Interim Associate Director of Athletics and also served on the Athletic Advisory Council, Staff Executive Council, and as a Student Conduct Panelist.
“We’re delighted that Dave accepted the position as Director of Athletics at NEC,” said Dr. Michele Perkins, NEC President. “His background speaks for itself but he is also a consummate professional, incredibly supportive of our student athletes, and a champion of fair play and inclusivity.”
A graduate of Bowdoin College, DeCew majored in Government and Legal Studies, played varsity soccer and baseball, and was awarded the Outstanding Male Athlete Award. He was named NSCAA All-American in 1997 and 1998, and NESCAC Player of the Year in Baseball in 1999.
Institute of Art and Design at New England College Announced Following Merger Completion
June 19, 2019Posted in News Press Release
Update on Rebranding of the Former NHIA and Plans for the Future Discussed.
New England College (NEC) will complete the final phase of its merger with the New Hampshire Institute of Art (NHIA) on July 1, 2019, following a plan established with accreditors and New Hampshire authorities in 2018. New England College will rebrand the former NHIA as the Institute of Art and Design at New England College, with changes to letterhead and business cards as the first step of the rebranding process. Other rebranding activities will occur over the next several months. “This new academic division of NEC will be an important component of our ongoing and expanding commitment to the liberal arts, and the Manchester campus will remain central to plans for expanding and growing both our art and design programs and other educational programming,” stated Michele Perkins, NEC President.
With the merger between the two institutions official, NEC will be relocating its graduate program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Concord to Lowell Hall in Manchester, as a first step toward expanding graduate offerings in the City. Additionally, the Master of Arts in Public Policy program will be relocating to the Manchester campus.
This fall, NEC will host a three-day residency for its Master of Science in Computer and Information Science in Manchester, a program that attracts graduate students from throughout the United States and around the world.
January 5-9, 2020 NEC will again host its highly regarded College Convention event, which attracts over 1,000 college and university students from across the United States. This is a once in a lifetime event where participants have the opportunity to come face-to-face with the people, issues, and processes that shape presidential primary campaigns, hosted at the Doubletree by Hilton Manchester Downtown Hotel.
President Perkins also announced that Darryl Furtkamp, an Associate Professor of Art at NEC, has accepted the position of Interim Associate Dean of Art and Design and Tom Horgan, who has been Senior Advisor to NEC President, has been appointed Executive Director of Community Relations and Public Affairs. Furtkamp will be working in both Henniker and Manchester and Horgan will be working in Manchester.
As part of the merger process NEC is also assessing its facility needs in Manchester. To support campus planning, NEC has engaged commercial real estate firm Cushman & Wakefield of Manchester to review the real estate portfolio and to assist in “right sizing” facilities for current and future campus needs. Properties in Manchester, Sharon, and Peterborough will be presented to potential buyers over the next several months. NEC will phase out activities in Sharon and Peterborough later this summer.
“Adjusting our owned, physical footprint is crucial to long-term success and was a central part of New England College’s planning since the inception of merger discussions. Only a select number of buildings will be marketed. The historic French building will not be offered for sale, and no student housing will be marketed,” said Perkins. Instructional needs of students and academic programs will guide decisions on facilities. Over time, NEC may seek to acquire additional space in Manchester to support new programs and expanding enrollments, both in art and design and other educational programs.
Brigadier General Donald Bolduc Joins New England College As “Scholar in Residence”
June 18, 2019Posted in News Press Release
32-Year U.S. Army Veteran, War Hero, Champion of Eliminating Stigma Surrounding Post-Traumatic Stress Will Teach at NEC in 2019/20.
The U.S. Army leader known to many as “Captain America” has a new mission: captivate and educate young minds at New England College. Brigadier General Donald Bolduc has agreed to become a “Scholar in Residence” at NEC. General Bolduc will be in front of the classroom this fall when school begins the 2019–2020 term. His responsibilities will be to teach two courses per term, lead campus events, participate in NEC special events and make himself available to students and faculty.
“I have long had a passion for teaching, for sharing my experiences and for offering wisdom to the next generation of leaders in this country, so I am thrilled to be joining New England College as a Scholar in Residence, where I hope to help shape young minds to tackle the challenges we face together as a nation,” says General Bolduc. “I’m ready to get started.”
