|July 28, 2010||
Contact: Bryan Baldwin
(Boston) -- Surrounded by hundreds of students, faculty, alumni and state legislators, Governor Patrick today signed House 4864-10, renaming Bridgewater State University and creating a state university system for the nine current Massachusetts State Colleges.
"This is indeed a historic day for our Commonwealth, for our system of public higher education, for Bridgewater State University, and most important of all, for our students," said Dana Mohler-Faria, President of the newly renamed Bridgewater State University, at the State House ceremony. "With today's signing we enter a new era - one ever more responsive to the needs of 21st century society yet inextricably linked to the founding vision of Horace Mann."
"Quality teaching and learning, coupled with the promise of access and affordability, have been and shall forever be the defining features of our institution," said President Mohler-Faria in reaffirming Bridgewater's commitment to academic excellence and noting there would be no change in student tuition and fees as a result of the change.
"This is a terrific achievement for Southeastern Massachusetts and the entire Commonwealth," said alumnus Louis M. Ricciardi, Chair of the University's Board of Trustees and Vice-Chair of the statewide Board of Higher Education. "University status will add to the already exceptional value of a Bridgewater degree, allow our students and alumni to better compete for jobs, give us an advantage in recruiting the best faculty from national pools of candidates, and help the institution better attract private and federal grants."
As a result of this bill, six state colleges will be renamed as Bridgewater State University, Fitchburg State University, Framingham State University, Salem State University, Westfield State University and Worcester State University. The three specialized state colleges - Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts and Massachusetts Maritime Academy - which have more specialized missions, will retain their existing names but be part of a state university system.
The change in name is the sixth in the institution's 170-year history. Prior titles were: Bridgewater Normal School (1840-1846); Bridgewater State Normal School (1846-1932); Bridgewater State Teachers College (1932-1960); State College at Bridgewater (1960-1965); and Bridgewater State College (1965-2010).
"The governor and legislature have taken an important step forward in recognizing the fine work of our nine state colleges by voting to rename them state universities," said Richard Freeland, Commissioner of the Department of Higher Education. "As I see it, this action simply aligns Massachusetts with the practice found in more than 40 other states, where public four-year and Master's institutions were long ago designated as state universities. This action reaffirms the growing importance of our public higher education institutions. It represents a strong show of legislative support for the achievements of our faculty and students."
The name change does not create any new programs or degrees, and will not require any additional state funding because it does not change the institution's mission as a teaching university.
With approximately 11,000 students and 300-plus faculty, Bridgewater is the largest state university in Massachusetts, the state's third largest public institution, and the eighth largest college or university in the Commonwealth, public or private. Founded in 1840 by Horace Mann, Bridgewater is home to the nation's oldest permanently sited teacher-preparation program and is one of the most prolific generators of new teachers, training more science and math teachers than any institution in the state. The university offers a broad range of graduate and undergraduate degree programs through its five schools. Bridgewater ranks third among Massachusetts public institutions in awarding the greatest number of degrees - nearly 2,100 degrees in 2009, a 44 percent increase since 2002.
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Last Modified: July 26, 2010