Company Notebook

UMass Amherst Sees Largest First-year Class
AMHERST — An academically outstanding group of first-year students and the largest-ever class to enter the UMass Amherst has been welcomed to the campus, according to Chancellor Robert C. Holub. The Class of 2014, numbering approximately 4,500 students, was selected from a record 31,000 applicants. Maintaining its commitment to state residents, the university expects total enrollment of in-state students to increase slightly, totaling more than 16,000. Meanwhile, a larger number of out-of-state students, which has gone from 800 to 1,150, constitutes about one-fourth of the entering class. The academic profile of the incoming class is strong, about the same as last year with SAT scores of 1167 and a high school GPA of 3.61, added Holub. The demographic characteristics of the entering class are similar to last year. The percentage of African, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American students is 21%, and women make up slightly more than half of the class.

AIC Sees Growth Spurt
SPRINGFIELD — The first decade of the new millennium was a period of growth at American International College, and with the arrival of the Class of 2014, it looks like the growth spurt is continuing into the new decade, according to AIC President Vince M. Maniaci. He noted that, for the fifth consecutive year, overall undergraduate enrollment is at an all-time high for the institution. Since 2001, undergraduate enrollment has nearly doubled, and under Maniaci, the graduate enrollment figures have increased from fewer than 300 students to more than 1,600. Peter J. Miller, vice president of admission services, added that the Class of 2014 will come from 24 states and 10 countries including Canada, China, Afghanistan, England, Nigeria, Ghana, St. Lucia, Bermuda, Sweden, Japan, and Vietnam. Miller noted that nursing is the most popular major among the incoming freshmen.

Laboratory Receives Accreditation
WARE — Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, a member of Baystate Health, has been awarded reaccreditation by the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), based on the results of a recent on-site inspection. The CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program is recognized by the federal government as being equal to or more stringent than the government’s own inspection program. The CAP is an advocate for high-quality and cost-effective medical care. The stringent inspection program is designed to ensure the highest standard of care for the laboratory’s patients, according to John Olinski, laboratory supervisor. Mary Lane’s lab currently processes more than 240,000 tests per year.

Balise Supports Glendi Festival Raffle
SPRINGFIELD — Balise Motor Sales contimued its strong support of the Glendi festival this year, sponsoring the grand prize of the event’s raffle, a vintage 1968 red Chevy Impala convertible. Proceeds from the raffle benefit scholarships and church programs of St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Western Massachusetts. The Glendi Festival was staged September 10-12 on the church grounds on Main Street in Springfield.

Realtor Receives Green Designation
LONGMEADOW — Brenda Flower, a sales associate in the local Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office, has been awarded the National Assoc. of Realtors (NAR) Green Designation, the only green professional real-estate designation recognized by NAR. The designation provides Realtors with comprehensive knowledge about green homes and buildings and issues of sustainability in relation to real estate. As part of the course, Flower was trained in understanding what makes a property green, how to help clients evaluate the costs and benefits of green-building features and practices, and how to distinguish between industry rating and classification systems. Additionally, Flower received training on financial grants and incentives that are available to homeowners seeking an eco-friendly living environment.

Games2U Entertainment Franchise Enters Area
SPRINGFIELD — Games2U Entertainment, a state-of-the-art game theater and entertainment franchise, is bringing futuristic parties to homes, companies, and schools, according to Paul Jenney, who has launched a franchise in New England. Games2U features video games, laser tag, hamster balls, and more, delivered to the door of the party location. Jenney noted the franchise offers everyone the chance to have a “rock-star” party at an affordable price. Trained game coaches oversee the entire experience and manage each Games2U party throughout the event, allowing parents and event coordinators the chance to relax and enjoy the party, added Jenney. For more information, visit

$1M Grant to Enhance History Education
WESTFIELD — A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help area school districts improve history teaching in grades 7 through 12 with innovative programs and new technology. The Center for Teacher Education and Research at Westfield State University collaborated with the Gateway Regional School District, the lead school district, to acquire the grant. The other participating public school districts are Chicopee, Hampshire Regional, Pittsfield, Westfield, and West Springfield. Also included in the grant program are the Amherst-based Veteran’s Education Project, the Westfield Athenaeum, and the History Department at Westfield State, along with the Historical Journal of Massachusetts, which is published by the university. The grant, titled “Memorializing Promise and Conflict: A Monumental History of American Democracy,” is part of the federal Teaching American History (TAH) program. The TAH grants program seeks to increase teacher content knowledge in American history, develop historical thinking skills, and develop strategies and skills in implementing content into the classroom. Funded projects for the teachers will include travel, book discussions, and work with the Historical Journal of Massachusetts.

MassMutual Earns Top Rating from Research Group
SPRINGFIELD — In Boston Research Group’s recently released 2010 DCP Retirement Advisor Satisfaction and Loyalty Study, MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division ranked first overall among all providers in eight key categories important to adviser satisfaction. Advisers rated MassMutual number one in “offers competitive advantages,” scoring 21 points higher than the industry average and seven points higher than the nearest competitor. Notably, compared to the norm, advisers who work with MassMutual have 42% more plans in force, have 54% more defined-contribution-plan assets under management, and have sold more than twice as many plans in the past two years, indicating that advisers who are heavily focused on the institutional retirement-plan market have identified MassMutual as a provider of choice. The nationwide survey of 649 retirement advisers was conducted from February to April 2010 and represents 20 defined-contribution retirement-plan providers. MassMutual was also ranked first by advisers among all providers surveyed for: wholesaler partners for success, participant education program, Internet capabilities for plan sponsors, Internet capabilities for participants, participant statement, seminar assistance, and product education for the adviser. Boston Research Group is a strategic market-research and consulting firm that specializes in the financial-services industry.

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