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Higher Ed Options Grow in Lawrence

Submitted by on December 12, 2013 – 3:57 pm


Left to right: Heather Hewitt, Suffolk University, Lane Glenn, NECC, Sal Lupoli, Lupoli Companies, and Kristin Poppo, Cambridge College

Educators, business leaders, and representatives from the community gathered at Riverwalk on Wednesday, Dec. 11 to celebrate a new higher education partnership in the city of Lawrence.

Northern Essex Community College, Cambridge College, and Suffolk University’s MBA Program are now co-located, sharing space in a renovated mill building.

“Local residents now have access to a wide range of higher education opportunities including certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and master’s degrees in fields such as education,  human services, and business,” said Northern Essex President Lane Glenn.  “In addition to serving Lawrence residents, this new partnership brings hundreds of people into the city from surrounding communities.”

Northern Essex began offering courses at NECC Riverwalk in the fall of 2010.  The Riverwalk site is home to its Corporate and Community Education Center and features 20 classrooms, five computer training rooms, a conference room, and staff offices.

Suffolk University moved the North Campus of its MBA program, which serves the Merrimack Valley, to the site three years ago, and the transition has been “wonderful”, according to Heather Hewitt, assistant dean, graduate programs, Suffolk University.  “We have state of the art technology, free parking, and access to the highway and public transportation.”

Cambridge College, which came to Lawrence 10 years ago and was the first college to offer a bachelor’s degree in the city, moved to Riverwalk earlier this fall.  Dr. Kristin Poppo, associate provost of Cambridge College, said the college is closely aligning their programs with the needs of the community.  “Our graduates are filling community needs.”  Cambridge is offering bachelor and master’s degree programs at the Riverwalk location.

Salvatore Lupoli owner of Riverwalk Properties shared his 15-year vision for Riverwalk which was formed in 2003 when he first saw the rundown mill space and decided to purchase it.  At that time, he envisioned creating five clusters at Riverwalk—education, energy, finance, medical, and entrepreneurship—and that vision has now been realized.  In 10 years, the Riverwalk has expanded from 300,000 square feet of developed space to 2.4 million square feet.

Lupoli shared his favorite quote which is “it’s impossible until we make it a reality” and also how education has led to his business success, citing his business degree from Northeastern University and his graduate degree from MIT’s Sloan School of Management.

“Lawrence is becoming a college-town,” said Glenn, who shared the college’s plans for expansion in the city.

In addition to NECC Riverwalk, Northern Essex currently has the Dimitry Building on Franklin St; the Louise Haffner Fournier Education Center on Amesbury St; and iHealth@NECC on Franklin St.  This spring, 420 Common St., which will feature a community bookstore and café as well as college classrooms, and the El Hefni Allied Health & Technology Center, also on Common St., will be opened.

The program included remarks by representatives from each of the three colleges, Sal Lupoli, and Joe Bevilacqua, president of the Greater Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on NECC Riverwalk, contact George Moriarty, NECC’s executive director of workforce development, or 978-659-1224.