Dr. Christopher E. Hopey was named the eighth president of Merrimack College in 2010, and has presided over an era of unprecedented success at the college, marked by record applications and enrollments at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, significant growth in faculty ranks, the launch of a major capital campaign and investment in the college’s first new residence halls and academic building in decades.
Reflecting the college’s new spirit and identity, Merrimack is now in the top third of U.S. News’ regional universities in the north, after years of consistently ranking as a top-10 northern college and identification as a college that “adds the most value” and is “up and coming.”
Early in his presidency, Dr. Hopey engaged the college community in a collaborative strategic planning process to help Merrimack develop a clear vision for the future. The outcome has been Merrimack’s strategic plan, “The Agenda for Distinction,” which set five overarching goals for advancing Merrimack to prominence and has focused the college’s planning and priorities.
Reflective of that vision is a renewed focus on faculty, students and enrollment. As a result, in fall 2016 the college enrolled the largest freshmen class in its history, more than 1,000, and more than 575 graduate students. The ranks of full-time faculty has grown to nearly 200, with approximately 70 new positions under Dr. Hopey’s administration and 29 hired in fall 2016 alone.
Under Dr. Hopey, Merrimack has opened seven new residence hall buildings, created the Innovation Center and Writers House, and broke ground in fall 2016 on the North Campus Academic Pavilion, with state-of-the-art flexible classrooms and a new home for the Girard School of Business and the Mucci Markets Lab.
Funded research has expanded across the institution, with national foundations such as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and federal agencies such as the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation and NASA supporting faculty-student collaborations in health sciences, engineering and other fields.
Likewise, the college has developed innovative partnerships to build key facilities and programs as well as reinvigorate connections with the community. For example, in concert with the regional Middlesex Islanders hockey program, Merrimack has expanded the Merrimack Athletics Complex; side by side with the Augustinian parish St. Mary’s, the college launched the Hands to Help neighborhood resource center, focusing much of the college’s community service through that parish in Lawrence, Massachusetts.
The capital campaign Together for Good, launched publicly in fall 2016, will raise an unprecedented $50 million to support Merrimack students, academic initiatives, athletics and community-service programs.
Prior to leading Merrimack, Dr. Hopey was vice president and dean for the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University. Previously, he was vice dean at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Hopey is the author of numerous journal articles and a frequent speaker at national conferences. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northeastern University.
He is married to Cheryl Lucas, and they have a son, Christopher.
At a Glance
Eighth Merrimack president
Previously vice president and dean, College of Professional Studies, Northeastern University
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Wife, Cheryl Lucas; son, Christopher