Our Priorities
Student Scholarships
Academic Development
Capital Projects & Equipment
Mission Support
WSU & You!

Priority 1

Student Scholarships

Since our founding in 1874, WSU has been known as an institution that changes lives. From our earliest years as a teacher training school to our present stature as a nationally recognized liberal arts and sciences university, WSU has worked to improve the world through the power of education. Here, our students acquire the knowledge and skills they need for rewarding careers and effective citizenship. Our graduates go on to advance the greater good at home and around the globe.

All of this is meaningless, however, if students can’t come to WSU in the first place. That’s why expanding scholarships in all forms is one of the major priorities of Change Lives.

A college education is an investment in the future for students, families, and society at large. Recent years, however, have witnessed growing financial pressure: the cost of a college education is increasing, while state support for public universities like Worcester State is decreasing. Families worry that college is beyond their means.

Through this campaign, we aim to increase endowment for scholarships to give more talented students the opportunity to come to WSU. We want to provide grants to help students purchase textbooks — an expense that can run nearly $1,000 per semester. With our increasing emphasis on global education, we also want to be able to support students in their choice to study abroad. In addition, we seek to bolster emergency funds to assist students experiencing financial crises that threaten to interrupt their education, whether it’s car trouble or housing difficulties.

Our students are hard working. The majority are the first in their families to attend college. Almost all students work at least one job; many take on a second or third to make ends meet. Statistics show that more than 85 percent of these graduates will remain right here in Worcester County — as the backbone of the workforce and key contributors to the local economy.

Your gift to scholarships is one of the most direct ways of helping students achieve their dreams, and, of course, change their lives.

Abigail Chmielecki '12 Student, Suffolk University Law School

Thanks to the Worcester State Foundation, I received the Dr. Robert M. Spector Endowed Scholarship — additional financial support I needed to succeed. Thanks to Mrs. Spector, I could pursue my dreams. I give back now so others can have the same rewarding experiences I did.

Scholarships: $5 million


Priority 2

Academic Development

Worcester State University’s Strategic Plan 2015-2019 sets some ambitious academic goals. By the year 2020, the plan envisions WSU will be more widely recognized as an educational innovator. Academic programs will creatively integrate classroom learning with real-world experiential learning, and these programs will be responsive to the identified priorities of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the evolving needs of a complex global community. As a public university grounded in the liberal arts tradition, WSU will prepare well-rounded, culturally sensitive, and socially conscious critical thinkers and problem solvers who are well prepared for their chosen professions or advanced study.

Change Lives will advance these lofty ambitions in two concrete ways: by investing in student academic programs and faculty professional development.

Change Students

Our charge from the Commonwealth is to produce work-force-ready graduates. Through this campaign, we seek like-minded alumni and friends to support two high-impact learning experiences that do just that: internships and research. Internships are invaluable because they expose students to different work settings and jobs. Because the majority of WSU students already work, many are unable to fit in unpaid internships. Through this campaign, we will provide stipends that will allow more students to take advantage of these learning opportunities.

We also want to increase funds for student research. As WSU attracts more faculty with research interests in everything from anthropology to zoology, more opportunity exists to involve students in independent and related scholarship. Research stipends can provide the support that young scholars need to pursue these projects.

Change Faculty

WSU boasts a large number of new faculty members who have come to Worcester State specifically because they want to teach undergraduates and engage in research. Through this campaign, we aim to bolster these efforts by endowing funds faculty will use to strengthen teaching and learning. Faculty could apply for grants, for example, to develop new interdisciplinary courses, advance their research, or participate in international programs to increase their global literacy. This investment, of course, will come back to benefit students through enriched coursework and additional research opportunities.

Sebastián Vélez Ph.D., Biology

A Foundation grant allowed me to travel to Tasmania to collect specimens for my research on arachnids. Now, three students are working with me on sequencing their DNA and in identifying new species.

Academic Development: $5 million


Priority 3

Capital Projects & Equipment

Care for the “place” of WSU figures prominently in the Strategic Plan 2015-2019. Initiatives in this priority include:

Ghosh Science & Technology Building

Interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) is growing and a key driver in the region’s economy. To keep WSU’s STEM programs competitive, we must invest in new laboratories for biology and chemistry, providing the latest equipment and technology. The campaign will also furnish an upgraded simulation lab for nursing, allowing students to train on high-tech mannequins programmed to respond to their interventions.

Wellness Center

Already under construction, this 101,000-square-foot space will become WSU’s headquarters for health and wellness. The University’s athletic programs will gain regulation competition and practice courts in addition to spacious locker rooms. Faculty, staff, and students will enjoy the workout and fitness facilities, including a suspended track and multipurpose rooms for group classes. Studies show that wellness centers contribute to vibrant campus life and improve retention and graduation rates.

