How Merrimack College got its groove back

Chris Hopey isn’t your typical academic, and Merrimack College seems all the better for it.
Since taking over the North Andover-based Catholic college four years ago, the 49-year-old Hopey has wasted little time in whipping his 220-acre campus into shape. Much of that effort has run counter to the widely embraced playbook guiding many peer institutions — a roster of smaller, mid-tier private colleges stuck squarely in the financial storm that’s battering the higher-education sector.