President's Newsletter Winter 2016

February 2016

Welcome to the Winter edition of the President’s Newsletter!  We just completed our fall semester and while we are moving into our spring semester we do so with snow still on the ground and the possibility of snow days not quite behind us.   As we look forward to the spring season, I want to take a moment to celebrate the many exciting events of the past several months.

January marked the beginning of our 45th year.  Founded in 1971 to provide academic opportunity to those for whom it might have been denied, Cambridge College has held true to its mission of opportunity and access as evidenced by our over 36,000 amazing alumni!  So on January 14, we launched this anniversary year with a celebration dinner attended by nearly 300 guests. The dinner was a tribute to the college’s past and an opportunity to share with our broader community the plans for the next 45 years of excellence and success in opening doors to higher education for adult learners. The event was emceed by Ms. Shayna Seymour, reporter and producer for WCVB’s Chronicle, who presented to Cambridge College a citation of commendation on behalf of Congresswoman Katherine Clark.  This was followed by a presentation by First Lady Lauren Baker of an equally treasured citation of commendation from Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito.  The dinner event was chaired by former Governor Deval Patrick and former First Lady Diane Patrick, and business and civic leaders Gerald and Kate Chertavian who were supported in their roles as Honorary Co-Chairs by a distinguished Honorary Committee of leading business, civic and government leaders from the Greater Boston community.  A highlight of the evening was the recognition of key friends and supporters who were instrumental in establishing and supporting the College from its earliest years to present day.  The Founders Award was presented to Jonathan Larsen, whose illustrious career included being former Saigon Bureau Chief for TIME Magazine and former editor of New Times and The Village Voice.  Mr. Larsen also devoted three decades of service as a Trustee on the board of Cambridge College. The President’s Award was presented to Susan and Daniel Rothenberg who were champions of social justice as demonstrated by their philanthropic support for numerous organizations over many years, including Cambridge College. Mrs. Rothenberg accepted the award on behalf of her husband Danny who passed in 2013, leaving a great legacy in the Boston community. We also took a moment to recognize Cambridge College founder, Eileen M. Brown and long-time supporter, Elizabeth J. McCormack who has an endowed Chair in the Humanities in her honor at Cambridge College.  All of these individuals played a critical role in the college’s history and we were so honored to have them present to celebrate with us that evening.    

We could not have celebrated without recognizing our students and our alumni and we did so with the presentation of an inspirational video featuring three of our exceptional alumni, starting with musician, teacher and Emmy award winner, Brad Hatfield (MM ’12), global entrepreneur and businesswoman Priya Samant (MM ‘10), and social activist and change agent Stacey Borden (BS ’14). We also had a special presentation by another exceptional alumni, Christena Reinhard, co-founder of Union and Fifth, where fashion meets philanthropy. She introduced the audience to another fun and exciting way to support the college.  Visit their website and have a great shopping adventure while doing so much good!

Just when we thought the evening could not have been any more special, I was joined on stage by Pam Trefler, longtime Cambridge College friend, supporter and former trustee, who announced that she and her husband Alan, through the Trefler Foundation, have made a commitment of $1 million to Cambridge College.  This commitment, coming from one of Greater Boston's leading philanthropists and advocates for education and opportunity, is such a strong vote of confidence about the future of the college and the importance of our mission.   We are deeply grateful and honored to have Pam and Alan, and the Trefler Foundation as partners for the future of Cambridge College. Our thanks to everyone who joined us and supported this wonderful launch of the celebration of the past and the future 45 years!  

Another significant accomplishment that we are proud to share is our selection as one of only 37 colleges and universities nationwide, by the International Research & Exchange Board (IREX), to serve as a host institution for the 2016 Mandela Washington Fellowship.  This initiative is a flagship program of President Obama’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which empowers young African leaders through academic coursework, leadership training, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and support for activities in their communities.  Fellows are young leaders from Sub-Saharan Africa who have established records of accomplishment in promoting innovation and positive change in their organizations, institutions, communities, and countries.  

As a host institution, in June we will welcome 25 leaders from various African nations for a six-week executive professional development and leadership opportunity in Business and Entrepreneurship. This opportunity arose from our selection in 2015 to host a single Mandela Washington Fellow, Mr. David Kuany from the John Gurang Memorial University in South Sudan.  Mr. Kuany had an exceptional professional development program and experience under the direction of Dr. Sheila Wright, Dean of our School of Education.  The success of our experience hosting Mr. Kuany inspired us to apply for participation in this exceptional federally-sponsored and funded initiative. This program will advance our interest in expanding international opportunities for the college, and enable us to provide a mutually enriching experience for these African leaders and for our campus. I want to acknowledge the stellar work of Provost Catherine Koverola, Dean Sheila Wright and Rebecca Heimmel, Program Director for their leadership on this effort and initiative.  Please see the press release to learn more about this initiative, see pictures from our team’s recent trip to the White House as part of the project launch, and to learn how you might be able to participate and help as we work to assure that our fellows have an exceptional experience in Massachusetts.

We continue, as one of our strategic priorities, to build governance leadership for Cambridge College.  I am delighted therefore to announce the election of our new Board Chairman, Ms. Susan Ifill, a graduate of the Cambridge College School of Management. I am also delighted to announce the election of Mr. Kevin McCall, one of Boston’s most admired business leaders, to the Cambridge College Board of Trustees.  

