A Message from President Toni Hays

The university's plan for financial growth.

The words “small liberal arts college” used to conjure images of a bucolic campus where students immersed themselves in the great books. Then, studying the liberal arts sadly became equated with wasting time and money. Now, the institutions themselves are under scrutiny and painted with one broad brush as struggling.

It is undeniable that colleges and universities of all sizes face a variety of challenges. However, each institution is unique in terms of our offerings and economic strength. It is simply inaccurate to lump us into one failing category.

In New England, you do not have to look far to see examples of relatively small colleges and universities thriving as a result of strong enrollments, generous philanthropy, excellent programs and financial diversification. Nor do you have to look far for the students and graduates whose lives are enriched by the education, leadership opportunities and extensive support they received at those institutions.

Regis College is growing. We recently welcomed the largest undergraduate class in our history thanks to the university’s new dental hygiene program. Our revenue streams are diversified and not solely dependent on undergraduate enrollment. Two thirds of our students are enrolled in on-campus and online graduate programs. We know that our broad offerings are essential to our long-term financial growth.

Our success is largely attributable to our highly regarded Young School of Nursing. It was just named one of the top 10 schools of nursing in New England by the Nursing Schools Almanac. We work hard to ensure our programs align with industry needs. In fact, the Regis team just hosted a meeting in Boston with leaders from area hospitals to learn how our health data degrees can produce career-ready graduates for the region’s thriving health care industry.

Our students at all levels love the close-knit environment only possible at a university where professors know their students not only by name, but are closely involved in guiding their academic and career development. Our small cohorts allow busy professionals to support and encourage each other through rigorous masters and doctoral programs. Our championship Division III athletic program supports 20 teams and creates opportunities for students to challenge themselves physically and become leaders.

Our graduates have gone on to have a major impact on the world. They have served as U.S. ambassadors, actors and authors, judges, journalists, and leaders in non-profits, health care, major coporations as well as teachers and lawyers. Their characters are forever shaped by the core values of our founders, the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Boston. Those brave women founded this institution in 1927 to create opportunities for the underserved.

Today Regis lives out that mission by serving traditionally underrepresented populations, including many first-generation students. We generously fund financial aid to make a degree affordable without saddling graduates with enormous debt. We know it’s a worthy investment because 97 percent of our undergraduate students are employed or in graduate school six months after graduation.

So despite the headlines, don’t count us out. Regis and many of our peers are far from “struggling liberal arts colleges” on the brink of closure. Our smaller institutions provide educational opportunities that are vital to the New England economy and have global impacts. Our campuses may be small, but our ambitions and outcomes are not.