History

Becker College is a distinctive small college that has long been recognized for its intimate learning environment and cutting edge educational programs. The College continues to strengthen that legacy, gaining national recognition in emerging programs such as Animal Science, Video Game Design, and Nursing.

Timeline: A Look Back

1784

  • Leicester Academy is founded.
  • June 7, becoming the first nonsectarian academy in New England to accept female students.

1788

  • Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, graduates.

1791

  • The earliest documented presence of female students at the Academy is found in the diaries of student Ruth Henshaw, who would become early 19th century portrait artist Ruth Henshaw Miles Bascom.

1834

  • John Barton of Nova Scotia, Canada and Horace Dickenson of Montreal, Canada become the first known international students at Leicester Academy.

1836

  • William Morton, the “Father of Modern Anesthesiology,” graduates.

1840

  • Elizabeth Holmes joined the Academy faculty.

1880

  • First perfect game in major league baseball is pitched at the Worcester Agricultural Fairgrounds–now the Weller Academic Center quad on the Worcester Campus.

1844

  • The first known female international student, Susan A. King of Barnston, Canada, enrolls at Leicester Academy.

1886

  • Elliott P. Joslin, the first doctor in the United States to specialize in diabetes and the founder of today’s Joslin Diabetes Center, graduates.

1887

  • Becker’s Business College is founded at 492 Main St., Worcester, Mass.

1893

  • Harry G. Stoddard, Worcester industrialist, graduates.

1898

  • Robert Goddard, the “Father of Modern Rocketry,” studied at Becker.

1926

  • Becker’s Business College changes its name to Becker College of Business Administration and Secretarial Science.

1936

  • Colton House on Cedar St. in Worcester opens as the College’s first dormitory for women.

1937

  • Becker initiates a major in journalism–the first to be offered in the East.
  • Becker establishes its student newspaper, The Becker Journal.

1943

  • Becker School of Business Administration and Secretarial Science changes its name to Becker Junior College of Business Administration and Secretarial Science, and receives the authority to grant associate in science degrees.

1946

  • Harry E. Brown, B.A., M.A., was named president of Leicester Junior College.

1950

  • Becker introduces its retail merchandising program, the first in Massachusetts.

1951

  • Edward Fendell, NASA head of the Communications Systems Section, Flight Control Division, and instrumentation and communications officer for the Apollo 11 moon landing, graduates.

1954

  • Leicester Junior College was established.

1958

  • Senator John F. Kennedy visits campus to address a Becker assembly.

1963

  • The Paul R. Swan Library is dedicated on the Leicester Campus.

1968

  • The Borger Academic Center is dedicated on the Leicester Campus.

1974

  • Cooperative Education is first offered.

1977

  • Becker Junior College of Business Administration and Secretarial Science and Leicester Junior College merge.

1978

  • The associate in science in veterinary technology, the first in Massachusetts, is 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

  • The Gilbert R. Boutin Student Center is dedicated on the Worcester Campus.

1987

  • Nursing graduate Kathleen A. Flesher ’87 achieves a perfect score of 3,200 on the Massachusetts registered-nurse licensing examination in July, a one in 10,000 probability.

1990

  • Becker Junior College of Business Administration and Secretarial Science changes its name to Becker College, with continued authority to grant associate in science degrees.
  • The William F. Ruska Library is dedicated 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.

1999

  • Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams presents “Medicine for Fun, Not Funds” on March 1 in the Presidential Speaker Series.

2000

  • The Arnold C. Weller, Jr. Academic Center is dedicated on the Worcester Campus.

2006

  • Becker College properties in Leicester are added to the National Register of Historic Places.

2008

  • Barrett Hall, a residence hall on the Leicester Campus, is dedicated in honor of Colleen Barrett ’64.
  • Rev. Samuel May, Jr. House is authenticated as an official National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site by the National Park Service.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., is named tenth 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 (Mass DiGI).
  • Becker College receives a $1.5 million grant from the Allerton Foundation to establish an endowed chair, the Allerton Chair of Animal Health Sciences.

2012

  • Becker College is selected by The Princeton Review as one of the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education and is included in its The Best 377 Colleges: 2013 Edition.
  • The Becker College game design program is ranked among the top-10 colleges in the U.S. and Canada by The Princeton Review.
  • The bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) program is launched.
  • Becker is #1 among undergraduate nursing programs in Massachusetts, with a 99% prelicensure nursing graduates’ first-time NCLEX pass rate in 2011.
  • The George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Student Center opened on the Leicester Campus.

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”.

2014

  • Becker College launches its first fully online degree program, a bachelor of science in business administration.
  • The Princeton Review ranks the Becker College undergraduate Video Game Design program among the top 15 nationally.
  • The Princeton Review includes Becker College as one of the 379 best colleges in the 2015 edition of its annual college guide, “The Best 379 Colleges.”
  • The College completes work as a member of The 10th Cohort of the American Council on Education’s Internationalization Laboratory. The Center for Global Citizenship opens on the Worcester Campus.
  • The college becomes one of 19 charter members of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA).
  • The College opens the Professor John Dorsey Crime Scene and Evidence Lab, a working scene and lab for criminal justice studies on the Worcester Campus.
  • Thomas Friedman—New York Times columnist, author, and Pulitzer-Prize winner—delivers the inaugural lecture in the Presidential Speaker Series on April 8 at Mechanics Hall in Worcester.
  • The College launches its first master’s degree program, in mental health counseling.

2015

  • Colleen Barrett ’64 gives a $1 million gift—the largest individual gift in the College’s history—to name and create the College’s new Center for Global Leadership.
  • Women’s ice hockey is added to the College’s varsity sports program.
  • Becker College posts a record enrollment, with 2,021 students—the largest in the College’s history.
  • Becker College graduates 442 members of the Class of 2015-the largest graduating class in the College’s history.
  • Becker College is ranked #9 in the world for its game design program by The Princeton Review.
  • The Princeton Review includes Becker College as one of the 380 best colleges in the 2016 edition of its annual college guide, “The Best 380 Colleges.”

2016

  • For the fifth year in a row, Becker College is named among the nation’s best institutions for undergraduate education by The Princeton Review.
  • Becker College is ranked #5 in the world for its game design program by The Princeton Review.

2017

  • Dr. Nancy P. Crimmin is named the 11th President of Becker College
  • Becker College is once again ranked #5 in the world for its game design program by The Princeton Review.

2018

  • Becker College is ranked #4 in the world for its game design program by The Princeton Review.
  • Opened the Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship on the Worcester Campus.