• Academic Convocation

    Welcome New Students!

    Watch the Ceremony

    What is Convocation?

    Worcester State University’s Academic Convocation officially welcomes new students into our academic community and fosters a sense of belonging. Convocation is literally a “calling together” of all new students. It is a formal academic ceremony that, together with Commencement, will serve as bookends to your time here at Worcester State. Convocation serves to officially welcome you to the academic core of your university experience. We hope that this event will serve as an opportunity to gain an appreciation for the university’s values and traditions.

    Convocation is also designed to inspire your commitment to excellence within an academic community of students, faculty, and staff. You will be introduced at this time to some of the many individuals here to support your learning and intellectual development.


    During the ceremony, a number of guests will be invited to speak. They include:

  • Dr. Lois Wims, Ph.D, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

    Lois Wims is the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs for Worcester State University and a Trustee of Trinity Washington University. She has previously served as the Dean of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences for CCRI, its largest division in the largest community college in New England. She previously served as a Dean at Mercy College and as an Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of South Alabama. She has been in higher education for over 30 years and has been a tenured faculty member, senate president, department chair, and an American Council on Education Fellow. She holds the Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Rhode Island, a Master’s in Criminal Justice from Salve Regina University and a Bachelor’s summa cum laude from Bryant College. She received the American Council on Education Fellowship in 96-97. Dr. Wims was appointed by then Governor Lincoln Almond as Executive Director of the RI Select Commission on Race and Police and Community Relations in 2000, serving for two years investigating and making recommendations in the aftermath of a tragic death by friendly fire on the Providence Police Department. Dr. Wims has received awards from Common Cause and was named a Local Hero by the Providence Phoenix, and began her career as the first and only female police officer with the Central Falls (RI) Police.

    Barry Maloney, President

    Barry M. Maloney, Worcester State University’s 11th president, has served in this role since 2011. His straightforward charge—to put students first—means providing them an excellent education at an affordable price in a vibrant campus environment, while offering real-world experiences that prepare them to change the way the world works.

    Under President Maloney, Worcester State University has increased its full-time faculty and student enrollment; significantly improved graduation rates; exceeded annual fundraising targets; increased grant support; and expanded student engagement, community-based learning, and student-exchange and study-away opportunities.

    Knowing that academic success correlates with deeper connections to the campus, Maloney ensured that construction of a new residence hall and Wellness Center moved forward. The 150,000-square-foot Sheehan Hall opened in 2014, adding 400 beds and bringing Worcester State's undergraduate residential population to about 40%—roughly double what it was in 2000. When the new $52.6 million, 101,000-square-foot Wellness Center opened in September 2016, it completed a 10-year, $200 million dollar investment in new and renovated facilities that have transformed the campus.

    The Princeton Review has named Worcester State University a “Best in the Northeast” university for the 14th consecutive year and one of 2014's 75 Best Value public universities in the country—one of only two in Massachusetts. Worcester State University recently earned a full 10-year reaccreditation by the New England Commission on Higher Education, Inc. (NECHE), formerly the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC); launched new academic programs; was named to the President’s Honor Roll for Community Service; and was noted as one of the nation's most “environmentally responsible” campuses.

    In 2013, Maloney was appointed to the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Committee on Women’s Athletics—one of only four Division III representatives from across the country on the committee, which is charged with increasing opportunity, participation, and promotion of female student-athletes.

    Maloney also serves as chair of the nine Massachusetts State Universities coordinating body, the Council of Presidents. He sits on the boards of directors for the Worcester Regional Research Bureau, the Worcester Business Development Corporation, and the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts (formerly the Colleges of Worcester Consortium). He also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Wilbraham & Monson Academy and Spectrum Health Systems.

    Prior to joining Worcester State University, Maloney served for nearly 20 years at Westfield State University in a variety of positions, including twice as interim president and as vice president of Student Affairs and vice president of Advancement, and College Relations.

    A native of Springfield, Massachusetts, Maloney graduated from the University of Maine at Orono with a bachelor’s degree in political science and public management, and a master’s degree in public administration. Maloney is also a 2007 graduate of the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard Graduate School of Education.

    During his college years, Maloney worked as an aide for public officials, including former Springfield Mayor (now U.S. Representative) Richard E. Neal. Maloney has served as a member of the board of the Westfield Boys and Girls Club and as a member of the Amelia Park Children’s Museum and the Westfield Chapter of the American Red Cross. He also served as a water commissioner for the City of Westfield and coached youth basketball.

    Maloney, his wife Laura, and their three children reside across the street from the university and are active in neighborhood, athletics and university events. Maloney is the product of public education, and his family is devoted to public education. His mother was an elementary school teacher; his father a school administrator. Laura served on the School Committee in Westfield and is a graduate of Westfield State University, as is Maloney’s father.

