Dana Mohler-Faria Mohler-Faria was inaugurated as the eleventh president of Bridgewater in October 2002 after almost thirty years of administrative experience in Massachusetts public higher education. A native of southeastern Massachusetts, Mohler-Faria served in the U.S. Air Force before pursuing an associate’s degree from Cape Cod Community College (1972), followed by a BA (1974) and MA (1975) in history from Boston University and an EdD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (1984).
From 1975-1984, he was director of financial aid and of the SACHEM (Southeastern Association for Cooperation of Higher Education) outreach program at Cape Cod Community College. From 1984-1987, he served as assistant dean of administrative services at Bristol Community College. He then moved to Mt. Wachusett Community College where he was executive dean of administrative services and student affairs, dean of administrative services, and assistant to the president for business and industry. In 1991 Mohler-Faria was selected as vice president for administration and finance at Bridgewater, where he worked closely with President Tinsley on projects such as the construction of the Moakley Technology Center, the restoration of commuter rail service to campus, and the capital development campaign.
Throughout his tenure as president, Mohler-Faria led and participated in regional and statewide projects to further higher education in Massachusetts. In 2003, Mohler-Faria spearheaded the establishment of the CONNECT partnership, linking Bridgewater with Bristol Community College, Cape Cod Community College, Massosoit Community College, Massachusetts Maritime Academy, and the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth. That same year he initiated exploratory discussions with the Massachusetts state colleges’ Council of Presidents to consider seeking university status for the state colleges. Seven years of continued efforts were rewarded in July 2010 when the House of Representatives overwhelmingly approved legislation granting university status to the Commonwealth’s state colleges. During his tenure, a variety of programs aimed at academic enrichment and social support for at-risk youth in southeastern Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area were started. These included The Bridge Partnership with New Bedford Public Schools; FAM for Change, which paired BSU mentors with Brockton High freshmen deemed to be at high risk of dropping out; and the Concurrent Enrollment program, which provided the necessary support for students with cognitive disabilities as they attended BSU.
The Bridgewater campus experience was transformed during Mohler-Faria’s presidency. The first LEED-certified residence hall opened in September 2007; the first LEED-certified academic building, the state-of-the-art Science and Mathematics Center, opened in September 2011. Full-time enrollment increased by almost one third, to over 9,200 students by 2014. The number of full-time faculty increased by over 30%, to over 330. The percentage of students of color climbed from 6.2 to over 16% of the total student body. The number of graduate degrees awarded yearly almost doubled. As part of Bridgewater’s mission to serve the residents of southeastern Massachusetts, permanent Bridgewater satellite campuses were opened in Attleboro, New Bedford, and Cape Cod.
Mohler-Faria’s agenda included creating more opportunities for students to broaden their horizons through study abroad trips and forging partnerships with more than two dozen international universities. Highlighting the importance of international engagement to Bridgewater’s central mission, strategic planning and core curriculum, Mohler-Faria opened the Center for International Engagement in spring 2010 to support the Canadian, African, Latin-American, Asian, and Middle Eastern Studies programs.
Dana Mohler-Faria. (2016). In Bridgewater State Principal and Presidents. Portrait 9. Available at http://vc.bridgew.edu/presidents/9.