NESADSU Celebrates 80th Anniversary


For more information, contact:
Tony Ferullo (617) 573-8448

Years ago, Bill Davis said that the New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University (NESADSU) is “the best kept secret in Boston.”

That statement may have been true back then, but it’s not anymore. Now celebrating its 80th anniversary, NESADSU is well known by everyone for its various programs designed to meet the educational and professional requirements of people within the local area and beyond.

A unit of the College of Arts and Sciences, NESADSU provides its students with an intensive art and design education while preparing its graduates to be creative and responsible members of a global society. 

According to Davis, Chairman of NESADSU, the 1996 merger between the New England School of Art & Design (NESAD) and Suffolk University satisfied the needs of both institutions, resulting in a stronger whole and creating a dynamic educational presence in the city of Boston.

“NESADSU achieved the financial stability it had long sought, as well as access to liberal arts studies and a range of student services,” said Davis. “Suffolk, meanwhile, gained an established and well-regarded art department with 80 years experience in providing practical and personalized education to generations of aspiring artists and designers.”

Davis explained that a Masters Degree Program in Interior Design is now being offered at NESADSU and plans are currently underway for a similar program in Graphic Design. He also pointed out that the number of students attending the school is at an all-time high.

“Due in large part to the merger, enrollment at NESADSU has skyrocketed to over 400 students,” said Davis. “Our rapid growth has made the acquisition of additional space necessary, and since the merger, our facilities have expanded from 18,000 square feet to 33,000 square feet.”

The New England School of Art (NESA) was founded in 1923 in order to provide programs for students wishing to enter the professional world of art and design. In 1936, the school relocated to 186 Massachusetts Avenue, and then to 257 Commonwealth Avenue in 1941. At that time, there were 16 instructors, 239 students and a tuition fee of $225 per semester.

Following a few more moves, the school relocated to 28 Newbury Street in Boston’s Back Bay in 1975 and was re-named the New England School of Art & Design (NESAD), more accurately reflecting the range and scope of the institution. In March of 1996, NESAD merged with Suffolk, thus becoming the New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University (NESDASU).

Today, thanks to the continued growth of the school’s wide range of programs, NESADSU occupies the entire second floor, as well as much of the basement, at 75 Arlington Street. This particular space, renovated to meet the needs of the school and its students, includes air-conditioned studios for foundation, graphic design, interior design and fine arts classes.

It also has a gallery to display the exhibition of work created both inside and outside the school community; an arts library (electronically tied to the Sawyer School of Management Library); and faculty and administrative offices.

“The merger with Suffolk has enabled us to do things that we wouldn’t be able to do as an independent school,” said Sara Chadwick, Director of Administrative Services at NESADSU. “Many of our people feel a very strong connection to NESADSU, both in their personal and professional lives. And every year our numbers continue to grow, as well as our reputation.”

Suffolk University, located on Boston’s historic Beacon Hill, with campuses in Madrid, Spain and Dakar, Senegal (Africa), is a comprehensive global institution distinguished by its teaching and the intellectual contributions of its faculty. Suffolk offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs in more than 70 areas of study. Its mission is to provide quality education at an affordable cost for students of all ages and backgrounds. Suffolk has a combined enrollment of more than 7,000 full-time and part-time students at its Law School, College of Arts and Sciences and Sawyer School of Management.

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