    Elizabeth Bitar '11, Alumni Association's Advisory Board President

    As an associate at Morse Law in the Firm’s Corporate Practice Group, Liz focuses her practice on both buy-side and sell-side Mergers & Acquisitions, Venture Capital Investments, equity and convertible note financings for startup and emerging growth companies, and general corporate matters. She represents businesses of all sizes throughout the full spectrum of business life-cycle stages from formation to exit.

    Liz also serves as outside general counsel to clients, providing them with advice on a broad spectrum of matters, such as founder equity, financings, and corporate governance issues. She has worked with clients in a wide- range of industries including life sciences, consumer products, software, and technology. Liz is passionate about the work her clients do, and enjoys learning about their businesses and helping them with their legal business needs. Liz is currently a member of the Firm’s Mergers & Acquisition Practice Group and Venture Capital Task Force.

    Prior to Morse, Liz worked in Northeastern Law’s Community Business Clinic, where she successfully represented small business startups and advised them on formation of entity and general business matters, and drafted their related startup documents. She also volunteered with the Startup Coalition in Boston, where she assisted with pitch review sessions for startup businesses, and panel networking sessions among entrepreneurs, startup and emerging growth companies, and venture capitalist investors. Liz served as a law clerk for the Honorable Chief Justice Patti B. Saris of the U.S. District Court. She was a member of the Law Review, and the chair of the executive board of the Women’s Law Caucus.

    Liz is an active member of her local community and serves as President of Worcester State University’s Alumni Association’s Advisory Board, and as a director on Worcester State’s Foundation Board.

    Jaymi-Lyn Souza '21, SGA President

    Jaymi Souza is a senior History and Political Science student with minors in Pre Law and Computer Science. In addition to being SGA President, she is a member of Worcester State’s Dance Company and previously served two years as The Student Senate Chair.

    Dr. Jennifer Hood-DeGrenier, Ph.D, Associate Professor, Department of Biology

    Dr. Jennifer Hood-DeGrenier is a Professor in the Biology Department and the Chair of the Pre-Medical Advisory Committee. She earned her undergraduate degree in Chemistry from Williams College and a PhD in Biochemistry & Molecular Pharmacology from Harvard University. She conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California, San Francisco and was an Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences at Wellesley College for 10 years before joining the Worcester State Biology Department in 2012. Her research focuses on cell division and cancer cell biology.

  • Meet Your Deans

  • Dr. Linda S. Larrivee, Ph.D, Dean of the School of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences

    Welcome to Worcester State University. I am Dr. Linda S. Larrivee, Dean of the School of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences. My office is in the Science and Technology Building, room ST 101. I oversee ten academic departments including: Biology and Biotechnology; Chemistry; Communication Sciences and Disorders; Earth, Environment, and Physics; Education; Health Sciences; Mathematics; Nursing; and Occupational Therapy. These 10 departments encompass 23 undergraduate programs and 15 graduate programs. I also oversee five centers including the Center for Interdisciplinary Health Studies and Practice, the Center for PreK-12 Initiatives in Education, the Math Center, the Worcester State Speech-Language-Hearing Center, and the Center for STEM Research and Education as well as the Worcester State online journal Currents in Teaching and Learning.

    Faculty and staff members of Worcester State University’s School of Education, Health, and Natural Science work to engage students in learning so they may become successful and conscientious citizens of the world. Through teaching, scholarship, and research, students learn theoretical and practical knowledge, while gaining a passion for critical analysis and a desire for continuous learning. Faculty members in the Worcester State School of Education, Health, and Natural Sciences have expertise in such areas as STEM education, elementary and secondary education, fundamental and applied science, technology, and health and health studies. Students can gain experience outside of the classroom by working with faculty members on research in the faculty members’ labs, internship experiences, and practicum experiences. Students can showcase their research work in Worcester State's Celebration of Scholarship and Creativity or by participating with faulty members in local, state, or national conferences.

    Dr. Russ Pottle, Ph.D, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences

    Welcome to Worcester State University. I am Dr. Russ Pottle, Dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. My office is in Sullivan Academic Center, room 210. The School of Humanities and Social Sciences includes eleven departments, including Business Administration and Economics, Communication, Criminal Justice, English, History and Political Science, Philosophy, Psychology, Sociology, Urban Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, and World Languages. These departments offer 35 undergraduate programs and eight graduate programs, including a number of bachelor’s-to-master’s programs and an early law school program. The School also includes five interdisciplinary centers: the Center for Community Media, the Center for Entrepreneurship, the Center for Social Innovation, the Translation Center, and the Urban Action Institute.

    Departments and programs in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Worcester State University cultivate intellectual growth, engaged citizenship, and professional accomplishment among faculty and students. Together, faculty and students in the Humanities and Social Sciences encounter and analyze the variety of human experiences and human expression, the value of multiple perspectives, and the natures of social, economic, and political power. Through inspired teaching, research, scholarship, and creative work, they produce new knowledge and contribute to the common good. Through dedicated service, they benefit the community. In all these activities, students find passions and life paths.