Massachusetts Daily Collegian

UMass Springfield Center promotes higher education outside of Amherst

By Brianna Zimmerman

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Center at Springfield held its grand opening event on Wednesday, marking the start of a chance for those in the area to better their education. The event took place in Springfield Tower Square in order to emphasize the positive impacts of higher learning on the city.

A variety of distinguished speakers were present, including UMass President Robert L. Caret, UMass Board of Trustees Chairman Henry M. Thomas III, Governor Deval Patrick, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, UMass Building Authority Chairman Philip W. Johnston, Mayor of Springfield Domenic J. Sarno and Senator James T. Welch.

Each speaker commented on the benefit of the location of the UMass Center at Springfield.

“For me, this center is not an abstraction,” Patrick said. “It’s not even just about the 300 students who have already oversubscribed to this space…it’s about what is represented and what is possible for the people of Springfield and the people of the Commonwealth.”

The UMass Center’s 26,000 square-foot facility was funded completely by the state for $5.2 million dollars. The Center offers 40 courses across ten programs including liberal arts, nursing and education. These programs were chosen based on the necessity for these industries specifically in Springfield.

Students from both Holyoke Community College and Springfield Technical Community College have benefited from the presence of the UMass Center in Springfield.

“All of the students at the Center belong to whatever campus they are already enrolled in. They pay those tuitions, those fees and nothing else,” said Dr. Lynn Griesemer, executive director of the UMass Donahue Institute. The UMass Center simply provides a place for classes to be taught.

Nursing students at UMass attend classes weekly at the new facility in Springfield, according to Clare Lamontagne, undergraduate program director of the College of Nursing. There is a simulated lab at the facility, specialized for future home health aids and visiting nurses. UMass nursing student Fay Khudairi said she enjoys the new facility and can see its convenience for people who live in the area.

Lucy Carvalho, a native of Springfield, is a new faculty member at the facility.

“I’m so excited,” she said. “I’m using what I learned from working in the community as a volunteer, and my nursing, and I’m hoping that my students will make impacts in other ways.”

Chancellor Subbaswamy concluded his speech by saying, “The distance between Amherst and Springfield just got a lot shorter,” with so many professors from the University’s flagship campus in Amherst teaching classes in Springfield. The Center is expected to double in size in the future.

Brianna Zimmerman can be reached at [email protected]

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