LEICESTER, Mass. — After 225 years in Leicester, Becker College is launching an ongoing anniversary celebration that will culminate with its 225th Commencement ceremony on May 11.
“The theme of this significant milestone in the college’s history. "Celebrating a History of Changing Lives" focuses on all that has made Becker College a significant institution for more than two centuries,” said Becker College President Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D. “We will celebrate our 225th commencement anniversary in numerous ways in the weeks and months ahead.”
Since John Hancock and Samuel Adams signed the charter for Leicester Academy and E.C.A Becker opened Becker’s Business College, Becker College has attained a national reputation.
Leicester Academy was the third preparatory school in Massachusetts, the first in Central Massachusetts and the first in the Commonwealth to accept female students, which the academy did from the very beginning.
Becker’s Business College taught students bookkeeping, penmanship and arithmetic, and also offered the first class in shorthand and typing in Worcester.
The college also served as the launch pad of several program “firsts” — the first major in journalism offered in the East (1937), the first retail merchandising program in Massachusetts (1950) and the first accredited associate degree in science, in veterinary technology, in Massachusetts (1978).
Present-day Becker College continues to garner recognition, and, in 2012, Becker was recognized as “one of the nation’s best undergraduate colleges” by The Princeton Review.
Among the number of projects under way to honor the 225th Commencement Anniversary include a display of artifacts from Becker’s past, in a display case in the newly opened George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Campus Center.
The first exhibit was “Student Life,” and some items of interest include yearbooks, photos, a 19th century course catalog, dance cards, beanies, a letter sweater, a cheerleader skirt and pages from the Leicester Academy 1894 Entrance Examination.
Other historically themed displays will follow throughout the academic year, including one focused on veterans Nov. 5-16 in honor of Veterans Day.