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Elms College to Become Full Great Northeast Athletic Conference Member Beginning in 2022-23

Oct. 27, 2020, 9:11 a.m. (ET)

Content courtesy of GNAC
Image courtesy of Elms College Athletics

WINTHROP, Mass. – The Great Northeast Athletic Conference is pleased to announce the addition of Elms College as its newest core member institution, as announced by longtime GNAC Commissioner Joe Walsh on Thursday morning. The Blazers will join the GNAC ranks beginning with the 2022-23 academic year.

Located in Chicopee, Mass., Elms is currently a member of the New England College Conference and will continue NECC play through 2021-22. Founded in 1928, Elms has competed in the NECC since 2007. In that time, the Blazers consistently led the way in All-Academic selections and won 19 NECC Championships.

"Elms is a perfect fit for the GNAC, aligning with our core values and matching our current members geographically, academically, and athletically," said Commissioner Walsh. "We are most pleased at the opportunity to offer a first-class student-athlete experience for Elms College's programs beginning in Fall 2022."

"We believe that our affiliation with the GNAC will truly be a win-win partnership of like-minded institutions, as seven other private Catholic Colleges are currently among its members," said Elms College President Harry E. Dumay, Ph.D., MBA. "The GNAC Core Values of Community, Sportsmanship, and Integrity align closely with the Elms College Core Values of Faith, Community, Justice, and Excellence. Also, our student-athletes have competed with GNAC institutions in various sports both in- and out-of-conference and already feel at home with its level of competitiveness, sportspersonship, and comradery."

In switching conferences, it was important that Elms College align with one that puts equal importance on both academic integrity and athletic opportunity, said Athletic Director Michael Theulen, DPE.

"Elms College athletes have led academically in our current conference for the past six years, with nearly 70% maintaining a grade point average of 3.0 or higher," Theulen said. "Also, 48 student-athletes were recently inducted into the Elms College Chapter of Chi Alpha Sigma, a national honor society for student-athletes."

All 17 of the Blazers' varsity sport programs will compete within the GNAC: baseball, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's cross country, field hockey, men's golf, men's and women's lacrosse, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's swimming & diving, men's and women's outdoor track & field, as well as men's and women's volleyball.

The Blazers swimming & diving programs have already served as a GNAC associate member since 2006.

Elms is a private, Catholic coeducational liberal arts college founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Springfield, Mass. Located two miles north of Springfield and 90 minutes west of Boston, it grants associate's, bachelor's, master's, and doctor of nursing practice degrees. The college aspires to live and work according to the core values of Faith, Community, Justice, and Excellence.

The Maguire Center (pictured) serves as the home of the Elms athletic department, as well as its athletic gymnasium with a suspended indoor track, a 25-meter pool, a sports medicine facility and aerobics/weight rooms.

The exciting addition of Elms will make the Blazers' the 14th full GNAC member. Dean College is currently in its first year with the GNAC, while Regis College joined in 2017-18 and Colby-Sawyer College was added in 2018-19.