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Community leader accepts new post at Westfield State College

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD Earlier this year, Westfield State College (WSC) President Evan Dobelle announced the appointment of six high-level administrators to the college staff. Last week, the president added yet another to his team with the appointment of Robert "Bob" Plasse as Assistant to the President, Communications.

Since moving to Westfield six years ago, Plasse has become the well-known founding member and president of the non-profit Westfield on Weekends (WOW). His passion for this community and his ability to promote the city as a destination within the Valley has allowed him devote his energies to Westfield fulltime. Prior to receiving this post, Plasse was splitting his time between his Westfield residence and work with WOW and his job as assistant professor in the Human Services Department at Holyoke Community College.

"It is a pleasure to welcome Bob to our team," Dobelle said. "He will bring his experience and skills in education, social services, community relations, administration and cultural programming to this multi-faceted liaison position. His creativity and enthusiasm will help us showcase the college and enhance the solid ties between our campus and the region."

Plasse explained that his belief in his adopted city as well as his mission to promote its cultural wealth as provided him with an opportunity too perfect to pass up "to continue the college's quest to strengthen connections with our community and the world."

He said he will work to promote WSC's global focus instituted by the new president, which emphasizes increased study abroad opportunities as well as a synergy between the college and the greater Westfield community.

"There is a place on Western Avenue [WSC] that is accessible but not used by people in the region," Plasse explained of the public's failure to take advantage of the college's cultural, historical and educational events.

He said he is looking to create a synergy between not only the college and the Westfield community but with various community organizations such as WOW and the Westfield Business Improvement District (BID).

He noted that one of his first tasks will be to promote the WSC Foundation Speaker Series.

"It's a great lineup, including noted archeologist/anthropologist Donald Johanson (Sept. 16), Presidential historian Doris Kearns-Goodwin (Nov. 10) and psychosexual therapist Dr. Ruth Westheimer (Dec. 10)," Plasse said. "I am especially excited about the investiture of President Evan Dobelle on Sept. 27 at 10:30 at the Woodward Center. Arlo Guthrie will be receiving an honorary degree and performing many of his greatest hits."

Plasse said he believes the "missing element" to create such unity has always been WSC but that Dobelle has dedicated himself to the community.

"What he does is find the sparks and makes it into a blaze," he said of Dobelle's work to bring in a strong administrative team to promote the college.

Plasse explained that since moving to Western Massachusetts from New York City he has fallen in love with "small town America . where there are opportunities to grow as a person. I have been so enriched by this community."

For more information about WSC events open to the public such as the Guest Lecture Series go to