Nichols College President Susan West Engelkemeyer Named to Worcester Business Journal’s Power 50 List of Influential Leaders

Members of the Power 50 can be CEOs, small business owners, college presidents, nonprofit leaders, volunteer heads of community projects, and anyone who can use their influence to make change in Central Massachusetts.



DUDLEY—Worcester Business Journal (WBJ) has named Nichols College President Susan West Engelkemeyer, Ph.D., to its 2019 Power 50 List of the most influential leaders in the Central Massachusetts economy.

On Nichols College’s 5th Annual President for a Day event, held in April 2019, President Engelkemeyer was a “student for a day,” while senior Austin DuVarney ’19 took over her duties. (Lorraine U. Martinelle photo)

“Those named to the list must not only hold a significant amount of power, but they also must wield it in a way to have an outsized influence on the community,” said WBJ Editor Brad Kane on May 24, 2019. “Members of the Power 50 can be CEOs, small business owners, college presidents, nonprofit leaders, volunteer heads of community projects, and anyone who can use their influence to make change in Central Massachusetts.”

Worcester Business Journal attracts a readership audience of business decision-makers who are managing businesses large and small. More than 90 percent of its readers are the senior executive in their organization. In addition to being the key decision-makers in their organizations, WBJ readers are also well educated and highly affluent. The publication’s readers have for the past five years chosen Nichols College as the “Best College for a Business Education” in Central Massachusetts.

On the Power List, President Engelkemeyer is recognized in the “education and advocacy” category. Power List members also represent “economic development,” “health care,” “manufacturing,” “culture,” “food/drink/marijuana,” and “money and influence.”

“I am honored to be recognized by the Worcester Business Journal and to be included on this prestigious list of incredibly dedicated and innovative community leaders,” said Dr. Engelkemeyer, who was appointed the seventh president of Nichols College on August 1, 2011. “Like many small, private colleges, Nichols is an economic engine of the communities surrounding the College. Our staff and faculty live in the area, and our students support local businesses on a daily basis. In addition to direct support, our students develop consulting reports for local organizations; work and volunteer at organizations like the Webster-Dudley Boys & Girls Club; and serve as mentors with Big Brothers Big Sisters.

“Central Massachusetts has great promise when compared to the Boston area, in large part due to much more affordable housing and far less traffic,” added President Engelkemeyer. “Those working on Worcester’s Renaissance have a bold and innovative vision for the future of the region. Additionally, the number of colleges and universities in the region recruit and develop talent, and we expose young adults to the Central Mass. area.”

In her profile, WBJ states that Nichols is a small college in a rural town—yet it “punches far above its weight. As the pool of traditional college applicants has dwindled, the business-focused college has held its own under the leadership of Engelkemeyer. … Last year, the College created a finance lab to give students access to real-time market information. Nichols isn’t done making sure its graduates are in demand. This fall, the College begins new majors in digital and social media marketing, marketing analytics, and corporate finance and investments.”

As president, Dr. Engelkemeyer oversees a student body of 1,500 full-time and part-time students who are enrolled in Nichols’ undergraduate, graduate, and certificate programs, and an alumni body of more than 12,000. Under her leadership, Nichols has attained record enrollment and retention rates, and completed the College’s largest capital campaign.

In 1990, Engelkemeyer’s professional home was Babson College. Her responsibilities as a tenure-track faculty member were combined with significant administrative responsibilities that ranged from the One Year M.B.A. program director, to Fast Track M.B.A. program developer, to director of quality for the College. In her early years at Babson, she was a member of the Cabinet who led a transformation initiative that resulted in significant improvements in Babson’s competitive position. Fourteen years later, she joined the administration at Ithaca College as dean of the School of Business and professor of management. From 2009 until her appointment as president at Nichols in 2011, Engelkemeyer was dean of the Charlton College of Business at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth.

She holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Management from Clemson University, an M.B.A. from East Carolina University, and a B.A. from Stephens College.

Engelkemeyer was an entrepreneur for seven years prior to pursuing her advanced degrees.  She has consulted with large manufacturing firms, partnered with a small business broker on the valuation of small, privately held manufacturing firms, and worked with campuses on using the Baldrige framework and the implementation of assessment systems. Her research has been published in the Journal of Innovative ManagementQuality Management Journal, and Quality Progress; and she has presented her research nationally and internationally.

President Engelkemeyer serves as a board member of the Association of Independent Colleges & Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM), and the Webster/Dudley United Way. She is a member of the Hearing Committee of the Massachusetts Board of Bar Overseers. She has served as a peer review team leader for the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International) and has chaired site visit teams for the New England Association of Schools & Colleges (NEASC). She is a former member of Board of Directors of the National Association of Independent Colleges & Universities (NAICU) and served on its Committee on Accountability. She also served on the Board of Directors of the Higher Education Consortium of Central Massachusetts (HECCMA). Engelkemeyer also served on the Board of Directors for GOAL/QPC for over 20 years, a nonprofit organization whose training, products and services focus on quality improvement and performance excellence. She was a senior examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award for six years and served on the 13-member Baldrige Board of Overseers for three years. She served on the Board of Governors for the Beta Gamma Sigma International Honor Society for three years.

Engelkemeyer received the Massachusetts ACE Women’s Network Leadership Award in 2017.  This award recognizes women at any stage of their careers who exhibit leadership in mentoring, promoting, and encouraging women in the field of higher education in Massachusetts. The awardees exemplify the principles of the ACE National Network: IDEALS, which stands for Identify, Develop, Encourage, Advance, Link, and Support women to advance their careers.

Lorraine U. Martinelle is director of public relations and social media at Nichols College. Email story ideas to

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