|President||Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D.|
|Location||Worcester and Leicester, Massachusetts|
|Campus||Urban and Classic New England|
|Athletics||Hawks (8 men's teams/ 9 women's teams)|
|Affiliations||AAC&U, NAICU, NEASC, AICUM, NECC, ECFC, ECAC Northeast, NEWLA, COWC|
Becker College is a college in central Massachusetts, United States with campuses in Worcester and Leicester. Becker College traces its history from the union of two Massachusetts educational institutions—one founded in 1784 and the other in 1887. Becker has been included among The Princeton Review's "best colleges for undergraduate education," for two consecutive years. The college offers 27 undergraduate degree programs including a nursing program, in its 30th year, which is one of the top 20 producers of registered nurses in Massachusetts, a veterinary sciences program which is among the top-15 producers nationally among four-year private institutions in awarding undergraduate animal studies degrees in 2011-2012, and a video game design and development program ranked in the top 10 nationally for the past four years by The Princeton Review. In April 2011, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts designated Becker as the home of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI). The college’s enrollment has grown to 1,902, and students have the opportunity to live and study in the urban atmosphere of Worcester or the rural environment of Leicester. Becker College has over 21,000 alumni.
The institution comprises two separate campuses located six miles apart, each with its own residence halls, library, dining hall and academic facilities.
Becker’s Leicester campus began as an academy in 1784. The campus is situated within the town common, which in the 18th century, consisted of a tavern, a meetinghouse and the first home built in Leicester, now known as the May House.
Colonel Ebenezer Crafts of Sturbridge and Jacob Davis of Charlton saw a need to provide schooling for children of modest families who lived in Central Massachusetts. The state legislature was petitioned, funds were raised and, in 1784, Leicester Academy was founded. The charter was signed by Governor John Hancock, and Samuel Adams, President of the Massachusetts State Senate; major benefactors included Moses Gill, a future lieutenant governor. It was the third academy in the nation, following the establishment of Governor Dummer Academy at Byfield in 1782 and Philips Academy at Andover in 1780.
Three years after the Leicester Academy centennial, in 1887, Becker's Business College was founded.
Edward Carl Anton (E.C.A.) Becker founded Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1887 and served as its president from 1887 through 1907.
Becker was born in Peoria, Illinois on April 30, 1855. He attended Peoria Bryant & Stratton Business College, graduating from both the business and telegraph departments. Following graduation, he served as a teacher and principal at the college. He went on to purchase and manage the Rockford Business College in Rockford, Illinois and the Freeport Business College in Elgin, Illinois.
After Becker's successes in the Midwest, he moved east, managing a school in Pottsville, Pennsylvania before arriving in Worcester to lead the business department at Hinman College. In 1887 he established Becker's Business College in the Clark building at 492 Main Street in Worcester. On opening day, one student showed up. By the end of the week 30 were in attendance. The college offered courses in bookkeeping, penmanship, arithmetic, shorthand and typing for both men and women.
E.C.A Becker was a member of the Worcester Board of Trade and the Worcester Economic Club. In his free time he enjoyed hunting in Maine, a hobby showcased by two large moose heads that adorned the Becker reception office until the early 1930s. He was also known to have had a pleasant sense of humor.
Upon his death in 1907, the college had an average annual enrollment of 200 students. Graduates excelled in the counting rooms of Worcester’s manufacturing and mercantile establishments and on their civil service examinations.
In 1907, E.C.A. Becker's wife Mary Charlotte Becker formed a corporation to manage the college, serving as treasurer, with son-in-law Walter S. Doud as president, and daughter Eva M. as clerk.
In 1938 the Medical Secretarial course was introduced and became a national model that attracted a number of students. With a critical need for student housing in the area, in 1939 the college purchased a late-Victorian house, built in 1893 on Cedar Street. This home became the first Becker dormitory.
In 1974, Becker and Leicester began working together to expand academic offerings and provide broader social and recreational opportunities for their students. As a result of their close cooperation, the two were formally consolidated in 1977 as the Worcester campus and Leicester campus of Becker College.
