Chamber News

N2 Innovation District / Newton
April 06, 2018 Likes Comments

N-Squared to be incorporated into UMass' plans for Mt Ida campus

Mount Ida College has reached a definitive agreement in principle with the University of Massachusetts that will lead to the establishment of a new UMass campus in Newton focused on the innovation economy, health care, business, computer science and other STEM specialties.

UMass Amherst will acquire the physical assets of the 74-acre Mount Ida campus in the N-Squared Innovation District where it will establish career preparation programs for high-demand fields that serve the Massachusetts innovation economy, the university announced.

UMass also said it was committed to “preserving the character of the idyllic Mount Ida campus and serve as a custodian of its history and legacy.”
The Newton campus will be known as the Mount Ida Campus of UMass Amherst, will operate as an extension of the Amherst campus and will not enroll undergraduate students directly.
“The challenges for small colleges in the current economic and demographic landscape are significant,” said Mount Ida President Barry Brown. “Working with UMass, we have devised a way forward that ensures the well-being of our students, enhances the academic capacity of the region, and preserves Mount Ida’s legacy and history.”
In announcing the agreement UMass, highlighted Mount Ida’s location abutting the N-Squared Innovation District and the tech-focused Route 128 corridor.
“Mt. Ida College has been an important pillar in Newton since 1898 and a member of the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber for more than five decades,” said Chamber President Greg Reibman. “Under the leadership of Barry Brown, Mount Ida was also a key partner in launching and developing the N-Squared Innovation District. We’re grateful for all Mount Ida has meant to Newton and concerned for its current students, faculty and staff. But we're thrilled to learn about UMass’ planned innovation economy focus for the Newton campus."
Last year UMass Amherst awarded 1,700 undergraduate STEM degrees, more than any other college or university in the state. In addition, academic-industry collaborations, which currently account for a growing portion of UMass Amherst’s $220 million annual research and development expenditures, will be initiated at the Mount Ida campus.
“Employers within Newton and Needham that specialize in cyber-security, biotech, robotics, consumer devices, web development, smart cities and other innovative fields would love to have easy access to the talent that UMass helps train.  This is the kind of connection that drives innovation and builds the truly vibrant ecosystem that we are working to establish,” Reibman said.
Mount Ida students in good standing will be offered automatic admission to UMass Dartmouth with a clear path to degree completion. UMass Dartmouth will also facilitate expedited transfer admission opportunities at the Boston, Lowell and Amherst campuses for Mount Ida students.
“This is a strategic move that will expand career opportunities for our students and help drive the Massachusetts economy while strengthening the flagship campus’ position in the competitive national higher education marketplace,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “The Mount Ida campus’ ideal location will help us grow a much needed talent pipeline for Massachusetts businesses, especially in high-demand STEM fields. And since the flagship campus educated more Massachusetts residents last year than the top eight private universities in Massachusetts combined, we are keenly aware of our responsibility to keep Massachusetts at the forefront of innovation and discovery.”
Mount Ida College had explored a merger with Lasell College, but discussions ceased when the Boards could not reach a mutually beneficial agreement. Mount Ida will continue classes through the spring 2018 semester, concluding with the commencement of its graduating seniors.


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