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President Dana Mohler-Faria

President Dana Mohler-Faria

Few people personify the spirit, mission and character of Bridgewater State University more than its eleventh president, Dr. Dana Mohler-Faria. An integral part of the campus community for more than 20 years and a lifelong resident of Southeastern Massachusetts, Dr. Mohler-Faria has followed a path of achievement that undoubtedly resonates well with many of the university's nearly 11,500 students.

Not unlike many of the students who come to Bridgewater, President Mohler-Faria was the first member of his family to go to college. Three decades and four degrees later, he continues to cite the work ethic and moral fabric of his late father, a construction worker, and his late mother, a laborer in the cranberry bogs of Wareham and in the factories of New Bedford, as the standards by which he holds himself up to each and every day. In addition, Dr. Mohler-Faria's optimistic outlook on life is a credit to the Cape Verdean community in which he grew up, and it is because so much of that community's hopes and dreams were placed on his shoulders that he continues to be firmly rooted in the lives of tomorrow's generation. President Mohler-Faria is the first person of color to lead Bridgewater State University and, at the time of his inauguration, was only the second person of Cape Verdean descent in the United States to be elected the president of a higher education institution.

Since becoming president in June of 2002, Bridgewater State University has grown tremendously and is now the eighth largest four-year institution of higher education (public or private) in Massachusetts. The beginning of the twenty-first century at Bridgewater has clearly been one of tremendous momentum, and since 2000:

  • The University's total headcount rose by 28 percent and full-time equivalents (FTE) by 46 percent;
  • The number of degrees conferred – one of the most critical indicators of the University's return on public investment – has risen by 76 percent;
  • Bridgewater's freshmen-sophomore retention stands in excess of 80 percent, and retention rates for students of color and low-income students, once considerably lower than those of all students, have surged ahead and are now on par with the student body as a whole;
  • The percentage of freshmen earning Dean's List honors has doubled;
  • The University has added 75 full-time faculty to its ranks, a 30 percent increase. No public institution in Massachusetts has added more, and few institutions in the United States have added faculty at a more prolific rate;
  • Bridgewater's resident population has more than doubled;
  • The University has added 10 buildings, 35 acres, and 1,000 wireless access points to the campus footprint, having invested more than $400 million in capital expansion and infrastructural improvements. In addition, Bridgewater has established permanent satellite locations in New Bedford and Attleboro;
  • The number of formal international partnerships, which numbered 4 in 2000, now stands at 35;
  • And Bridgewater has nearly quintupled the size of its private endowment, which now stands in excess of $29 million.

Prior to becoming president, Dr. Mohler-Faria served for 11 years as Bridgewater State College's vice president for administration and finance. He has also held numerous senior administrative positions at Mount Wachusett Community College, Bristol Community College and Cape Cod Community College.

Dr. Mohler-Faria holds a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, master's and bachelor's degrees in history from Boston University, and an associate's degree from Cape Cod Community College. He has participated in the Oxford Roundtable, the Millennium Leadership Institute, the New England Resource Center for Higher Education and Harvard University's Institute for Education Management and Senior Executives Program.

In addition to his work as president, Dr. Mohler-Faria served concurrently for 18 months as Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's special advisor for education, was instrumental in establishing the Executive Office of Education, and was a member of the statewide Board of Elementary and Secondary Education.