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Franklin Pierce University announces new academic and athletic initiatives

Sept. 5, 2011

image textRindge, NH – Franklin Pierce University President James F. Birge is pleased to announce several exciting new academic and athletic initiatives including the construction of a new academic center and athletic training complex, the revision of the general education curriculum that prepares students to join a complex work environment, and the development of partnerships between undergraduate and graduate academic programs.

Dr. Birge, along with University Vice President/Director of Athletics Bruce Kirsh, also announced the addition of three new intercollegiate varsity sports: sprint football, men’s and women’s track & field/men’s cross country and women’s ice hockey. All three programs will begin competition in the fall of 2012. “These three programs will join our current varsity teams to bolster pride throughout the campus community,” Kirsh said.

“This is a very exciting time for Franklin Pierce University,” said Dr. Birge. “Everyone associated with the University should be extremely proud of the work that has gone into developing these initiatives. Through new academic and athletic initiatives, Franklin Pierce will become an even more desirable ‘college of choice’ for undergraduate students.”

The new academic center and athletic training complex will serve a dual purpose by becoming the new home of the emerging Health Sciences program and also serving as a care and treatment center for Franklin Pierce student-athletes. The state-of-the-art facility, at a cost of $2 million, will feature two stories and 9,000 square feet. The second floor will feature several interactive learning stations including a multimedia smart classroom, a flexible laboratory classroom and faculty offices for more one-on-one interaction between students and professors. The first floor will house the athletic training center for the Department of Athletics, but can also be utilized as a hands-on learning environment for students interested in the health care professions.

The University will hold a special groundbreaking ceremony on Oct. 1, 2011, during Family and Alumni Weekend.

“The need for qualified healthcare professionals is growing throughout the country and the world,” said Dr. Kim Mooney, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. “The new academic program will enable our students to gain a valuable education that will help to make them immediately competitive in a challenging job market. The new Health Science program will also prepare our undergraduate students for graduate work if they choose to continue their studies in our Doctor of Physical Therapy program or our Masters in Physician Assistant Studies programs. From undergraduate, to graduate, to the doctoral studies, Franklin Pierce can be there every step of the way for our students.”

The new facility is made possible with the support of a $1.1 million donation from an anonymous donor. The total represents the largest gift the University has ever received from a private donor. Franklin Pierce also recently received a generous $75,000 donation from the George I. Alden Trust of Worcester, Mass. which will aid in the development of the academic portion of the new center. The donation from the Alden Trust is the largest received from this organization.
“The Alden Trust has helped us tremendously in our efforts to put together a first-class academic center,” Dr. Birge said. “The generosity shown by the Alden Trust will impact our students positively for years to come.”

Franklin Pierce students will also see innovative changes to the general education curriculum, which will now focus on liberal learning in helping undergraduates prepare for the workforce in the 21st century.

“The University’s faculty and administration is doing an outstanding job in directing new avenues of study for our students to become better prepared for graduate studies and for career opportunities when they graduate from Franklin Pierce,” Dr. Mooney said. “I feel confident that our students will notice the changes in the curriculum and in the teaching and learning environment and appreciate the University’s innovative thinking as it pertains to their professional careers.”

Forbes Magazine, a nationally-respected publication, recognized Franklin Pierce as one of the top institutions in the country in a recent ranking focusing on the value of the college purchase from the viewpoint of what is most important to the student. “I am pleased that Forbes recognized the many good things that Franklin Pierce University is known for – quality of academics and campus life, post-graduate success and student satisfaction,” Dr. Birge said.

The addition of sprint football marks the first time the gridiron will be coming to Rindge. Franklin Pierce will compete in the Collegiate Sprint Football League (CSFL) with seven other schools: Army, Navy, Princeton, Pennsylvania, Cornell, Mansfield and Post. Sprint football features all the same standards as “heavyweight” football, except that players cannot weight more than 172 pounds. Franklin Pierce will be only the fifth school in the state of New Hampshire to currently field a college football team joining Dartmouth, University of New Hampshire, Saint Anselm and Plymouth State.

“I like the idea of student-athletes focusing on speed and agility rather than body weight and strength,” said Carleen Farrell, a member of the University’s Board of Trustees and a 1971 graduate of the University. “I (believe) that this has the potential of adding much to the University community in terms of tradition and spirit.”

The men’s and women’s track & field programs will compete in the Northeast-10 Conference, allowing Franklin Pierce to compete in 20 of the 23 championships offered by the league. In addition to starting up track & field, Franklin Pierce will also reinstitute men’s cross country to join with the women’s cross country program in the fall season.

Women’s ice hockey is a growing sport at the high school level throughout the Northeast, and Franklin Pierce felt it was a natural fit to add the program to its varsity sports lineup. With a large number of females playing at the high school level, the University will now offer more opportunities for women to continue their hockey careers at the collegiate level.

For more information on Franklin Pierce University, please visit the school’s official site at, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

For more information on each of the three new athletic programs, and all other varsity sports at Franklin Pierce, please visit the department’s official website at To follow the programs even further, please visit Franklin Pierce Athletics on YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.

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