Four days after Clark University announced the establishment of the Becker School of Design & Technology, Worcester civic leaders have come together to applaud the University for its leadership and commit to a partnership to embolden a long-term trajectory for the program, including an investment of a quarter-million dollars in seed funding.
The funding has been provided by a number of Worcester-based foundations, including the Fuller Foundation. According to Clark University President David Fithian, it is a welcome shot in the arm and builds momentum for raising additional funds to create exceptional student experiences, recruit top faculty, and fuel interdisciplinary research across other areas of strength at Clark University.
“Clark is grateful for this early support and for the confidence these Worcester leaders have in the future of the Becker School of Design & Technology,” said Fithian. “This helps us set the Becker School on a solid course for decades to come.”
The collaboration with not-for-profit, private sector, and government partners continues a long tradition of community-based engagement that defines Clark’s connection with the Worcester region.
“The roots of the Fuller Foundation are planted firmly in our Worcester region. It is our mission to support cultural and academic institutions and spur innovation and growth,” said Mark Fuller, chairman and treasurer of the Fuller Foundation. “We cannot understate the significance of keeping Becker College’s internationally recognized programs right here in Worcester, at its new home at Clark University, nor the tremendous opportunity that now exists to take these programs to greater heights. We want to be part of realizing that full potential.”
“The closure of Becker College is a terrible loss for our community, but Clark is proving that no door in Worcester stays closed for long,” said Edward Augustus, Worcester city manager. “Clark’s commitment to establishing the Becker School of Technology & Design is another key element to the continued resurgence of our city. This is the kind of bold effort that is earning Worcester a reputation as a hub for innovative thinking, economic opportunity, and impactful partnerships. We are proud to be partnering with Clark.”
Stanley Pierre-Louis, president and CEO of the Entertainment Software Association (ESA) and Clark University alumnus, noted the significance of nurturing these academic programs and inspiring students to enter the burgeoning fields supported by game design. ESA is the voice and advocate for the video game industry.
“Video games are transforming the way we work, play, and learn. As a Clark alum, it’s great to know that Worcester will continue to serve as an important hub for game design. There are so many ways in which the industry can benefit from a pipeline of smart, talented, and inspired students pursuing careers in the video game arts and sciences. It’s wonderful to see the Worcester business and philanthropic community come together to support this important program.”
John C. Roche, president and CEO of the Hanover Insurance Group, one of the largest employers in Worcester, echoed the significance to the business community. “This is terrific news — for the students who will continue to have a prestigious academic opportunity, for Worcester, and for our regional vitality and growth,” said Roche.
The establishment of the Becker School of Design & Technology at Clark was solidified in a series of agreements with the Becker Board of Trustees, approved on March 28. In addition to endorsing the establishment of a path forward for Becker students, the agreements granted authority for Clark to use the Becker name into perpetuity and laid the groundwork for use of Becker facilities.
The Becker School of Design & Technology at Clark will house Becker College’s internationally ranked program in Interactive Media Design, as well as other well-respected programs in Esports Management and Integrated Graphic Design. According to Becker College Board of Trustees Chair Christine Cassidy, beyond providing a traditional academic pathway for current Becker students, the agreement with Clark went much further by committing so fully to the establishment of the Becker School.
“On behalf of the Becker College Board of Trustees, we thank President Fithian and Clark University for sustaining the Game Design and Interactive Media program and doing so under Becker’s name, and also the Worcester-based foundations for their support. The effect of this move will be increased resources and additional opportunities for our students. That would be extraordinary under any circumstance, but right now — when the future is so uncertain — Clark has done something very special,” said Cassidy.