General Bolduc has made a national name for himself off the battlefield. With his trusty therapy dog, Victor, by his side, the General offers his own experiences and stories as a living example of the struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from battle. He is a champion of shattering the stigma associated with mental health care and treatment. These stories and experiences will be central to the lessons General Bolduc will share with students and faculty at the College.
“It is an indescribable honor to have General Bolduc join our faculty at New England College; there is no doubt in my mind that our students and our staff will learn from his example and his experience,” says Dr. Michele Perkins, President of New England College. “Our school’s history includes deep-rooted connections to our military, so this is a natural fit with NEC’s mission.”
Founded after World War II to serve the servicemen and women looking to transition through education, New England College has a 70-year history of helping those who serve our country. NEC offers generous transfer policies that consider military experience and training as well as financial discounts for active duty service members and veterans.
Scholars in Residence at New England College typically spend one year in the role and, as such, are expected to contribute to the intellectual life of the College in a variety of ways. Like all faculty, General Bolduc will have access to an office and administrative support at NEC. This fall, he will be teaching courses on leadership and homeland security. The purpose of this appointment is to bring to campus an individual with exceptional and unique experience, expertise and willingness to contribute to the intellectual life of our community.
“Last January, General Bolduc was the Founders’ Day speaker at New England College and he made an immediate impact on our students with his story and his passion, and so we began a conversation about how we could involve him more in our programs,” explains Dr. Wayne Lesperance, Vice President of Academic Affairs at New England College. “We knew his presence would have a lasting and positive impact on our students.”
General Bolduc is currently involved with the following organizations:
- Appointed by the Governor of New Hampshire to serve as a member of the Juvenile Parole Board
- Senior Advisor for the Center of Naval Analysis that provides cutting-edge, expert analysis and high quality, impartial information for effective decision making
- Advisor for Mission Readiness, Council for a Strong America consisting of retired admirals and generals strengthening national security by ensuring kids stay in school, stay fit and stay out of trouble
- Advisor for the Semper Fi Fund, a nonprofit 501 organization that provides a variety of programs to assist wounded veterans in all branches of the United States Armed Forces
- Advisor to Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs, Inc., a nationally recognized nonprofit organization that specializes in training and pairing service dogs
- Board member of Trauma and Resiliency Resources, Inc. that provides multi-faceted, focused, trauma interventions to first responders and warriors who develop symptoms of PTS and combat-related PTS because of executing line of duty/service responsibilities
- Active supporter of Veterans Count, a program of Easterseals to support Veterans
- Board Advisor for Warriors Heart Foundation, a PTS and addiction treatment center for active military, veterans and first responders
New Early Childhood Education MEd and CAGS Begin Summer 2019
May 10, 2019Posted in Press Release
Sponges. Perhaps no other word better describes the minds of young children. In fact, Dr. Maria Montessori—early childhood education pioneer and founder of the Montessori method—called young minds “absorbent,” soaking up the surrounding environment. Montessori recognized that a child’s early years lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning and development. It’s no surprise, then, that early childhood education—birth to age eight—is so important.
“Young children need opportunities from which they can learn and grow and eventually become successful lifelong learners,” explains Dr. Debra Nitschke-Shaw, Senior Professor of Education at New England College. “Early educational experiences allow them to socialize, collaborate, and connect with other children both like and dissimilar to themselves. The importance of these formative years led us to develop advanced studies in early childhood education.”
Known for its high-quality education programs, NEC has offered a Master of Education (MEd) and Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies (CAGS) in Education for some time, but neither path offered a concentration in Early Childhood Education. That changed when local professionals began looking for a program that would give them deeper knowledge of their field.
“These local educators learned about our Summer Institute and looked into NEC’s education programs. Not seeing an early childhood focus, they then asked if we could help them,” states Nitschke-Shaw, also the Program Director for NEC’s Summer Institute for Educators. “After seeing the interest from the early childhood community, we immediately started to develop an MEd/CAGS concentration for early childhood education.”
Two Paths to Deeper Understanding
Master of Education: Teachers and educational professionals who want to become certified or add a new certification complete 28 CORE credits and 9 ELECTIVE credits in their concentration. Learn more.
Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies: Experienced educational professionals who want to expand their knowledge and advance their careers complete 20 CORE credits and 12 ELECTIVE credits in their concentration. Learn more.
