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Becker College

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Becker College

Becker College
Established 1784
Type Private
President Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D.
Undergraduates 2,021
Location Worcester and Leicester, Massachusetts
Campus Urban and Classic New England
Colors Blue[1]
Athletics Hawks (8 men's teams/ 9 women's teams)
Becker College, Leicester Campus Center.
Becker College, Worcester Campus Quad

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. The college offers more than 40 undergraduate degree programs[2] "Departments & Programs"] including nursing programs, a veterinary science program, and video game design and development programs. The college’s fall 2014 enrollment was 2,021. Becker College has more than 21,000 alumni.[3]

On May 28, 2015, in Dhaka, Bangladesh, Becker College signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus to establish the Yunus Social Business Centre @ Becker College. The Centre is established in partnership with the Seven Hills Foundation. According to Yunus Centre and Grameen Healthcare Trust Executive Director Lamiya Morshed, Becker is one of a handful of higher education institutions in the world—and the first in the United States—to establish an officially sanctioned Yunus Social Business Centre. The College’s Centre will focus on identifying real-world social problems, creating innovative, self-sustaining solutions to transform lives and communities.[4]

In April 2011, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts designated Becker as the home of the Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI).[5] The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) is a statewide center, designated by the Commonwealth, for academic cooperation, entrepreneurship, and economic development across the Massachusetts digital and video games ecosystem.


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 was home to Leicester Academy, founded 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 Phillips Academy at Andover in 1780.

Samuel C. Crafts, son of the founder, Ephraim Allen of Sturbridge and Samuel Swan of Leicester were members of the inaugural class. All three later graduated from Harvard College.

The Leicester Academy became defunct in 1917.


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.

Campus Mergers

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 2,021 students from more than 35 states and 15 countries and offers more than 40 bachelor degree programs, including an online bachelor's degree in business administration, as well as a variety of adult learning options. In 2014, the college launched its first master's degree, a master of arts in mental health counseling.


  • 1784............Leicester Academy founded
  • 1784............June 7, becoming the first nonsectarian academy in New England to accept female students.
  • 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.
  • 1788............Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin, graduated.
  • 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," graduated.
  • 1840............Elizabeth Holmes joined the Academy faculty
  • 1844............The first known female international student, Susan A. King of Barnston, Canada, enrolls at Leicester Academy.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 received approval from the state to become Becker College on July 17, 1990
  • 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.
  • 1999............Dr. Hunter “Patch” Adams presents “Medicine for Fun, Not Funds” on March 1 in the Presidential Speaker Series.
  • 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”
  • 2014............Becker College launches its first fully online degree program, a bachelor of science in business administration
  • 2014............Becker College launches its first master's degree program, a master of arts in mental health counseling
  • 2014............The Princeton Review ranks the Becker College undergraduate Video Game Design program among the top 15 nationally.
  • 2014............The Princeton Review includes Becker College as one of the 379 best colleges in the 2014 edition of its annual college guide, “The Best 379 Colleges”
  • 2014............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.
  • 2014............The Center for Accelerated & Professional Studies launches an online business degree program and online programs in project management, and terrorism studies.
  • 2014............The college becomes one of 19 charter members of the Higher Education Video Game Alliance (HEVGA).
  • 2014............Becker College is approved as an educational member of the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).
  • 2014............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.
  • 2014............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.
  • 2014............The College launches its first master’s degree program, in mental health counseling.
  • 2014............Becker College announces the addition of a Women's Ice Hockey Program.[6]
  • 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 Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
  • 2015............Women’s ice hockey is added to the College’s varsity sports program.
  • 2015............Becker College posts a record enrollment, with 2,021 students—the largest in the College’s history.
  • 2015............Becker College graduates 442 members of the Class of 2015-the largest graduating class in the College's history.
  • 2015............Becker College is ranked #9 in the world for its game design program by The Princeton Review.[7]
  • 2015............Becker College is featured in the Princeton Review's The Best 380 Colleges 2016 Edition.[8]


Becker offers more than 40 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, and launched its first graduate program in 2014, a master of arts in mental health counseling. All programs are fully accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). [9]

In 2014, 97% of Becker nursing students passed their Registered Nurses examination.[10]

The game design program at Becker has been recognized on The Princeton Review's list of top undergraduate schools to study game design from 2010 to 2015. In 2015, the program was ranked at number nine.[11]

Massachusetts Digital Games Institute

The Massachusetts Digital Games Institute (MassDiGI) is a state-wide center, designated by the Commonwealth, for academic cooperation, entrepreneurship and economic development across the Massachusetts digital and video games ecosystem. Established in 2011 and based at Becker College, MassDiGI is the result of creative collaboration among academia, industry and government, aimed at fostering the growth of the game industry and innovation economy.[12]


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.[13] 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, and Bullock 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 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.

Becker has two campus libraries with a combined collection of 73,467 cataloged items as well as periodicals and newspapers

Equestrian Center

Becker College offers equine academic programs, a competitive equestrian team for Becker College students, boarding, and lessons for the public at the Becker College Equestrian Center, located in Paxton, Mass.

Student life

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, 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.

Social responsibility

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.[14] 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.

Creative expression

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 17 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). The Women's Ice Hockey Team, which was introduced in the fall of 2014, and will compete in the 2015 season is a member of the ECAC North Atlantic.

Notable alumni

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".


  1. ^
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "About Becker" URL accessed on May 25, 2011
  4. ^ "Becker College to open first Yunus Social Business Centre in U.S." URL accessed on May 29, 2015
  5. ^ [2]
  6. ^ "Becker To Add Women's Ice Hockey In 2015", URL accessed on September 25, 2015.
  7. ^ "The Princeton Review Ranks Top 25 Undergrad & Grad Schools to Study Game Design For 2015", URL accessed on May 20, 2015.
  8. ^ "Becker College is featured in the Princeton Review's Best 380 Colleges 2016 Edition", URL accessed on September 25, 2105.
  9. ^ [3] URL accessed August 2014
  10. ^ "2014 Performance Summary for Massachusetts Nursing Education Programs","Division of Health Professions Licensure within the Department of Public Health", URL accessed on May 20, 2015.
  11. ^ "The Princeton Review Ranks Top 25 Undergrad & Grad Schools to Study Game Design For 2015", URL accessed on May 20, 2015.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past" URL accessed May 25, 2011
  14. ^ "Becker College scores budget victory — and Rep. McGovern" URL accessed on May 25, 2011

External links

  • Becker College
  • Becker College Athletics
  • Colleges of Worcester Consortium (COWC)

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