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Wentworth Announces New President; Looks to Build on Momentum

March 11, 2019

Portrait of a man sitting in a chair

Mark A. Thompson (Photo by Kate Kelley)

BOSTON – Wentworth Institute of Technology, a leading STEM, design and management university with a century-long record of educating career-ready professionals, has chosen Mark A. Thompson, Ph.D., as its fifth president.

Thompson, who will start at Wentworth on June 1, has been at Quinnipiac University for two decades, taking on ever-broader responsibilities in a series of key leadership positions. He has been executive vice president and provost at Quinnipiac since July 2013 and was instrumental in establishing new engineering and medical schools there. 

“We engaged in a national search for a transformational leader who understood how to build on Wentworth’s unique strengths and trajectory,” said Michael Masterson, CEO of ALD NanoSolutions Inc. and chair of the school’s board of trustees. “Mark Thompson brings strategic vision, a track record of growth and an open leadership style to this important role.” 

Thompson succeeds President Zorica Pantić, who is stepping down at the end of May after 14 years at the university’s Huntington Avenue campus.  

At Quinnipiac, Thompson oversaw academic affairs, student affairs, athletics/recreation, information technology, public safety and most recently admissions and financial aid. During that time, Quinnipiac grew in enrollment, stature and impact.   

“Wentworth is highly relevant in today’s world because of the degrees it offers, its active learning approach, and its close working partnerships with industry and neighborhoods in the City of Boston,” said Thompson. “We have the opportunity to do groundbreaking work in providing one of the country’s most-sought-after learning experiences.” 

Thompson, 56, said he was drawn to Wentworth by its unusually strong ties to the business community, which include offering students two mandatory co-op experiences. The experiential learning model offered by Wentworth combined with the mandatory co-op experiences results in 98 percent of students being employed or pursuing graduate school six months after graduation. Wentworth also has developed national workforce pipeline models in conjunction with Boston Public Schools, and is training leaders in the STEM, design and management arenas who will be in demand for the renewal of the country’s aged infrastructure. 

Greg Janey, president and CEO of Janey Construction Management and Wentworth alumnus and trustee, chaired the Presidential Search Committee. According to Janey, Thompson’s appointment was the result of a “shared governance” process, driven by a 15-member search committee representing a cross-section of the Wentworth community with a student, faculty, staff, alumni and board members all participating. The community engaged in the process through its recommendation of appointees to the search committee, by providing broad input in the development of a position profile, and through 14 listening sessions and the gathering of input from 476 survey participants. The search committee unanimously recommended Thompson to the Board of Trustees, which voted unanimously to select him. 

Masterson said Thompson is taking over amid a sustained “upward trajectory” at Wentworth, which was founded in 1904 with a simple vision to be a quality vocational tech school for “serious minded” young men. But after welcoming its first students in 1911, Wentworth grew steadily over the years, and began enrolling women and offering bachelor’s degrees in the early 1970s. 

Today, it is a nationally ranked university with four colleges that attracts students from around the world. Wentworth graduates about 1,000 bachelor’s and master’s degree recipients each year and has more than 38,000 alumni from 76 countries. 

Most of its roughly 4,500 students are enrolled in 19 bachelor’s degree programs from biomedical engineering, architecture, computer science and networking, to applied mathematics, business management, construction management, and design. The school has just added majors in cybersecurity and applied sciences.  

Recent achievements at the university include the January 2019 opening of a $55-million Center for Engineering, Innovation and Sciences; attainment of official “university” status in 2017; the introduction of six new engineering programs: biomedical, biological, civil, computer, electrical, mechanical, and interdisciplinary; and new graduate programs in architecture, applied computer science, facilities management, construction management, project management, technology management, civil engineering, and technology management.  

The number of applications to Wentworth increased 23 percent from 2009 to 2018, and the institute has posted consistently strong enrollments. At a time when some colleges and universities are struggling with financial pressure, Wentworth recently marked its 21st consecutive year of operating in the black. 

In college guide rankings, Wentworth is regularly highlighted for its return on investment because the median starting salary for its graduates is $60,000.  
 

More about Mark A. Thompson 
Thompson has a bachelor’s degree in economics-finance from Bentley University, an M.B.A. from Western New England University, and Ph.D. in economics from Georgia State University.   

Before joining Quinnipiac in 1998 as associate dean of the school of business, he was director of the Center for Business and Economic Research and assistant professor of economics in the Elizabeth McDowell Lewis College of Business at Marshall University in Huntington, W.Va. 

His expertise includes urban and regional economics and economic development. He has worked in regional economic development with many private and public constituents and, as part of those efforts, has completed more than 100 technical reports, ranging from economic impact assessments and strategic plans, to feasibility studies and business plans. 

His academic research includes studies of the consequences of residential housing segregation, issues related to labor market discrimination and assessing the impact of intellectual property rights on economic growth rates of developing countries. His research appears in academic journals that include Economic Development Quarterly, Journal of Economic Development, Journal of Enterprising Culture and Journal of Economics and Finance. 

Thompson has also written a book chapter under a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation and has made numerous conference presentations. 

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