Yesterday our school officially ushered in a new era when it inaugurated Suffolk’s ninth president, James McCarthy. The search for a new president was extensive after the abrupt retirement of David Sargent in 2010, and for a while the horizon was hazy and unclear. In the search, McCarthy not only met all the requirements for the position, he also had experience working on an urban campus and a knack for the future of higher education – something this university was in dire need of.
A transition was sparked in last week’s announcement regarding the school’s shift to move away from Beacon Hill. With McCarthy’s established presence, the school is now in the process of making moves, on the forefront of using today’s technology to its advantage, and providing more space for its student body to reside. We cannot yet imagine the Suffolk University of the future, but the community will definitely be able to have their input considered.
Among other things, Sargent’s last decade was spent attempting to shift the university away from Beacon Hill residents and onto other properties in the downtown area. The Beacon Hill Times states in this week’s article entitled “Suffolk University Made the Right Decision,” “the signing of an agreement three years ago with officials from Suffolk University and The Beacon Hill Civic Association demonstrated the efforts of both parties to coexist relatively peacefully.” Since McCarthy was hired last winter, his fresh outlook has greatly helped propel the school forward and aided in civil relations with the BHCA. His hiring was a wise move.
The migration of the school has picked up speed with the announcement to sell the Fenton and Ridgeway buildings. Both Fenton and Ridgeway are old, with, among other things, outdated computer labs and faulty elevators. Meanwhile, time spent on renovations to Archer and Donahue are a necessity.
The addition of 20 Somerset comes as a great relief after the sale of two heavily used facilities. With the amazing work done on 10 West and the Modern Theater, which has won multiple environmentally friendly awards, this new building will continue Suffolk’s growth as a prominent, innovative Massachusetts’ university on both the exterior and interior.
The only thing that seems to be missing from all of this is the New England School of Art and Design, still located in the same building despite outcry from faculty and students for improvements. With McCarthy’s track record thus far, however, it looks like there may be another great idea coming soon.
In addition to relocation and renovation, Suffolk is going to be in a mix of schools reforming and reorganizing education for the information age. Suffolk will continue to move forward with its “hybrid” classes – courses that mix online class time with a few in-person meetings throughout a semester. It is these types of classes that will prepare students to focus on managing information and communication in a professional world.
We congratulate you, James McCarthy, for making your appointment as our university’s ninth president official. We cannot wait to see what’s in store.