61 William Street
Worcester, MA 01609
January 21, 2015
Updated September 30, 2016: The name of the Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship has been changed to the Colleen C. Barrett Center for Global Leadership.
President Johnson was interviewed by WTAG morning host Jim Polito. They discussed the recent $1 million gift received from Becker alumna Colleen Barrett, president emeritus of Southwest Airlines, establishing the Center for Global Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and other positive impacts the gift will have on the College.
November 5, 2014 at the Beechwood Hotel
Becker College President Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D., was not only a featured panelist for a Worcester Business Journal Power Breakfast Series event, but an example of success in the higher education industry.
During a panel discussion regarding higher education in Massachusetts on Nov. 5—which also included Clark University President David Angel, Worcester State University President Barry Maloney, and Lee Rubenstein, vice president of business development at edX—Dr. Johnson was asked about Becker’s transformation from a struggling college before his arrival just four years ago to a now thriving institution.
“It’s about identifying a value proposition so students can realize a return on investment when it comes to a Becker education,” said Dr. Johnson, adding that the school has focused on marketing its niche programs to students. “We took our tallest building and our biggest drum and beat it as loud as we could. We took our niche programs like game design, animal studies, nursing, and business, and we built our brand around that.”
The event was moderated by Richard Doherty, president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM), who briefed the audience on the changing demographics of college students. Doherty said that while the number of New England students is declining, other parts of the country—like California, Florida, and Texas—are exporting students at an exponential rate. Recruiting students from these areas has been one of Becker’s keys to success—this fall, the College experienced its largest enrollment in its 230-year history (2,021 students).
“The geographic diversity of our students is changing,” said Dr. Johnson. For the fall 2014 semester, 53% of Becker’s students came from outside of Massachusetts, up 11 percent in just three years. The Class of 2018 has students representing 27 states and 6 countries.
While topics like online learning, government and state funding, and the future of big data science were discussed, relationship building within the community was an element all panelists agreed would be a key to success for Worcester’s higher education industry.
“The areas schools cannot grow independently of the city, just as the city cannot grow without its schools,” said Clark’s President Angel.
Dr. Johnson echoed President Angel’s thoughts, stating that an institution must find ways to give back to the community. “Our students spent more than 80,000 hours performing community service projects annually, both here and abroad,” said Dr. Johnson. “There is no other city in the country with a population of just under 200,000 people where you can find this many colleges and universities, with this kind of diversity, that are not in direct competition with each other so that higher education can be an economic driver for the local community.”
Doherty, who is based in Boston, agreed. “Worcester has a growing reputation as a ‘hot city,’” he said.
Read the Worcester Business Journal’s event recap here.
January 20, 2014 at Quinsigamond Community College
Worcester School Committee member, and founder of the Worcester: a City that Reads book drive, John Monfredo, wrote about the Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast and President Johnson's speech, in an article for GoLocalWorcester.com. Read more.
Jenna Antonelli, of Worcester Connects, wrote an article about President Johnson's Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast speech in, “‘When you die, leave it on empty…' Giving Everything to a New Generation of Learners.'” Read more.
January 18, 2013 at UMass Memorial Hospital
From William Corbett, MD, Vice President Community Practices, UMMMG, Associate Professor of Medicine, UMMS:
“Dr. Robert Johnson gave the keynote address at UMass Memorial Health Care's Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration on January 18th. The title was, ‘Keeping the Dream Alive: A 21st Century Perspective.' His riveting, inspiring oratory reminded those in attendance of Dr. King himself. He used historical references, personal influences and real-life examples to explain the work we need to emulate. We all left with a great sense of obligation to continue the great work of Dr. King.”
August 28, 2012, in the gymnasium on the Leicester Campus
September 16, 2011, at Mechanics Hall, Worcester, Mass.