NEC’s new early childhood MEd/CAGS program begins July 1, 2019 with concentrations in Early Childhood Education, Early Childhood Special Education, and Early Childhood Administration. Teaching in the program, Nitschke-Shaw adds, are gifted early childhood educators who will provide cutting-edge learning opportunities that students can immediately apply in their classrooms. Students will also learn how to engage with and meet the needs of diverse populations.
“The early childhood classroom brings a very diverse population of young learners, all of whom arrive with unique talents, skills, and needs. Teachers need to be able to meet those needs in a supportive, caring environment that provides appropriate learning opportunities for each child,” advocates Nitschke-Shaw. “And parents bring their own set of needs and questions. We want to empower early childhood educators to meet parents’ needs as well.”
Why Pursue NEC’s MEd/CAGS in Early Childhood Education?
NEC’s MEd/CAGS programs focus on development and leadership so that educators can improve their instruction and achieve greater classroom success. That begins by learning from dedicated faculty members who provide real solutions for the real-world needs and goals of teachers and education professionals. From there, students develop individual research to craft solutions that will improve education or remove barriers to it within their own communities.
These programs align with national teacher training standards, which ensures that specific learning outcomes are met.
These programs are taught online by practitioner faculty with outstanding professional experience. Educators can advance their knowledge and careers in a convenient format that works with their busy schedules.
And then there’s peer support. “Being in a cohort and connecting with other educators going through NEC’s programs is very beneficial,” comments Heather Smith, who earned her MEd in Curriculum and Instruction and Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from New England College. Smith now uses her NEC experiences and training as a special education teacher in Florida. “It felt as though we were part of a team all cheering for and supporting each other. In order to adapt for our own students, teachers need to continue learning for themselves.”
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand Announced as 2019 Commencement Ceremony Speaker
April 1, 2019Posted in News Press Release
Presidential Candidate and U.S. Senator to Address New England College 72nd Commencement Graduates.
New England College President Michele D. Perkins announced today that United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will serve as New England College’s commencement speaker on May 11, 2019. Gillibrand has served in the Senate since 2009, and represented New York’s 20th Congressional District from 2007 to 2009. Senator Gillibrand recently announced her official campaign for president with a kickoff speech in New York City.
“I am delighted that Senator Gillibrand has agreed to serve as New England College’s featured commencement speaker this year,” said Perkins. “Throughout her time in the Senate, Senator Gillibrand has been a leader in some of the toughest fights in Washington. She led the effort to repeal the ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ policy in the military; she wrote the STOCK Act, which made it illegal for members of Congress to financially benefit from inside information; and she won the long fight to provide permanent health care and compensation to the 9/11 first responders and community survivors. Senator Gillibrand is recognized for bringing Democrats and Republicans together to solve important national problems,” Perkins added.
“I am deeply honored and humbled by the opportunity to address New England College’s 2019 graduates,” said Senator Gillibrand. “As these students leave college, it’s important they understand that although life presents us with many hardships, their education has instilled them with the courage and determination to overcome any obstacle and meet any challenge. These students are the leaders of tomorrow, and I’m excited to be with them as they take the first step on their journey.”
Senator Gillibrand is leading the fight to reform the justice system for sexual assault survivors in the military and on college campuses. In 2013, as chair of the Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, she held the first Senate hearing on the issue of sexual assault in the military in almost a decade, and has built a bipartisan coalition of Senators in support of her legislation. She has also built bipartisan support for the Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which would hold colleges accountable for sexual assault on their campuses.
After attending Albany’s Academy of Holy Names, Senator Gillibrand graduated in 1984 from the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York – the first all-women’s high school in the United States. A magna cum laude graduate of Dartmouth College in 1988, Gillibrand went on to receive her law degree from the UCLA School of Law in 1991 and served as a law clerk on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
During the New England College Commencement Ceremony Senator Gillibrand will receive an honorary degree, Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, from the Board of Trustees in recognition of her career achievements and professional success. The ceremony will be held on the New England College Simon Green beginning at 11:00 AM.
New England College Announces New Board of Trustee Members
February 20, 2019Posted in News Press Release
Four Outstanding Leaders Join College.
New England College (NEC) is pleased to announce the election of four members to its Board of Trustees: Katherine Haley, Jay Lucas, Tom Stevens, and T. Clarke Smith. The new trustees bring diverse experience and expertise in higher education, investments, banking, and insurance to the College’s governing board.
