UMass cuts ribbon on welcome center at new satellite center
SPRINGFIELD - March 31, 2014: The University of Massachusetts today opened a welcome center at its new downtown satellite center in Tower Square and began allowing prospective students to register for courses and degree programs before the start of classes Sept. 2 at the UMass Center at Springfield.
``We want prospective students in the Greater Springfield area to know that the UMass Center at Springfield is now open for business,'' UMass President Robert L. Caret said. ``We encourage them to walk in to the center or go online or call to inquire about our programs onsite and online and register for classes.''
Several UMass officials, including UMass Board of Trustees Chairman Henry M. Thomas III, Trustee Edward W. Collins Jr. and UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, joined President Caret for the welcome center's official ribbon-cutting. Also in attendance were Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno, and Ira Rubenzahl and William F. Messner, presidents of Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College, respectively.
The welcome center will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Prospective students can also get information about classes and enroll by visiting http://umasscenteratspringfield.org/ or calling 413-78UMASS.
The UMass Center at Springfield is the first satellite center for the five-campus University of Massachusetts system. UMass Amherst, located about 25 miles from Springfield, is the lead campus for the satellite center, with other UMass campuses also providing academic programs. The UMass Center at Springfield will complement UMass Amherst's active involvement in the Springfield area, where faculty and staff are engaged in more than 120 programs in health, fine arts and the creative economy, natural sciences, engineering, green industries, management, sports and education.
``We on the Amherst campus are excited to take a leading role in the continuing presence of the University of Massachusetts in Springfield. The UMass Center at Springfield consolidates the university's ongoing programs in a central location that will allow the strongest possible support and provide even greater opportunities for area students,'' Chancellor Subbaswamy said.
``We know that the skills people develop here will fuel the long-term economic growth of the region. We are delighted that the UMass Center at Springfield is already contributing to that growth by leasing this downtown space, contracting local architects, purchasing furnishings and supplies locally and, through the Tower Square managers, providing local construction jobs,'' he said.
UMass officials said the 40 initial course offerings for the fall semester draw on key industry needs in the region and that additional programs are being explored in partnership with area community colleges. This would allow students to obtain an associate degree that leads to bachelor's degrees in such areas as advanced manufacturing, management, cybersecurity, information technology and casino management.
Through the UMass Center at Springfield, the UMass campuses and the community colleges are able to collaborate and bring their special strengths to a variety of programs.
UMass Lowell will offer a Master of Science degree in cybersecurity, an academic discipline gaining in popularity amid concerns about identity theft and protecting the privacy of databases.
With Springfield poised to be the site of a new casino, UMass Boston will offer an Addiction Counselor Education Program including a focus on gambling addiction.
UMass Amherst will offer programs in elementary and secondary education, a Master of Business Administration, Nursing, Regional Planning and Landscape Architecture, and Architecture and Design.
Students will be able to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies through a partnership between Holyoke Community College and UMass Dartmouth that includes a two-year associate degree program leading to a bachelor's degree.
Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College will provide seven non-credit training programs through their Training & Workforce Options (TWO) program.
UMass Amherst's University Without Walls, a program to help adults finish their first bachelor's degree, will be part of the UMass Center at Springfield.
UMassOnline will provide access to the full array of online courses and degrees offered by the five campuses.
`` I am pleased that the campuses of the UMass system, with our flagship campus in Amherst taking the lead, will be providing a range of programs to the region's cornerstone city in partnership with the local community colleges,'' President Caret said. ``I look forward to this deepened partnership with the city - and to shared growth and success in the future."
Last November, President Caret, Chancellor Subbaswamy and Gov. Deval L. Patrick announced the selection of Tower Square as the location for the UMass Center at Springfield, saying that it would significantly expand the University's presence in western Massachusetts and unlock a range of degree opportunities that will be tailored to the meet the region's workforce needs.
``The UMass Center at Springfield is a game-changing presence for downtown Springfield, '' said Springfield Mayor Sarno. ``I would like to thank Governor Patrick, President Caret, Chancellor Subbaswamy and Chairman Thomas for making the UMass Center at Springfield a reality. This will not only benefit downtown Springfield but the entire region by expanding access to higher education.''
Chairman Thomas, a lifelong Springfield resident and the president & CEO of the Urban League of Springfield, said of the UMass Center at Springfield: "This is the beginning of an important new chapter in the city's history, as the University of Massachusetts steps forward in the city in a determined and purposeful way, providing academic programs in the heart of the city and also providing hope and the promise of a better future for the residents of the Springfield area."
Contact: Ann Scales, 617-287-4084; Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073