Hurd Joins Leadership Team as Interim VP of Enrollment

Mitchell College recently welcomed Catherine “Cathy” Hurd as the interim vice president of enrollment. In her role, she will oversee the offices of admissions and financial aid and will also work directly with President Tracy Y. Espy as the assistant to the president, special projects.

Hurd most recently served as the vice president of student enrollment management and student experience at Bennett College, where she was instrumental in providing strategic leadership and direction in admissions, financial aid, the registrar’s office and student affairs. Prior to that, she worked in similar positions at Pfeiffer University and Johnson C. Smith University.

Espy said, “We are thrilled to welcome Cathy to Mitchell College. She brings expertise in developing, implementing and assessing comprehensive enrollment strategies, coupled with a deep understanding of a student-centered campus environment. She comes to us at an exciting time, as we grow our brand and move in a bold new direction. In her role, she will focus on advancing enrollment by enhancing internal and external collaborations and partnerships, especially through effective communications and marketing and branding.”

Hurd holds a master of science in education with a specialization in leadership for higher education from Capella University, where she also completed a post-master’s certificate in enrollment management and Ph.D. coursework. She earned a bachelor of science from Coker University.

“I look forward to telling ‘The Mitchell Story’ as we transition Mitchell College from good to great, expanding our reach and brand across the United States and abroad. Using our diverse student profile — a kaleidoscope of learners — as our market ‘niche’ to grow our enrollment for both Mitchell College and Thames at Mitchell is our top priority.”

— Cathy Hurd

Dr. Martinez Selected for Executive Leadership Academy

    Dr. Alicia Martinez, Mitchell College dean of student experience and belonging, was recently selected to participate in the Executive Leadership Academy (ELA), a year-long program co-sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC), the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) and the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI). The program, which prepares experienced higher education leaders to move to positions of greater responsibility, including presidencies, is one of the most prestigious opportunities at the national level.

    Selected from hundreds of applicants as one of 35 participants, Dr. Martinez will attend two seminars in Washington, D.C., led by current and former presidents and specialists in key areas. She will also benefit from a highly individualized Professional Experience Plan, taking into account her expertise and experience. In addition, she will participate in executive coaching, peer-to-peer participant-led webinars, regional gatherings and other activities.

    Mitchell College president, Dr. Tracy Y. Espy, a former participant who nominated Dr. Martinez, said, “A leader among leaders, Dr. Martinez has two decades of experience in higher education leadership. She has consistently made tremendous positive impacts here at Mitchell College, through some of the most challenging times in higher education. Dr. Martinez represents the next generation of leaders, who are critical for long-term higher education success, and it was my absolute pleasure to nominate her for selection to the CIC Leadership Academy.”

    Dr. Espy will also serve as a mentor for Dr. Martinez.

    “I look forward to connecting with and sharing ideas with other senior leadership from a variety of colleges, as well as the individualized executive coaching and development of the Professional Experience Plan. My hope is to advance my institutional knowledge base and identify areas of personal experience and expertise I can strengthen with a focus on continuous improvement to ensure I can effectively meet the challenges of today’s educational environment and best serve our students.” —Dr. Martinez


    Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz to Deliver Commencement Address

      Photo: Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz (Courtesy of Office of Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz)

      Mitchell College marks its 78th Commencement Exercises on Saturday, May 14, with Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz delivering the keynote address to the Class of 2022. The ceremony takes place at 10 a.m. on the Mitchell College Green.

      Sworn in on January 9, 2019, Susan Bysiewicz is serving her first term as Connecticut’s 109th lieutenant governor. Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz formerly served as Connecticut’s secretary of state from 1999 to 2011. As a state representative in the Connecticut General Assembly, she represented the towns of Middletown, Middlefield, and Durham from 1993 to 1999. A graduate of Middletown High School, Yale University and Duke Law School, she is the author of “Ella: A Biography of Ella Grasso,” Connecticut’s 83rd Governor. Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz and her husband David Donaldson reside in Middletown.​

      Dr. Tracy Y. Espy, Mitchell College president, said, “We are honored that Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz will deliver the keynote address to our graduating class. Her values of hard work, education and persistence, her wisdom gleaned from years of tireless work on behalf of Connecticut residents, her recognition of the value of programs that help neurodivergent communities thrive, and her commitment to growing jobs and investing in the future will inspire our graduates.”

      In addition to announcing the graduating class of 2022, the ceremony will include recognition of students who received honors, awards and scholarships at Mitchell College for the 2021–2022 Academic Year.

      Rep. Courtney Visits to Discuss Planned Innovation Hub

      Pictured above: President Espy and Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) meet with other community members to discuss the planned Digital Innovation Hub.

      U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) visited Mitchell College to meet with Mitchell College President Tracy Y. Espy, Ph.D., and other college stakeholders to talk about the planned Digital Innovation Hub for Educational Excellence. The visit included a tour of the Mitchell College Library, which will house flexible learning and collaboration spaces both for Mitchell students and non-student learners, and provide access to computers and support staff for the digital learning supported by the Digital Invitation Hub. The goal of the Hub is to support workforce development needs in the region.

      Courtney recently secured $555,000 in federal funding for the program, which will provide new credentialing and coursework in STEM and behavioral health careers for traditional and non-traditional students. The funding will be used to purchase equipment to support in-person and virtual learning as well as STEM education. One staff member would be hired to administer the program, partnering with college officials and professional organizations to develop new programming.