“We are fortunate to have such dedicated individuals as Kate, Jay, Tom, and Clarke joining our Board,” said Michele Perkins, President of New England College. “The guidance, knowledge, and good counsel our trustees provide is critical to the continued success of New England College. We are grateful to these outstanding individuals for their commitment to the mission and vision of NEC as we continue to experience record enrollment growth and expansion.”
About the New Board Members:
Katherine Haley is the former President of Gettysburg College (PA) and Whittier College (CA). She is Founder and President of Haley Associates, LLC, a higher education executive search and consulting firm in Manchester, NH. She advises colleges and universities on leadership succession, governance, and effective board performance. Prior to serving as the first woman President at both Gettysburg and Whittier, she was Provost and Professor of English at Kenyon College and Dean of Graduate Study and Director of General Education at Augustana College. Haley holds a PhD and AM from the University of Illinois and a BA from Tufts University.
Jay Lucas serves as Chairman and Managing Partner of The Lucas Group, a strategy consulting firm that he founded in 1991, focused on the specialized needs of private equity investors and their portfolio companies. Previously, he served as Vice President and Partner of Bain & Company. In addition, he is the founder and Managing Partner of LB Equity, a fund that invests in small growing brands in the beauty sector. Lucas is a strong supporter of veterans, leading efforts in NH for Children of Fallen Patriots. He is also founder of the Newport Sunshine Initiative, an effort to revitalize his hometown of Newport, NH. Lucas earned his MBA from Harvard Business School, his JD from Harvard Law School, and a BA from Yale University. He attended Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar, where he studied International Relations and Military History.
Tom Stevens served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors and Chief Administrative Officer of KeyCorp from 2001 to 2013. Before joining KeyCorp in 1996, he was the Managing Partner of Thompson Hine, a large, national law firm based in Cleveland. At Thompson Hine, he served as the outside counsel for KeyCorp and Society Corporation for over two decades, as well as representing other publicly held clients such as Steris Corporation, Eaton Corporation, and American Consumer Products. He graduated with a JD degree from Duke University School of Law and received his BA degree, summa cum laude, from The State University of New York at Albany. Prior to joining the New England College Board, Stevens served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the New Hampshire Institute of Art.
T. Clarke Smith ’79
Clarke Smith currently serves as Vice President at International Special Risks, the largest marine intermediary insurance broker in the country. From November 2012 to April 2018, he served as President of Norman-Spencer Recreational Marine Operations. He has been underwriting marinas, boat dealers, boat manufacturers, boat rental operations, and yacht clubs for over 36 years. Previously, he served on the Association of Marina Industries Board of Directors from 2008 to 2016. He is currently a Board Member of the Boating Industry Risk Management Council and is a Founder of the Joe Namath Foundation. Smith holds a BA from New England College.
Dr. James Murtha named Campus Director of New Hampshire Institute of Art
January 31, 2019Posted in News Press Release
Seasoned Higher Education Executive to Lead Merger of Two Colleges.
As the merger of New England College (NEC) and the New Hampshire Institute of Art (NHIA) moves forward, NEC President Michele Perkins announced today that NEC Senior Vice President of Academic Alliances Dr. James Murtha will assume a new expanded role as Campus Director of NHIA overseeing all day-to-day operations of the Manchester campus effective immediately.
Looking ahead, President Perkins commented on her designation of Murtha: “With his vast experience and deep engagement guiding the merger process for NEC, I cannot think of anyone better than Jim Murtha to steer a course for NHIA.”
Current NHIA President Kent Devereaux, who will depart the Institute at the end of this academic year to pursue other opportunities, has been working with Dr. Murtha to affect a smooth transition. “I am excited about the future potential of NHIA as part of New England College,” said President Devereaux, “and I feel confident that Jim is the right person to lead this merger integration effort.”
Dr. Murtha’s long and diverse career in higher education includes service in a variety of senior positions. He served as University Dean at the City University of New York (CUNY), Vice President for Finance and Administration at Baruch College (CUNY), Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of The New School (home to the Parsons School of Design) and most recently Chief Information and Effectiveness Officer at the College of New Rochelle (NY). From 2012-2017, he headed Maguire Associates, Inc., a noted higher education consultancy. Now on leave as board member, Jim chaired the NEC Board from 2009 through 2017. A sociologist by training, Jim has taught at Columbia University, St. John’s University, and Baruch.
