NEC Joining GNAC in 2023-24 Academic Year | New England College

NEC Joining GNAC in 2023-24 Academic Year

NEC joins the GNAC

217 Lincoln Street
Winthrop, MA 02152

CONTACT:  Michael Ghika
Asst. Commissioner for Strategic Communications
PHONE: (781) 507-3899


Mitchell, NEC Joining GNAC in 2023-24 Academic Year
Both institutions added for next fall

WINTHROP, Mass. – The Great Northeast Athletic Conference is thrilled to announce the additions of Mitchell College and New England College as its 15th and 16th core member institutions, as announced by GNAC Commissioner Joe Walsh on Tuesday morning.

Both the Mariners and the Pilgrims will join the conference beginning next fall in the 2023-24 academic year.

“The addition of Mitchell and New England College will provide continued stability to our current 22 championship offerings, and possibly allow for more GNAC championship opportunities in the future,” said Commissioner Walsh. “The geographical location of the two schools also allows our administrators to discuss further divisional play options, while it also helps reduce student-athlete missed class time academically.”

Currently members of the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC), Mitchell is located in New London, Conn., while NEC is located in Henniker, N.H.

Mitchell sponsors 12 varsity sports, all of which will compete within the GNAC – baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, and women’s volleyball.

“Mitchell College is honored to have been invited to join the Great Northeast Athletic Conference,” said Dr. Tracy Y. Espy, president of Mitchell. “Being part of the GNAC is a huge win for our coaches, students and the institution as a whole. We look forward to being in great company with the other GNAC institutions of excellence.”

“The GNAC is a wonderful fit for us that will have a positive impact for all of our student-athletes and programs,” said Matt Finlayson, Mitchell director of athletics. “Becoming a member of the GNAC provides us with an opportunity to continue to grow and enhance athletics. It’s regionally located and is comprised of members that we can compete with while sharing similar institutional values. We are excited and looking forward to the future in the GNAC.”

An inclusive four-year independent college, Mitchell College welcomes a “kaleidoscope of learners” – a wide spectrum of diversity in race, gender, class, ethnicity and learning style. Mitchell developed its distinct educational approach over more than 80 years, blending a tradition of mentoring with an expertise in teaching diverse learning styles to create the innovative Mitchell Ability Model. Through a journey of self-discovery, learning adaptability, four-year career development, and mastery of essential abilities, students are challenged, supported and equipped for lifelong success. Mitchell is committed to the broader community through building strong, creative and cooperative partnerships. Located on a beautiful waterfront campus in historic New London, Connecticut, it is also home to championship NCAA Division III athletics, Thames at Mitchell College, the Mystic Program, and the renowned Bentsen Learning Center.

Thirteen of NEC’s 22 sports will operate under the GNAC umbrella – baseball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, field hockey, men’s golf, men’s and women’s lacrosse, men’s and women’s soccer, softball, and women’s volleyball.

“New England College is honored and delighted to be invited to join the GNAC,” said Dr. Michele Perkins, NEC Chancellor. “This conference, and the colleges who are members, enjoy a reputation for excellence in athletics and academics, commitment to learning and leadership, and unwavering support for diversity and inclusion.  In short, the GNAC embodies the key values of NCAA Division III.  We are proud to be a new GNAC member and look forward to lively competition next year!”

“We are thrilled to be able join the GNAC as full members,” said David DeCew, NEC director of athletics. “We know this new affiliation will be a great fit for our athletic programs and we look forward to bringing more value to the conference.  The league’s core values of community, sportsmanship, and integrity align with our beliefs and holistic approach to student-athlete development.  We are moving into this partnership with full commitment and excitement.”

Founded in 1946, NEC was established to serve the needs of servicemen and women attending college on the GI Bill after World War II. Today, it serves over 5,000 undergraduate, graduate and online students annually. NEC offers more than 50 associate and bachelor’s degree programs, more than 10 master’s degree programs and a doctoral program, all delivered by dedicated and accomplished faculty in the liberal arts tradition and with an emphasis on experiential learning. NEC is accredited by the New England Commission of Higher Education.

Most recently, Elms College joined the GNAC in 2021 after Dean College joined in 2020. Prior to that, Regis College was added in 2017 and Colby-Sawyer College came aboard in 2018.

The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 14 member institutions and over 3,500 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 22 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience.



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