Collaborative Planning, Clear Vision

President Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D., has presided over an era of unprecedented success at Merrimack College, marked by record applications and enrollments at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, significant growth in faculty ranks, the completion of a successful major capital campaign, and investment in the college’s first new residence halls, academic buildings and athletics facilities in decades.

Reflecting the college’s new spirit and identity, Merrimack is now a top-50 school in U.S. News’ regional universities in the north and one of the ten “Most Transformative” institutions in the country according to Money Magazine.

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.

2019 Milestones

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Full-time faculty has grown to more than 210
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3,969 + undergraduate and 1,258 + graduate students
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Largest first-year class in Merrimack history

New Development

Under Dr. Hopey, Merrimack has constructed nine new buildings, created the Innovation Center and The Writers House, built the new multiuse, 4,000 spectator capacity Duane Stadium, and opened Crowe Hall, with state-of-the-art flexible classrooms and a new home for the Girard School of Business and the Mucci Capital Markets Lab, and the Arcidi Center, which hosts the college’s Visitor Center and O’Brien Center for Career Development. More than 1 million square feet of academic and residential space has been renovated into state of the art teaching, learning and living spaces, including those for Communication & Media (with cutting-edge radio and TV facilities), Psychology (with classrooms, offices and sleep-study labs), and Health Sciences. The college will also be opening its new Nursing Building in the Spring of 2020.

Funded research has grown 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.

President Hopey with wife Cheryl
President Hopey walking on athletic field
President Hopey making a speech

Likewise, the college has developed innovative partnerships to build key facilities and programs as well as reinvigorate connections with the community that speak to the college’s mission and values. 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 of the Assumption in Lawrence, the college launched the Hands to Help neighborhood resource center, focusing much of the college’s community service, and offers college classes to students in Lawrence’s honors high school, Abbott Lawrence Academy.

Together For Good

The capital campaign Together for Good, the largest campaign in the institution’s history, launched publicly in fall 2016 and raised an unprecedented $6.5 million to support Merrimack students, academic initiatives, athletics and community service programs. 

Before leading Merrimack, Dr. Hopey was vice president and dean of the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University. Previously, he was vice dean at the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania.

He served as president of the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts and has been elected to the board of directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities.

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.

At A Glance

  • Eighth Merrimack president
  • Appointed 2010
  • Launched and completed Together for Good campaign, raised $6.5 million to support Merrimack students
  • Previously vice president and dean, College of Professional Studies, Northeastern University
  • Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
  • Wife, Cheryl Lucas; son, Christopher