At the opening ceremony, approximately 2,500 students, alumni and supporters crammed the college’s campus center parking lot for celebration that included a live band a fireworks display.
“The job of any college president is to leave the school better than better than when we inherited it,” Hopey said. “That’s my job here now and it will be the job for whoever comes after me.
“When I first got here, I saw it had all the ingredients to be great. The stuff we’ve done here was a natural thing to do. It takes hundreds of people to make this happen and it was really a great team effort between my administration and the board of trustees and the employees, everyone here.”
In 2007, the graduating class consisted of 289 students. This fall’s freshman class is 850.
It’s clear that athletics plays a vital role in the plan for growth.
The athletic department is seriously considering a move to Division 1 for all of its athletics, including basketball and football.
“Athletics is important for three reasons,” Hopey said. “Obviously for pride, then there’s building within the community and finally enrollment. Athletics plays a big role in driving that and Merrimack needs all three of those things to being doing well.”
There is more to be done.
“We’re not ready to announce anything but there is a phase two,” Hopey said. “Stay tuned, it’s even bigger than this.”