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Western New England University President to Retire in 2020

Western New England University President Anthony Caprio recently announced his plans to retire as president at the end of June 2020. He will have completed 24 years of distinguished leadership. He is the longest serving president in the institution’s history and his career at the University comes at the intersection of the recent celebration of the institution’s Centennial and the beginning of its second century.

In a recent message to the University community, Dr. Caprio reflected on his time at Western New England. “The faculty and staff of the University and our great students continue to inspire me each day. We have all worked in harmony all these years with a common purpose—the advancement and continued elevation of our University…How fortunate I am to have had this job. Even now in my 24th year, I can say there is nothing else I would have preferred to be doing. My time here has been deeply gratifying and profoundly rewarding. I am grateful to you for so many things. I thank you. I say this from the bottom of my heart.”

An internationally renowned language scholar, educator, and administrator, Dr. Caprio began his tenure as the fifth president of Western New England University in the fall of 1996.

He holds a B.A. degree from Wesleyan University, where he was named to Phi Beta Kappa, and he earned both the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University. He undertook his studies also in Paris. In 2000, he was awarded the honorary bachelor’s degree from Western New England University, thereby “graduating” with the students who had entered in 1996. Having begun their college journey with their president.

For over 45 years, he has demonstrated his commitment to higher education through service as a teacher and administrator in a wide range of institutions, both private and public. His accomplishments prior to his presidency at Western New England University made significant and lasting academic and administrative contributions to institutions in the U.S. including Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, American University in Washington, D.C., as well as Cedar Crest College in Pennsylvania and Lehman College of the City University of New York.

Listed in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in the East, and Who’s Who in American Education, Dr. Caprio is a noted language scholar who has written numerous books in the areas of language and literature, including Reflets de la Femme (1973), and the widely-used college text French for Communication (1985), now in its third edition. His publications in refereed journals and special editions include “Senancour” in A Critical Bibliography of French Literature: Nineteenth Century (Syracuse University Press), articles in Columbia Dictionary of Modern European Literatures (Columbia University Press), in the Canadian Modern Language Review, and the Modern Language Journal. His reviews of books have appeared in dozens of scholarly and professional journals, such as Romanic Review, French Review, Library Journal, Modern Language Journal, and Nineteenth Century French Studies.

President Caprio has been a frequent speaker on diverse aspects of higher education at regional, national, and international conferences, as well as at numerous colleges and universities in the United States and abroad. He is a frequent consultant and evaluator for numerous colleges, universities, and national educational organizations.

Dr. Caprio has served on numerous boards nationally and regionally during his 24-year tenure at the University. He has accepted leadership roles of long duration in dozens of these, especially when they focus on education. These include: Tuition Exchange (25 years), a not-for-profit consortium of over 650 colleges and universities that provides tuition exchange for employees of member institutions; Willie Ross School for the Deaf in Longmeadow, MA; Executive Committee of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts; Greater Springfield (MA) Convention & Visitors Bureau; Springfield Symphony Orchestra; Springfield School Volunteers; Chairman of the Leadership Council of the Greater Springfield Mentoring Partnership; Massachusetts Mentoring Partnership; Community United Way of Pioneer Valley, Inc. United Way Campaign; Plan for Progress Task Force on Workforce Development, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission; Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council; President of Cooperating Colleges of Greater Springfield; Hampden Bank; and Hampden Bank Foundation.

Appointed as a public member to the Accreditation Committee of the American Bar Association, Dr. Caprio reviewed and determined with the Committee the accreditation status of ABA-accredited law schools. He also served on and chaired Foreign Programs Committee and was a member of the ABA Standards Review Committee. His service to the ABA beyond these Committees includes numerous evaluative site visits of law programs in the United States and abroad.

Dr. Caprio was named to The National Faculty in 1977. (“National Faculty have demonstrated an unusual record of accomplishment as teachers, writers, administrators, and scholars, and possesses abilities to work effectively with teachers and administrators at all levels of education.”)

In 1996 Dr. Caprio was elected by the directors of Phi Beta Kappa to the ranks of Phi Beta Kappa Fellow, limited to members of Phi Beta Kappa who have demonstrated by their distinguished achievements devotion to the ideals of Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Caprio’s impact upon Western New England University over his 24-year tenure has been remarkable and varied. Responding to the growing and changing needs of the students, Dr. Caprio led the expansion of the physical campus through the construction of nine new buildings, including the Center for the Health Sciences and Pharmacy and a four-story University Commons. Six existing facilities received major renovations. Additional land was purchased that brought the total land area of the institution to its present 215 acres.

His leadership in expanding the footprint of the physical plant has been matched by growth of new programs in order to build upon the strengths and quality of the academic offerings. Over the years the College of Business earned AACSB accreditation, a designation that places the College of Business among a high quality, elite membership of less than 5 percent schools of business in the world. Providing important service and education to the community, the School of Law established the Institute for Legislative and Governmental Affairs. In 2007 a new College of Business Center for International Sport and Business was established and the founding dean for a brand new College of Pharmacy was hired.

In 2005 the institution became the home of WAMC’s Northeast Public Radio new Springfield Bureau, which added new experiential learning opportunities for students in the communications fields.

In 2008 under his leadership, the institution launched its first doctoral program, the Ph.D. in Behavior Analysis and several advanced degree programs followed from that.

Two successful major fundraising campaigns have occurred and in 2011, Western New England College officially became Western New England University.

Reflecting on President Caprio’s tenure at the University, Ken Rickson, chair of the institution’s Board of Trustees said, “Dr. Caprio has transformed the face of the University. He has dedicated himself to every aspect of the University, particularly to the 24,000 students who are now alumni (among the 48,000 who have graduated in the first hundred years of the University since its inception (1919). Dr.Caprio’s grace, warmth, passion, and intelligent leadership will be missed by all at the University.”