At Inauguration, President Mark A. Thompson Vows ‘Whatever it Takes’ Approach to Education

October 18, 2019

Three people sitting on a stage

Thompson is flanked by Mike Masterson (left) and Cidhinnia Torres Campos. (Photos by Darlene DeVita)

Wentworth Institute of Technology has inaugurated the fifth president in its 115-year history—the school’s first chief executive from outside of the engineering industry.

In his Oct. 18 inauguration address, Mark A. Thompson, Ph. D., an economist, highlighted four key focus areas for the university and said strategic planning and progress will demand equal participation from all sectors of the Wentworth community.

“You should expect that I will be bold and courageous,” said Thompson. “It is my responsibility and my commitment in my role as president to do whatever it takes to ensure inclusive excellence, to provide high-value learning opportunities, to ensure the highest quality student experience, and to establish mutually beneficial partnerships with industry, community and alumni.” 

Read Thompson’s full inauguration remarks.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh called Wentworth’s preparation programs for Boston Public School students “outstanding,” and said he looks forward to working with Thompson.

“Wentworth’s president plays a major role in our city,” said Walsh. “I will be calling on your help and insight, and we will move forward together—a city united.”

“I know that there is nothing but greatness ahead for Mark. Mark, we are excited for you to lift us up,” said Robert Lewis Jr., a Boston community leader.

“He [Thompson] is a role model; quite the role model I would say,” said Joe Schnackertz, a Wentworth junior majoring in Business Management who represented the student body at the event.

Surrounded by friends and family members, Wentworth students, faculty, staff, alumni, university supporters, and state and city representatives, Thompson delivered a sweeping inauguration address that while tinged with hope and positivity also struck a cautionary tone over challenges facing the university and higher education in general.

“My message today is about the work we must do together to secure Wentworth’s bright future—work that must be done with a sense of what I call optimistic urgency,” he said.

“I stand before you today confident that Wentworth is in a position of strength. We offer the educational programs for which there is strong labor market demand. We are committed to applied learning. We have highly dedicated faculty and staff. And our institutional and community partnerships are strong.

At this point in our history, we must acknowledge, understand and accept the realities of the world in which we live. We are not immune to market forces. What we are is up to the challenge of understanding the issues we face and effectively responding to them. And, I think we should recognize that we are well situated in our ability to make necessary change. Our efforts must be directed toward distinguishing ourselves further by conveying a compelling value proposition.   In this competitive marketplace a clear and distinctive value proposition is imperative. Students and families are asking us, ‘Of all of my choices, why you? Are you worth the investment?  Show me why.’”

At a dinner the night before his inauguration, Thompson announced a $10 million scholarship matching challenge called ASAP—for Advancing Student Access and Potential. With the ASAP challenge, Wentworth aims to increase the amount of permanent financial aid available to students.

Other Wentworth speakers at the inauguration were:  Cidhinnia Torres Campos, director of Institutional Effectiveness; Emma Smith-Zbarsky, chair of the Faculty Senate and assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences; alumna and president of the Wentworth Alumni Association, Carlie Biron; and alumna and University Adviser Rose Conti.

--Dennis Nealon

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