Becker College

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] including nursing programs, a veterinary science program, and video game design and development programs. The college's 2016-17 enrollment was 1,892. Becker College has more than 21,000 alumni.[3]

Becker College
PresidentNancy Papagno Crimmin
Administrative staff
Worcester and Leicester, Massachusetts
CampusUrban and Classic New England
AthleticsHawks (8 men's teams/ 9 women's teams)
AffiliationsAAC&U, NAICU, NEASC, AICUM, CCC, ECFC, Commonwealth Coast Conference, NEWLA, HECCMA, HEVGA, IACBE


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 founded in post-independence Massachusetts, after the founding of Governor Dummer Academy at Byfield in 1782 and of 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. According to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, Leicester Academy existed until 1952, when it became Leicester Junior College.[4]


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.

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.

In 2014, the college launched its first master's degree, a master of arts in mental health counseling. The following year, the college signed a memorandum of understanding 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 and will focus on identifying real-world social problems and creating innovative, self-sustaining solutions to transform lives and communities.[6]

In May 2017, Becker College welcomed its 11th president, Dr. Nancy P. Crimmin at a salary of $534,000.[7][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 419 faculty and staff, representing a 17:1 student/faculty ratio. The college offers Bachelor, Associate, and Accelerated Degree Programs, in 2014 Becker College launched a master of arts in mental health counseling and in 2016 launched a master of science in nursing. All programs are fully accredited through the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC). [9]

In 2016, 100% 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 2016. In 2016, the program was ranked at number five.[11]

Massachusetts Digital Games Institute

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. 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 Ralph Waldo Emerson, William Lloyd Garrison, Booker T. Washington, George Hoar, May's brother-in-law, 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, Massachusetts.

Lenfest Animal Health Center

A teaching facility which includes a veterinary clinic that can see clients for wellness care and non-urgent medical and surgical care for dogs, cats, other small mammals, and birds, located on the Leicester campus.

John J. Dorsey Sr. Crime Scene Lab

A teaching facility that gives students the opportunity to assess a crime scene, in terms of understanding the nature of physical evidence, located on the Worcester campus.

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: Becker Archery Club, Becker College Cosplay Club, Becker College Dance Club, Becker College Drama Club, Becker College Livestock Club, Becker College Magic: The Gathering Club, Becker College Ultimate Frisbee, Becker Gaming Tournaments, Becker Music Club, Becker P.R.I.D.E. (People Respecting Identity Difference of Everyone), Becker College Hillel, Business Club, Campus Activities Board, Graphic Design Club, Hawk Helpers, International Game Developer Association (IGDA), Japanese Society Club, Marine Wildlife Conversation Club, National Student Nurses Association, Out of the Blue- Improv Club, Pre-Veterinary Club, Student Governance Advisory Board, We are Global, Young Americans for Liberty.

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 National Collegiate Athletic Association (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 an associate member of the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC). 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, is a member of Eastern College Athletic Conference Northeast (ECAC).

Notable alumni


  1. "Becker College Visual Identity System" (PDF). Becker College. Retrieved September 26, 2014.
  2. "Departments & Programs | Becker College". 2015-11-24. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
  3. "About Becker" URL accessed on May 25, 2011.
  4. "Closed Institution". Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  5. "About". MassDiGI. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
  6. "Becker College to open first Yunus Social Business Centre in U.S." URL accessed on May 29, 2015.
  7. Krantz, Laura (2018-08-29). "At many small colleges, administrative spending is surging". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-08-29. The president of Becker, for example, made $534,000 in the most recent data available.
  8. O’Connell, Scott (2017-11-12). "New Becker president leads development of strategic plan for college". Telegram & Gazette. Retrieved 2018-08-29.
  9. 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. "Massachusetts Digital Games Institute". MassDiGI. Retrieved 2016-05-19.
  13. "Worcester,Mass – Places of the Past" URL accessed May 25, 2011.

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