Daniel Webster College
|Location||Nashua, New Hampshire, USA
|Colors||Blue and Red|
Daniel Webster College (DWC) was a college in Nashua, New Hampshire, United States, that operated from 1965 through 2017 and was known for a strong aeronautics focus during much of its history. It was a private, nonprofit college for most of its existence until being purchased in 2009 by ITT Educational Services, Inc., which changed the school to a for-profit model. ITT declared bankruptcy in September 2016 and Daniel Webster College was operated through the 2016-17 academic year by Southern New Hampshire University, after which the college was closed.
The college was established in 1965 as the New England Aeronautical Institute and was associated with Boire Field, now Nashua Airport. In 1978, it merged with its Daniel Webster Junior College division to become Daniel Webster College.
By the mid-2000s, the college was having financial problems and failing to meet "financial responsibility standards" of the United States Department of Education, a measure of economic viability. In 2009, Daniel Webster College received a score of just 0.5 out of 3 on that scale, with 1.5 considered passing. Faced with the prospect of losing educational accreditation and federal funding, both of which would have forced the school to close, it was acquired by ITT Educational Services, Inc., the parent company of the ITT Technical Institutes, in June 2009 for $29.3 million. The new owner converted the college to a for-profit institution.
In 2010, ITT Educational Services phased out the flight program and stopped accepting new flight students, while allowing students currently enrolled in the program to complete their education. The last of these graduated in 2013. Following the suspension of the flight program, student enrollment declined from 900 to approximately 650 undergraduate students.
In August 2016, the U.S. Department of Education prohibited ITT Educational Services from enrolling new students who used federal financial aid, because accreditor ACICS threatened to revoke accreditation for the 130 other schools that it ran. The school suspended new enrollment, then on September 6, ceased operations. The 2016-17 academic year at Daniel Webster was not threatened because it used a different accreditor, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). However, the NEASC said the Department of Education's "extraordinary demands" implied that the college did not meet its standards either, and required the college to show why its NEASC accreditation should not be withdrawn as well. Daniel Webster agreed to submit such a report, but by September 9, the federal government refused to release financial aid for Daniel Webster students. Daniel Webster College, Inc. and the parent corporation filed for bankruptcy on September 16.
Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), a non-profit college in Manchester, New Hampshire, hired 87 of DWC's faculty and staff to let the 2016-17 academic year proceed in Nashua. Seniors could graduate from Daniel Webster, while underclassmen had the option of continuing their subsequent years at SNHU. SNHU also tried to buy the Nashua campus, but its bids were rejected and SNHU instead opted to build a new engineering building of its own by 2019. Ultimately, SNHU purchased DWC's flight center, tower building, and hangar at Nashua Airport, while an unidentified university from China acquired the remainder of the campus.
The main campus was located on 54 acres (22 ha) next to Nashua Airport. There were three academic buildings, a gymnasium, and an auditorium on the main campus in Nashua. Residences included four traditional dormitories and 15 townhouse-style residences.
The school offered 17 campus-based B.S. degree programs, and 9 online degree programs including the M.B.A. The school was accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Daniel Webster's aeronautical engineering and mechanical engineering programs were accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology.
The athletics program existed in a limited capacity from its earliest NEIA years competing in basketball and later enjoyed some success in both baseball and in particular men's soccer, where the soccer program won a pair of championships in the Greater Boston Small College Conference in 1980 and 1981.
The College joined the NCAA as an independent in 1993. It became a charter member of both the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) in 1996 and later the New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) in 2007. The program was also a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC).
At its height, the Daniel Webster Eagles comprised 17 NCAA Division III varsity athletic teams. Programs for men included baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, soccer, and volleyball. Women's programs included basketball, cross country, field hockey, lacrosse, soccer, softball, and volleyball. The college had sponsored men's tennis which played on an on-campus court in the 1990s, and also briefly sponsored both wrestling and women's ice hockey.
Indoor sports were played at the Mario Vagge Gymnasium, named in honor of the former Nashua mayor who served from 1958–65 and was a college benefactor. The campus has fields for baseball, softball, and soccer/lacrosse. Ice hockey, which was sponsored as a club program for over two decades before joining the NCAA in 2015, was played off-campus at Conway Arena in Nashua in its final years. It had previously played primarily at Tully Forum in nearby Billerica, Massachusetts.
The athletics programs had limited success during their time in the GNAC winning just one championship (baseball in 1996). However, the program saw significant improvement during its years in the NECC, winning conference tournament championships in baseball, men's cross country, field hockey, women's basketball, women's volleyball, and men's soccer. It also saw a significant increase in both all-conference and major conference award winners. DWC finished as the top overall athletics program in the NECC in its inaugural season in the conference, finishing first among all men's programs and second among women's programs.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Daniel Webster College.|
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