The college serves 1,902 students from more than 31 states and 15 countries and offers more than 30 bachelor degree programs, as well as a variety of adult learning options.
- 1784............Leicester Academy founded
- 1788............Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, graduated.
- 1836............William Morton, the "Father of Modern Anesthesiology," graduated.
- 1880............First perfect game in major league baseball was pitched at the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds, which is now Weller Academic Center's quad.
- 1887............Becker's Business College is founded at 492 Main St. Worcester, Mass.
- 1893............Harry G. Stoddard, Worcester industrialist graduated.
- 1898............Robert Goddard, the "Father of Modern Rocketry," studied at Becker.
- 1926............Becker’s Business College changed its name to Becker College of Business Administration and Secretarial Science.
- 1936 ...........Colton House on Cedar St. in Worcester is opened as first dormitory for women.
- 1937 ...........Becker initiates a major in journalism, the first to be offered in the East.
- 1937............Becker establishes its student newspaper, The Becker Journal.
- 1943............Becker School of Business Administration and Secretarial Science changed its name to Becker Junior College of Business Administration and Secretarial Science, and received the authority to grant associate in science degrees.
- 1950............Becker introduces its Retail Merchandising Program, the first in Massachusetts.
- 1954............Leicester Junior College was established.
- 1958............Senator John F. Kennedy visits campus to address a Becker assembly.
- 1963............Dedication of the Paul R. Swan Library on the Leicester campus.
- 1968............Dedication of the Borger Academic Center on the Leicester campus.
- 1974............Cooperative Education was first offered.
- 1977............Becker Junior College of Business Administration and Secretarial Science and Leicester Junior College merged.
- 1978............The Associate of Science in Veterinary Technology, the first in Massachusetts,was accredited.
- 1980............Becker College properties in Worcester are added to the National Register of Historic Places.
- 1982............The Animal Health Care Center opens on the Leicester campus.
- 1986............Dedication of the Gilbert R. Boutin Student Center on the Worcester campus.
- 1990............Becker Junior College of Business Administration and Secretarial Science changed its name to Becker College with continued authority to grant associate in science degrees.
- 1990............Dedication of the William F. Ruska Library on the Worcester campus.
- 1991............Becker College receives authority to grant Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees.
- 1992............A student center is constructed on the Leicester campus.
- 1997............The Lenfest Family Animal Health Clinic is dedicated.
- 2000............Dedication of the Arnold C. Weller Academic Center on the Worcester campus.
- 2006............Becker College properties in Leicester are added to the National Register of Historic Places.
- 2008............Dedication of Barrett Hall, a residence hall on the Leicester campus, in honor of Colleen Barrett ’64.
- 2008............Rev. Samuel May, Jr. House authenticated as an official National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site by the National Park Service.
- 2008............Becker College marks 20 years of criminal justice education.
- 2009............Becker College initiates the Franklin M. Loew Lecture Series in honor of the College’s eighth president.
- 2009............The Becker College Nursing Program celebrates "25 Years of Caring."
- 2010............The Princeton Review ranks the Becker College undergraduate Video Game Design program #1 in New England and #4 in the United States and Canada.
- 2010............Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D. is named 10th president of Becker College.
- 2011............Gov. Deval Patrick and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray approve the designation of Becker College as host of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute.
- 2012............The Princeton Review includes Becker College as one of the 377 best colleges in the 2013 edition of its annual college guide, “The Best 377 Colleges”
- 2012............The George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Student Center opened on the Leicester Campus.
- 2012............The Nursing program was ranked #1 among private undergraduate nursing programs in Massachusetts, with a 2012 98 percent NCLEX pass rate for prelicensure nursing graduates.
- 2012............A bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program is launched.
- 2013............The Princeton Review ranks the Becker College undergraduate Video Game Design program among the top 15 nationally.
