April 2, 2017

Inbox [April 2]: Worcester a top emerging startup hub, Becker and WSU announce commencement speakers, Abby’s House receives $4M for renovations, Bravehearts bolster roster

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A view of downtown Worcester.

Interesting and worthwhile things happen every day in our community. Alas, we can’t cover them all. That’s where Inbox comes in, to offer readers an easily digestible compilation of interesting and noteworthy items you and your neighbors keep telling us about.

Worcester among nation’s top 10 emerging startup hubs

Worcester is among the top 10 U.S. cities emerging as hubs for start-up companies, according to a recent paper from the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) and TechNet.

Other cities in the top 10 are Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Denver; Salt Lake City; Portland; Dallas; Raleigh-Durham, N.C.; and Philadelphia.

“All across the country, entrepreneurs are founding and building new companies that use technology in innovative ways,” the report reads. “The American startup ecosystem — the envy of the world — has spread outside of the coasts and high-profile tech hubs, such as San Francisco, Boston, and New York City, to other parts of the country. Startup activity is happening everywhere in cities and towns across America.

“The new index also allows us to identify vibrant startup ecosystems in 25 “Next in Tech” metro areas. … Many of these metro areas are not typically associated with startup growth but, in reality, have come to embrace startup culture — and they have the jobs to show for it.”

Read the story on Axios or the full paper here

Rucker to deliver Becker commencement address

Cliff Rucker, owner of Worcester Railers HC and president of NFS Leasing, will deliver the keynote address at Becker College’s 229th commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 6, at the DCU Center.

Courtesy Worcester Railers HC

Cliff Rucker

A lifelong entrepreneur, Rucker represents the entrepreneurial spirit that Becker endeavors to instill in every graduate. Rucker is the founding president of NFS Leasing, a multidisciplinary equipment leasing firm, as well as the founder of NEXL, a provider of IT services.

Most recently, Rucker has focused his entrepreneurial skills on transforming Worcester. He has brought professional hockey back to the city with the formation of the Worcester Railers. To support the team, Rucker is building a 100,000-square-foot facility that will house the Railers and local teams from all levels – including Becker’s own men’s and women’s ice hockey teams, the Hawks. As part of an ongoing revitalization effort to create social impact in Worcester, the Railers facility will also be home to a restaurant, exercise science workrooms, retail shops, and other venues for civic engagement. Besides business and development, Rucker sits on the boards of many schools and nonprofits.

Alongside Rucker in the 2017 ceremony will be Manny Lopes, CEO and president of East Boston Neighborhood Health Center. Lopes has achieved extraordinary and lasting distinction for his innovative management of one of the most impactful health centers in the United States that focuses on increasing coverage and services for all Boston residents.

For his leadership in the healthcare industry as well as in his local community, Lopes was honored with the NAACP President’s Award in 2015. Lopes will deliver the address at the Becker College Honors Convocation at 3 p.m. Friday, May 5, on the Leicester Campus.

“There are no better examples of innovation and social impact than Cliff Rucker and Manny Lopes. Every day these leaders exhibit skills that our upcoming graduates will need in the future, so I hope the Class of 2017 listens closely to their words,” said Becker College President Robert E. Johnson, Ph.D, who last month was named chancellor of University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. “Cliff and Manny are continuously transforming their communities, inspiring individuals, and changing lives for the better – something we expect from every Becker graduate.”

Read the entire story on the Becker College website

Wikimedia Commons / Terageorge

DCU Center … soon to be graduation central.

Ex-Pats lineman and philanthropist Andruzzi to deliver WSU commencement address

Former New England Patriots football player and philanthropist Joe Andruzzi will address graduating students and their families at Worcester State University’s undergraduate commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 13, at the DCU Center.

As an offensive lineman for the Patriots from 2000 through 2005, Andruzzi helped his team earn three Super Bowl wins. He founded the C.J. Buckley Brain Cancer Research Fund at Boston Children’s Hospital while off the field. His teammates chose him as their recipient of the Ed Block Courage award in 2002, which honors inspiration, sportsmanship and courage.

In 2007, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s Burkitt’s lymphoma, a fast-moving cancer that he battled aggressively at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, after which he spent a year recuperating. Since then, his family has established the Joe Andruzzi Foundation, which provides financial support to cancer patients and their families and helps fund pediatric brain cancer research. In recognition of his philanthropy, Andruzzi received the Man of the Year Award from the Walter Camp Football Foundation in 2015.

In addition to the commencement address, two student leaders will bring greetings, and Worcester State University President Barry M. Maloney will speak. It is expected that more than 1,000 students will have undergraduate degrees conferred upon them at the ceremony.

Read the entire story on the Worcester State University website

Abby’s House receives nearly $4M for renovations

Abby’s House is excited to announce it has been awarded $3.989 million for the renovation of its High Street building.

Abby Kelley Foster House, Inc. will undertake considerable renovations of the existing 53 units and add two apartments. The project will provide housing for women who have been homeless because of domestic violence, eviction, economic crisis, or unemployment, and supportive services will be offered on-site to residents.

The award, which includes $500,000 awarded by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in national Housing Trust Fund (HTF) funding, $989,000 in state and federal low-income housing tax credits, and $2.5 million in state subsidies, was presented by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.

Abby’s House was one of seven organizations to receive a total of $20 million in awards to fund supportive housing projects.

Read the announcement on the Abby’s House Facebook page

Bravehearts add seven Division I collegiate players to roster

The Worcester Bravehearts announced seven more players coming to the Heart of the Commonwealth to wear the navy blue and lime. All of the players are Division I student-athletes who will join the team when the season opens on June 2.

The seven are left-handed pitcher Sean Mellen of Northeastern University; right-handed sophomore pitcher Billy DeVito of the University of Hartford; Dartmouth College freshman outfielder Trevor Johnson, the son of former Holy Name star and seven-year Major Leaguer Mark Johnson; freshman infielder/outfielder Bryan Hart and freshman right-handed pitcher Jack Owens of Bryant University; and outfielder Pat DeMarco and right-handed pitcher Justin Willis of Division 1 powerhouse Vanderbilt.

Opening night for the Bravehearts is Friday, June 2, at Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field against the Futures Collegiate Baseball League rival Bristol Blues.

Read the entire story on the Worcester Bravehearts website

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