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Northern Essex Community College

Northern Essex Community College (also known as NECC or NECCO) is a state-assisted, two-year college, located in Essex County in northeastern Massachusetts. The college serves residents of the Merrimack Valley including Southern New Hampshire.

Northern Essex is one of 15 community colleges in the Massachusetts Higher Education system and serves 16,000 full and part-time students each year. It offers post-secondary education through the associate degree level, including career programs in areas such as nursing and allied health, computers, criminal justice, paralegal studies, and deaf studies and dozens of transfer programs for students who start their education at Northern Essex and transfer for their junior and senior years, eventually earning a bachelor’s degree or higher. The college also offers developmental courses in writing, math, and English as a Second Language, designed to prepare students for college-level work, and noncredit programs for career advancement or personal enrichment.


  • Locations 1
  • History 2
  • Academics 3
  • Students 4
  • Administration 5
  • Publications 6
  • Notable Alumni 7
  • External links 8


The college has a rural 106-acre Haverhill Campus, located at 100 Elliott St. which features seven campus buildings including a state-of-the art Technology Center, built in 2005, and the innovative Behrakis One-Stop Student Center. There are currently three locations in the nearby city of Lawrence: The Dimitry Building located at 45 Franklin St.; The Louise Haffner Fournier Education Center at 78 Amesbury St.; and NECC Riverwalk, the college’s newest location at 360 Merrimack St., right off of rt. 495. Northern Essex is in the process of building an Allied Health and Technology Center on Common Street in Lawrence.


In the fall of 1961 Northern Essex opened its doors to 186 students in the then-former Greenleaf Elementary School on Chadwick Street in Bradford. Most were recent graduates of Haverhill High School as well as high schools in surrounding towns. The college was popular from the start and in 1971 the Haverhill campus was built in the bucolic setting off Route 110. The Dimitry Building in Lawrence opened in 1991, followed by the Louise Haffner Fournier Education Center in 2005, and NECC Riverwalk in 2010.


Northern Essex Community College offers over 70 associate degrees and certificates, categorized within 12 areas of study:

  • Art & Design
  • Business
  • Computer & Information Sciences
  • Criminal Justice
  • Deaf Studies
  • Education
  • General Studies
  • Health
  • Human Services
  • Liberal Arts
  • Paralegal
  • Performing Arts
  • Physical Education
  • Science
  • Technology & Engineering


The college’s student population is made up of a very diverse group of individuals. While many come to the college directly after high school, others bring variety of life and job experiences to their studies. Some interesting student profile characteristics include:

  • 61% of students are female
  • 62% of students are 25 or younger
  • 28% of students are Hispanic
  • 44% of students are first generation college students
  • 61% of students are part-time, earning 11 credits or fewer


  • President: Lane Glenn
  • Executive Vice President: Mary Ellen Ashley
  • Vice President of Academic Affairs: Bill Heineman
  • Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jean Poth
  • Vice President of Finance: David Gingerella


2011 Parnassus

NECC is home to Parnassus, a nationally recognized award-winning literary arts magazine. Parnassus is a student-run and published literary magazine that is published yearly and which features student work in the form of fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, art, and photography. Recently, the 2011 Parnassus was awarded a prestigious Pacemaker Award from the Associated Collegiate Press, placing best in the nation for two-year colleges. The 2013 edition was recently awarded First Place in the Eastern Division of the Community College Humanities Association awards for the fifth consecutive year. Parnassus regularly features special guest authors from the New England area each year, and past guests have included Steve Almond, Andre Dubus III, Stephen King, and most recently, Gregory Maguire.

The NECC Observer is the college's award winning student newspaper. This paper is completely run by students and previously has won the Gold medal from the Colombia Scholastic Press Association. All students are encouraged to write for the Observer.

Notable Alumni

  • Tom Bergeron, attended NECC ’74 -’75, Television personality
  • Dr. John Santos, ‘68, Founder of Nature’s Classroom
  • Daniel Lyons, ’83, Newsweek columnist
  • Phil Starks, ’92, Tufts University Associate Professor
  • Lou Schwechheimer, ’77, Vice President and General Manager, Pawtucket Red Sox
  • Steve Bedrosian, ‘77, Former Major League Baseball Player and 1987 National League Cy Young Award winner
  • David Vose, ’68, Professor, Berklee College of Music, Author, Artist/Clinician for Yamaha Corporation of America and Zildjian Cymbals also inducted into the Massachusetts Educators Hall of Fame.

External links

  • Northern Essex Community College Website
  • Parnassus, NECC's Literary Arts Magazine

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