- 2013............The Princeton Review includes Becker College as one of the 378 best colleges in the 2014 edition of its annual college guide, “The Best 378 Colleges”
Becker offers 30 degree programs ranging from Animal Sciences and Criminal Justice and Game Design to Nursing and Veterinary Sciences. Becker has a total of 394 faculty and staff, representing an 18:1 student/faculty ratio. The college offers Bachelor, Associate, and Accelerated Degree Programs. All programs are fully accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
In 2012, 98% of Becker nursing students passed their Registered Nurses examination.
Both campuses occupy historic districts with buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Worcester campus is located on Sever Street in the residential Elm Park neighborhood, not far from downtown Worcester, which is about 40 miles west of Boston. Purchased in 1854 using public funds, Elm Park is recognized as one of the first purchases of land for a public park in the United States. The campus area belonged to the Lincoln family (noted for governors Levi Lincoln, Sr. and Levi Lincoln, Jr., and much of it is in the Lincoln Estate-Elm Park Historic District, which includes some historic properties owned by the college. The Leicester campus is adjacent to the historic center of that town, and a number of buildings on that campus are included in the Washburn Square-Leicester Common Historic District.
Classes are held in the Arnold C. Weller Academic Building (former site of the Bancroft School) and the Health Science Center on the Sever Street Quad, as well as in the Design Center (Graphic, Interior and Game) on Cedar Street, which also houses a Mac Lab and motion-capture suite. A multi-purpose gymnasium and dining hall are features of the Gilbert R. Boutin Student Center, and within three blocks on Cedar Street are six of the 11 residence halls found on the Worcester campus, Merrill, Davis, Lincoln, Colton (Becker's first residence hall in Worcester, purchased in 1939), Cedar, and Willow Hall, a brick apartment-style building. Beeches, Miller, Maple, Bullock and Linden Halls also serve dormitories. Lining Roxbury Street are office buildings, campus police and the Collaborative Learning Center, in former homes and typical "three-deckers" for which Worcester is famous.
On Worcester's quad is a monument commemorating the pitching of the first perfect game in professional baseball, on June 12, 1880 by J. Lee Richmond of Worcester, against Cleveland, in a national league game. The game took place on the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds, where the College, and much of the neighborhood, now stands.
The Leicester campus is in a traditional, rural setting, located six miles west of Worcester. Students are shuttled between Leicester and Worcester for classes and events. The historic Leicester Common is a centerpiece to the campus, which includes three historic buildings, once stately homes that the college transitioned into residence halls, Lane, Winslow and Hitchcock. Behind those halls, on Old Main Street, are the Leicester gymnasium and the Lenfest Animal Health Center, the college's veterinary teaching clinic, which is open to the public for appointments during the academic year. Around "the grove" are the Borger Academic Center which houses classrooms, laboratories and the Daniels Hall auditorium, Marsh Hall (classrooms, offices and the Collaborative Learning Center); Susan E. Knight Hall (dining hall, rooms and offices) and the Leicester Student Center. The Leicester campus is also home to many of the college's athletic teams that play home games on Alumni Field. The equestrian team practice and host competitions at the Becker Equestrian Center in nearby Paxton, Massachusetts, and the hockey team host home games at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts.
One of the most prominent buildings on the Leicester campus is the Rev. Samuel May House, built in 1835 and officially recognized in 2008 as a stop on the Underground Railroad. Rev. Samuel May was a leading anti-slavery figure for over three decades and a prominent individual in the New England literary community during the mid-1800s. His wife was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) as well as an outspoken proponent for women's suffrage. Frequent visitors to the May House included Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Lloyd Garrison, Booker T. Washington, George Hoar, May’s brother-in-law, Bronson Alcott and his daughter Louisa May Alcott. It is known that the young author spent summers at the May House and it has been reported that she wrote some of her works from her room on the third floor. The house currently serves as a residence hall.