“I look forward to working with the dedicated faculty and staff at NHIA as we begin the process of integrating the Institute into New England College,” says Murtha. “We have a lot of hard work ahead of us to ensure the success of this merger and I am encouraged by the support and enthusiasm I have seen every time I visit the Manchester campus.”
On Thursday, January 31, NEC President Perkins, NHIA President Devereaux, Dr. Murtha and other senior staff met with NHIA students, faculty, and staff to provide them with an update on the merger of NEC and NHIA. Highlights included that Spring 2019 enrollment at NHIA has exceeded expectations and Fall 2019 applications are trending even higher. Information was also shared on a number of new programs now available to NHIA students including opportunities to participate in NEC’s just launched Esports program, the 2020 College Convention hosted by NEC in Manchester during the presidential primary, and a new visiting Artist-in-Residence partnership with the Currier Museum of Art.
NHIA will operate as a subsidiary of New England College during the initial phase of the merger. After a period of planning and program integration, both continuing classes and new students from NHIA will be enrolled as New England College students. The NHIA campus will continue to operate in Manchester as the Institute of Art & Design at New England College, and students from both campuses will have the opportunity to study at either campus location. Perkins noted “We believe students and faculty of both institutions will benefit from this merger.”
New England College Officially Opens Esports Arena; Scholarships Available; Gaming Part of NEC Academic Programs; In Talks with ESPN for Tournament.
It looks like something from a movie set, but Henniker’s version of a Hollywood ending is just the beginning of a new blend of computer gaming and academic programs at New England College (NEC). The newly built Esports Arena is officially open for business. Creators of this advanced facility for students who are serious competitors in games like Fortnite and other live-action online games are confident it will be the centerpiece of a successful program on campus. Video gaming has been a popular activity for a long time, but esports is just now emerging as a competitive event at the collegiate level. NEC will be actively engaged from the start in this emerging field and organizers believe the school will quickly rise to the ranks of top programs in the country.
“Students learn through participating in competitive esports teams, the same skills and talents as other sports: leadership, communication, perseverance and determination,” explains Michele Perkins, President of New England College, who spearheaded development of the program. “Esports is closely connected to several of our school’s academic programs and this arena will be an exciting new platform for learning as well as a center for exciting competition.”
Esports coach Tyrelle Appleton told the crowd he has recently heard from ESPN and the NEC team will compete in the network’s opening qualifier for the Collegiate Esports Championship. “We are the premier gaming program in New England,” says Appleton. “We will happily accept all comers who want to challenge that statement, including our friends at SNHU. They may not know us now, but they soon will.”
NEC student Trent Lyon is one of the first to be recruited to play esports for the school. The Texas native has been competing regionally in Fortnite competitions where he has made a name for himself in the esports community. “I’m immensely excited to be one of the first players in this program,” says Lyon. “I’m a 21st century Pilgrim, ready to lead into new worlds.”
New England College is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Esports (NACE), the governing body for esports. NACE’s purpose is to promote the education and development of students through intercollegiate esports participation. Member institutions share a common commitment to high standards through participation in organized esports competition and serve as an integral part of the total educational process. Although not part of the College’s varsity sports program, students do learn through participating in competitive esports teams.
As part of the program, President Perkins is making scholarship aid available for students who meet academic standards for esports. Institutional scholarships ranging from $22,000 and up will be based largely on student grade point averages and academic achievements. This is a co-ed program, currently offered at the club sport level, which will be regulated by NACE.
Program administrators believe the arena will be a magnet for many who wish to pursue careers in game design, game theory, and other related programs in this fast-growing professional field. “There may have been a time in the recent past that parents would be wary of sending their kids to college to play video games, but the games have changed,” explains President Perkins. “These games provide links to good-paying jobs in high-tech fields all around the country. These are 21st century careers and we are thrilled to offer a unique new doorway to these professional pathways.”
President Perkins recognized two corporate sponsors, Xsplit and EsportsGear, for donations of equipment and training to launch the arena. The program is based on Alienware hardware, which is considered the top platform in esports gaming worldwide. There will be 20-40 students involved in esports on campus in its first year. NEC officials are confident enrollment in esports games and related programs will grow rapidly. “There are no limits,” says President Perkins.