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Board of Trustees Update: February, 2022

Submitted by on February 24, 2022 – 8:45 pm

The February 2 meeting of the NECC Board of Trustees began with a moment of silence in memory of Joseph D’Orazio of Haverhill, who was appointed to the college’s board in 2015 and served until recently. D’Orazio who was a familiar face on campus, was Northern Essex’s “strongest supporter,” said President Lane Glenn. “No one was more compassionate and caring.”


Dean Carolyn Knoepfler and Engineering Professor Doug Leaffer provided the annual report to trustees with updates on the college’s STEM programs.

Knoepfler shared that STEM programs welcomed 170 new students in the fall of 2021 and 50 new students in the spring of 2022, along with a list of enrollments by major:

Biology: 80

Chemistry/Physics/Environmental Science: 24

Lab Science: 22

Computer Information Science: 160

Engineering: 124

The great majority of Northern Essex STEM graduates transfer to UMass Lowell, and Engineering faculty have been strengthening that partnership.

According to Leaffer, Northern Essex now has updated transfer agreements with UMass Lowell in seven engineering disciplines: biomedical, chemical, civil/environmental, computer, electrical, mechanical, and plastics with engineering physics under review.

Faculty within the two institutions are creating opportunities for Northern Essex students to interact with UMass Lowell faculty and students, such as a December visit during which students with an interest in civil engineering toured the UMass Lowell labs and participated in a structural engineering project.

“The goal is to provide a smoother transition for Northern Essex students who are transferring,” said Leaffer.

Report of Board Committees


After hearing about plans for an NECC Giving Day on April 7, Trustee Sally Cerasuolo-O’Rorke quickly pledged $1,000, offering a challenge to other board members.

According to Trustee Pati Fernandez, chair of the Alumni/Advancement Committee, Giving Day is a 24-hour fundraising campaign created to raise funds, both internally and externally, for the NECC Fund, the college’s annual fund, which supports critical areas of the college.

Last year, FY21, $48,831 was raised for the NECC Fund from 368 donors, an increase of nearly $10,000 and 80 donors from the year before. Donations come from direct mail, email, and social media.

This will be the college’s first annual Giving Day.

Equity Imperative Committee

Trustee Marianne Paley-Nadel, chair of the Equity Imperative Committee, reported that the college is getting ready to repost the position for chief officer of justice, equity, diversity and inclusion.

She shared that Northern Essex will renew its focus on English language acquisition with an increased number of ESL courses available to adults this spring and the launch of an English Language Academy in the fall.

Report of Administration

Vaccination Requirement

President Lane Glenn reported on the impact of a statewide vaccine requirement that went into effect in January for students, faculty, and staff.

He estimates that 96 students did not enroll as a result of the requirement and that “a small number of employees” have left the college.

“While any student loss is bad news, we did not experience the doom and gloom that some had predicted,” said Glenn.

College Budget

Governor Baker has released his FY23 budget which includes modest increases across public higher education, said Glenn.

Glenn was pleased to see increased funding for early college and dual enrollment and funding to continue the Student Success initiative which supports Northern Essex’s SOAR Program.

The House will release its budget in April followed by the Senate budget in May.

“If all goes well, budgets will be reconciled in June and ready for July,” he said.