The college broke ground in the spring 2011 on a new campus center in Leicester. The George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Campus Center was opened in September 2012. The new building is adjacent to the previous student center and houses a dining hall and fitness center as well as academic, office, and social spaces.[dated info]
Becker has two campus libraries with a combined collection of 73,467 cataloged items as well as periodicals and newspapers
In 2013, Becker is host to 12 international students. 92% of students are provided financial aid. Becker offers both gift aid and self-help aid. Gift aid includes grants and scholarships. Self-help aid includes federal Stafford loans, federal work-study, and alternative financing options.
The Gateway Program at Becker is a 3-week summer program that includes one math foundations course, Student Success Workshop, and a variety of activities that will help the transition to Becker
There are several organizations on campus, including Black Student Union/ALANA–Multicultural Club, Animal Health Club, Gay Straight Alliance, Campus Activities Board, Game Development Club, Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA), Dance Team, Drama Club, Mazunte Turtle Project Club, Music Club, National Student Nurses Association, Ski/Snowboard Club, Student Alumni Society, Student Government Association, the student news blog (The Becker Journal Online), and the Yearbook Club.
In 2011, two students organized a letter writing campaign asking Congress to maintain funding for the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief and other humanitarian programs. Many Becker students also participate in the Habitat for Humanity program over spring break. Others will be spending a portion of their summer volunteering in Honduras at the Monte Horeb Center, an educational/vocational project for youth/young adults at risk, providing opportunities for those who cannot complete their studies because of economic limitations.
A game design student at Becker took home second prize out of more than 300 students in the 2010 Colleges of Worcester Consortium Art Show. Two others developed and released the games Cannon Duel and Bombardment, which are both available at the App Store. Student artwork is on display in the Weller Academic Center and blueprints are regularly showcased from the college’s interior design program. Students also contribute to the Hawk Review, a publication containing essays, poetry, fiction and journal entries. Becker is home to a student run online newspaper, the Becker Journal
Becker College is currently fields 16 intercollegiate athletic teams that compete in the Division III level of the NCAA. Prior to becoming an NCAA institution in the fall of 1998, Becker competed in junior college athletics. The 2007-08 women's basketball team was the first team to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The soccer, tennis, field hockey, golf, basketball, baseball, volleyball and softball teams complete in the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC). The football team is a member of the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC). Men's ice hockey is a member of the ECAC Northeast. Women's lacrosse is a member of the New England Women's Lacrosse Alliance (NEWLA). Men’s lacrosse is an associate member of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC). The equestrian team is a member of the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association (IHSA/ Zone 1, Region 1).
Notable alumni and friends
- Colleen Barrett, president emeritus of Southwest Airlines (BJC '64)
- Franklin M. Loew, veterinarian, animal ethicist, former president of Becker College
- Eli Whitney, inventor, (Leicester Academy 1786)
- Thomas Hill, former president of Harvard University, (Leicester Academy 1837)
- Elliott P. Joslin, pioneer in the clinical use of insulin, (Leicester Academy 1886)
- Penny Bacchiochi, Connecticut state representative (BJC '81)
- Scott Maloney, Motivational Speaker (2005)
Other notable facts
The first perfect game in Major League Baseball history was thrown in 1880 by Lee Richmond on a field which is now part of the Becker College campus. A monument marks the site of the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds where Richmond threw his perfect game. The Chicago Tribune recognized the feat as unusual, calling it "the most wonderful game on record".
- "About Becker" URL accessed on May 25, 2011
- "The Princeton Review ranks the top undergraduate and graduate game design programs" URL accessed on May 25, 2011
- "The Creation of MassDiGI - Massachusetts' Digital Games Institute", url accessed on May 25, 2011
- Prewitt-Frelino, Paul. "Director of Institutional Research". Institutional Profile Fall 2013. Becker College. Retrieved 10-2-2013.
- "About Becker" URL accessed on May 25, 2011
- "2010 Performance Summary for Massachusetts Nursing Education Programs","Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health", URL accessed on May 25, 2011.
- "Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past" URL accessed May 25, 2011
- "Becker College scores budget victory — and Rep. McGovern" URL accessed on May 25, 2011