Ms. Susan Ifill is the first alumni Board Chair in Cambridge College’s 45 year history, having served as Treasurer of our Board since 2005.  Susan earned her Master’s degree in Management and certification in Negotiation and Conflict Resolution from our School of Management in 1997.  In 2013, Susan was inducted into the Cambridge College chapter of Sigma Beta Delta, the international honor society of Business, Management and Administration.  She is currently the Interim Chief Executive Officer of Neighborhood Housing Services of New York City, Inc., a community-based organization that revitalizes underserved neighborhoods throughout New York City through financial empowerment, community leadership and affordable housing.   Prior to this role, she served as the Chief Operating & Financial Officer at NHS and was also the former Senior Vice President and Chief Retail Officer of Carver Federal Savings Bank in Harlem, NY.  Susan began her career in Boston, spending over 28 years at Bank of America.  She credits receiving her management degree at Cambridge College for positioning and preparing her for what became a fast track rise in her career at FleetBoston where she became Senior Vice President at FleetBoston Financial, responsible for the administration and distribution of $3.9 billion in assets annually.  It gives us such great pride to have our first alumni take on the role and responsibility of leadership on the Cambridge College Board of Trustees.

Mr. Kevin McCall brings a wealth of experience in business and the real estate industry to the board of trustees.   Widely recognized for his business and social leadership in the Greater Boston community, Kevin recently retired as President and CEO of Paradigm Properties, a full-service commercial real estate firm, and Paradigm Capital Advisors, a real estate investment management firm he founded in 1997.  Prior to Paradigm, Kevin was a Senior Vice President and partner with Spaulding and Slye.  He has been committed to many social causes including serving on the board of Boston Center for Communities and Justice and was awarded the 2010 CEO Social Leader of the Year award by the Boston Business Journal.  Mr. McCall has an A.B. from Harvard College, an MBA from Harvard University School of Business Administration and is a LeadBoston Fellow.  For the past two years Kevin has served on the Cambridge College President’s Council so we are now delighted and honored to welcome him to our Board of Trustees. 

In the spirit of engagement, our Alumni Affairs Office has moved to reengage our 35,000 alumni with the launch of new alumni chapters in Boston, New York, Puerto Rico and California! This new campaign is supported by the formation of Alumni Councils in each of our regional locations to more effectively engage and communicate with our alumni through reinvigorated newsletters, alumni services and events.  We invite all of our alumni to join us, reconnect and support our efforts to support you more effectively.  Join the chapter, join a Council and share the pride in Cambridge College that we share in all that you have accomplished. To learn more about alumni engagement and see pictures from our recent events, visit our alumni events page.

Preparing students for science is an investment in the future, an area to which  Cambridge College is deeply committed and one for which we are a recognized leader in the field.  So with great excitement, we hosted this month the 2nd Annual Science Colloquium: “Unpacking the New Massachusetts Science Standards for Elementary and Middle School Teachers. The new Massachusetts science standards for elementary and middle school teachers include an integrated approach for Pre-K–8 that reflects the multidisciplinary nature of science and technology/engineering and research on science learning, curriculum and instruction.  Under the leadership of Professor John Papadonis from the School of Education, Cambridge College has positioned itself to be at the forefront of helping prepare teachers for these new standards, which is a growing of interest. The Science Colloquium attracted over 120 school leaders, administrators and science educators representing over 50 school districts.  We thank our sponsor, McGraw Hill Education for supporting this popular event for the second year in a row, all of our guests, speakers and Professor Papadonis for sharing his love of science – and magic – with us!  To see pictures of the event, click here

Another strategic priority for the college has been the expansion of academic programs to respond to emerging professional opportunities that we can prepare our students and graduates to pursue.  As such, we launched three new programs in emerging fields of particular interest to our students: a Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness Promotion, a Bachelor of Science in Natural and Applied Sciences, and a Master in Business Administration.  This fall we welcomed our first class of new students into each of these programs.  We want to acknowledge the contributions of the faculty and deans of our Undergraduate School, Dean James Lee, and our Management School, Dean Mary Ann Joseph, for their leadership in our efforts to continue to develop academic offerings in support of our students’ professional opportunities and growth.

Finally, I am pleased to share that I have been appointed by the American Council on Education’s (ACE) to serve a three-year term on its Commission on Education Attainment and Innovation.  This commission acts as an advisory committee for the ACE’s Center for Education Attainment and Innovation (CEAI).  I look forward to serving as an ambassador for Cambridge College to collaborate with leaders from all sectors of higher education on this important issue of attaining postsecondary education. 

In closing, I am extremely proud of the effort, collaboration and dedication that our faculty, students and staff at Cambridge College embody.  I reflect on the words in a letter I received from a student who wrote to thank Cambridge College for “doing all that is required and more than is expected.”  In addition to the fine work of our staff, faculty, and board of trustees, it is the support of friends, alumni, colleagues and partners that helps us to secure a future that realizes the dreams of our students.  Thank you to every one of you for believing in Cambridge College.


Deborah C. Jackson