      “Education and skills training opportunities are the cornerstone of growing eastern CT’s workforce, and I was happy to work with the City of New London and Mitchell College to secure direct, targeted funding for the college’s new Digital Innovation Hub as part of our Community Project Requests in the 2022 budget,” said Courtney. “Dr. Espy and her team are focused on ensuring Mitchell College remains an integral part of training up the next generation of qualified medical professionals, engineers, programmers and other in-demand professions so that more of their students have the skills to step right into these high-skill, high-pay industries—and that in turn is going to attract even more employers to our region. That’s exactly what the Digital Innovation Hub will be focused on, STEM and behavioral health coursework, and I’m looking forward to seeing the program get underway now that our Community Project Request has finally been made law.”

      Espy said, “We are so grateful to Congressman Courtney for supporting our vision to provide our community with more options to prepare for in-demand careers, filling a need in today’s society. Workforce development is critical to the well-being of our region and our state and we look forward to Mitchell playing an important role in that.”

      Largest Single Donation in College History

      Pictured above: President Espy shares news with faculty and staff about the historic gift.

      Mitchell College President Tracy Y. Espy announced that Mitchell College was gifted its single largest gift in its 84-year history. The $3 million gift was given by an anonymous donor and includes a challenge match of $1 million, raising the potential benefit to $4 million.

      “This historic gift comes at a transformational moment for Mitchell College….Building on the College’s remarkable foundation of delivering an outstanding educational experience to students of all learning styles, Mitchell College aligns our mission with the future of higher education.”

      — Tracy Espy, Ph.D., President, Mitchell College

      For Mitchell, this future includes an array of pathways for students to achieve their goals, in both career and service, offering expert supports to ensure student success.  Our tremendously generous donor recognizes the unique commitment and ability of Mitchell College to offer exceptional education for a kaleidoscope of learners, representing the spectrum of diversity in race, gender, class, ethnicity and neurodiversity.”

      “We are deeply grateful to our generous donor, as well as to President Espy – whose unwavering commitment to further propel Mitchell College’s distinctive competence of creating a culture of belonging and educational excellence for the full diversity of learners inspired our compassionate benefactor to support Mitchell’s remarkable future.”

      — Richard D’Avino, Chair, Mitchell College Board of Trustees

      The donor of the $3 million to Mitchell prefers to remain anonymous, but stated, “I fully support the Mitchell College mission, the welcoming environment where all diversity is celebrated and all potential is realized, and President Espy’s vision for the future.”

      Partnership with Univ. of Saint Joseph Offers MSW

      Pictured above (left to right): Joseph Pardee, Mitchell College director of facilities; Dr. Elizabeth Beaulieu, Mitchell College vice president for academic affairs; Dr. Tara Broccoli, Mitchell College professor of behavioral sciences; Dr. Tracy Y. Espy, president of Mitchell College; Dr. Raymie Wayne, USJ professor of social work; Dr. Rhona Free, president of USJ; Dr. Anthony DeJesus, USJ director of the MSW program; and Dr. Michelle Kalis, USJ provost.


      Soon residents in Southeastern Connecticut and beyond who are interested in pursuing a Master of Social Work (MSW) won’t have to travel far to do so.

      The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) in West Hartford, Conn., is partnering with Mitchell College to use its New London campus as a satellite campus for the master’s program. Classes taught by USJ faculty will be offered in the evenings and on weekends, and local agencies will serve as partner sites for student clinical training.

      The agreement was signed today by Dr. Tracy Y. Espy, president of Mitchell College, Dr. Rhona Free, president of the University of Saint Joseph, Dr. Elizabeth Beaulieu, Mitchell College vice president for academic affairs, and Dr. Michelle Kalis, provost of the University of Saint Joseph.

      “Expanded behavioral health access is one of the areas cited by Gov. Ned Lamont and his Workforce Council. Mitchell College very much looks forward to working in partnership with the University of Saint Joseph, sharing our resources to fill today’s abundant need for social work professionals. This is a wonderful opportunity for our students, particularly in our psychology and criminal justice programs, and for others in the greater Southeastern Connecticut community.”

      —President Espy

      President Free said, “This new partnership between the University of Saint Joseph and Mitchell College will make it possible to meet some critical workforce needs in the New London region and provide a convenient way for potential students to earn degrees that are not currently offered nearby. We will start with a master’s in social work but hope to expand, taking advantage of Mitchell’s outstanding facilities and location and USJ’s record of success preparing students for health care, education and social service careers.”

      Dr. Tara Broccoli, Mitchell College professor of behavioral sciences, said, “The collaboration with the University of Saint Joseph is an exciting opportunity. The flexibility of the program will appeal to students, as they can select a two- or three-year program sequence to fit their needs. The hybrid method of delivery is especially responsive to adult students, improving their accessibility of the program.”

      Espy also noted that Mitchell College is expected to create a graduate-level mental health degree in the next couple of years, developing a program for credentialing mental health professionals, in alignment with the governor’s call for expanded behavioral health access. These programs may be offered via distance, hybrid and HyFlex formats and fall under the college’s recent award of federal funding for the creation of its Digital Innovation Hub for Educational Excellence.