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HCC, Elms to offer students new program

Date: 3/31/2010

March 31, 2010

By G. Michael Dobbs

Managing Editor

HOLYOKE -- The presidents of Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Elms College officially finalized an agreement on March 23 that enables HCC graduates to complete a bachelor's degree from Elms while still on the HCC campus.

The program will begin in September and the initial degrees offered include psychology, business (with majors in management and accounting) and English. In the fall of 2011, a licensure program in Early Childhood Education at the baccalaureate level will be offered.

"This is just the right moment for doing this ... in the development of your history and ours," Sister Mary Reap, president of The Elms, told William Messner, president of HCC, at the signing ceremony.

"This agreement builds on the long history of collaboration between HCC and Elms College and the success of hundreds of HCC students who earned degrees from Elms," Messner said. "By providing access to an education that is convenient, affordable and of the highest caliber, this program will enable many more HCC graduates to achieve their dreams of earning a bachelor's degree."

Messner added that many HCC students "speak of the comfort at HCC and would like to stay here to complete their work."

Joanna Brown, director of alumni relations, said the program started as an idea from alumni two and a half years ago. She explained alumni had been wondering if and when there could be a four-year program on the campus. HCC officials took the suggestion seriously and began investigating what could be done.

Anne Sroka, HCC director of marketing and public relations, explained that while HCC has had partnerships with other four-year institutions, this is the first time it has arranged a program that would allow an HCC student to stay four years on the Holyoke campus and receive a bachelor's degree.

Sroka said the program's classes would be conducted on weekends as accelerated programs.

Mark Broadbent, HCC coordinator of transfer affairs, added that students in this program will spend about $20,000 less in obtaining their degree than if they attended The Elms in a traditional manner for two more years.

HCC student Janice Daly of West Springfield is graduating and said she has been considering colleges for her next two years of education. She was impressed with the new program.

"It's all about the community, the students we serve," Reap said. "I think the community will be happy to see this."