Temple Emanuel Building

WSU is in the process of purchasing the former Temple Emanuel building on May Street — adjacent space that is crucial for our land-locked campus. Campaign support will help fund the property’s purchase, a feasibility study for its optimal use, and the necessary renovations.

Student Center

Campaign support will help transform the existing Student Center into a vibrant hub of student life. The renovated facility will include offices and meeting space for student clubs along with University offices, from the Office of Student Involvement and Leadership Development to the Honorable John J. Binienda Center for Civic Engagement. A late-night café, commuter café, and multiple informal gathering spots will make this an ideal spot to meet up, hang out, or study.

Worcester Center for Crafts

The Worcester Center for Crafts (WCC) became part of the University through an alliance with the Worcester State Foundation six years ago. This unique partnership ensures this vital and historic cultural center remains vibrant and community oriented while providing crucial studio space for WSU’s Visual and Performing Arts Department. Campaign support for WCC will construct a glass-blowing studio at the Sagamore Road facility, bringing all of the WCC’s community programs under one roof.

Bryan Narcisse ’15 Health Education Major; Defensive Player, Lancers’ Football, NCAA DIII All American

The new Wellness Center will be great for student-athletes and all students who want to stay active. When you see that construction along with the new dorms and dining hall, it says great things about WSU and where it’s headed.

Capital Projects and Equipment: $3 million


Priority 4

Mission Support

The Worcester State Fund — indeed, the whole Worcester State Foundation — exists for one reason: to support the mission of WSU. The Worcester State Fund is comprised of money raised annually through generous gifts from alumni, parents, and friends and goes from the Foundation straight to work to enhance teaching and learning.

What difference do annual gifts make? It’s hard to overstate. The Worcester State Fund allows the Foundation to be nimble in responding to unexpected opportunities, unforeseen needs, and changing circumstances for the University. This flexibility is particularly critical at public institutions, where state support fluctuates year to year.

Consider that last year, gifts to the Worcester State Fund:

  • Provided stipends for students to pursue independent scholarly projects through our Student Research and Creativity Grant Program.
  • Assisted dozens of students in attending and presenting their work at national scholarly and professional conferences, augmenting their academic and professional resumes.
  • Helped to meet the University’s physical plant, property, and equipment needs. For example, the Worcester State Fund secured a lease for much-needed additional classroom, office, and auditorium space at the Temple Emanuel building prior to the property’s purchase.
  • Furthered the innovative work of WSU programs such as the Latino Education Institute, which works to narrow  the achievement gap among Latino students in area public schools.
  • Enabled faculty to partake in international professional development in countries from Botswana to Ireland.

The Worcester Fund does all of this and much more — supporting high-profile initiatives, such as the ones outlined above, as well as helping to deliver everyday needs such as computers, technology, and scientific equipment. Through the campaign, we want to build this annual form of support to strengthen our commitment to students and faculty as well as their innovative teaching and learning.

Brittany Rheault ’07 Sports Coordinator, United Social Sports, Washington, D.C.

By immersing myself in everything Worcester State offered, I was able to challenge myself in many different respects. I absolutely wouldn’t be where I am today without my Worcester State experience and all it gave to me.


Priority 5

WSU & You!
Worcester State University changes lives. We hear this all the time from alumni, of all ages, and from current students. In preparation for this campaign, we spoke with both groups and also heard many inspiring and moving stories. We heard about being the first in their extended family to go to college — and how that ended up improving circumstances for their entire family. We heard about early mornings and late nights, working multiple jobs, and balancing paying tuition with completing coursework. We heard about faculty members going the extra mile to make sure students succeed.

Alumni and students talked about meeting with faculty members for extra help at all hours, whether it was for an upcoming test, to review a paper, or to get advice on internships and careers. We heard stories of staying in touch with these faculty members — as well as staff members who had taken a personal interest in them and made a significant difference in their lives.

These combined stories tell the narrative of Worcester State University. Though the University has grown and changed over the years, at heart it remains the same. The WSU experience transforms students, setting them on a path for future success. Often, alumni tell us, they don’t realize Worcester State’s full impact until years later.

Now, we want to hear from you. Tell us how Worcester State University changed your life or how your WSU education inspired you to change the lives of others. You can use the space on these pages and mail it to us at Change Lives, Worcester State Foundation, 486 Chandler Street, Worcester, MA 01602 — or you can email it to us at changelives@worcester.edu

We look forward to hearing your story.


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Campaign Momentum

Funding Progress

WSU Giving Societies