Agreement Aids Transfers from Holyoke Community College to Commonwealth Honors College

CHC interim Dean Daniel Gordon, left, and HCC President William Messner.

 AMHERST, Mass. – A new agreement signed today by Holyoke Community College and Commonwealth Honors College at the University of Massachusetts Amherst streamlines the transfer process to attract highly qualified students to both schools.

According to the agreement, students at HCC in an approved MassTransfer program who complete the HCC Honors Program with a 3.4 grade point average or higher will be guaranteed acceptance into Commonwealth Honors College. HCC students who do not complete the Honors Program at HCC but maintain a minimum 3.5 GPA for two or more semesters and are in an approved MassTransfer program will also be offered entry into Commonwealth Honors College. To transfer, HCC students must also meet all other UMass Amherst transfer admission criteria.

“Commonwealth Honors College and the UMass Amherst campus offer an appealing local option for highly motivated HCC students who aim to continue their education within an academically rigorous four-year institution,” said Daniel Gordon, interim dean of Commonwealth Honors College.

“We’ve long known that our graduates are capable of succeeding at the highest levels,” said Matthew Reed, HCC vice president for academic affairs. “This agreement is recognition from the flagship public university in Massachusetts that HCC graduates are academically prepared to work with the very best.”

The agreement provides for collaborative program development, which may include offering the CHC honors seminar, “Ideas that Change the World,” on the community college campus, and creation of an inter-institutional learning community course taught jointly by professors from HCC and CHC.

“I think there is a lot of potential here,” said Vanessa Martinez, coordinator of the HCC Honors Program. “Anything that provides a clearer pathway to a four-year school with a strong academic program is a plus for our students. I see this as a way to increase visibility for our Honors Program and increase the visibility for Commonwealth Honors College among our honors students who are looking for a viable state option where they can pursue their bachelor’s degrees.”

Under the agreement, HCC honors students on a transfer track to UMass Amherst will be invited to attend lectures, presentations and other events at CHC, and the university will host an HCC day at the CHC Residential Community for interested students.

“HCC students contribute to creating a more diverse student body on the flagship university campus and also within the honors college,” said Gordon.

Holyoke Community College is the Commonwealth’s oldest community college, serving more than 12,500 students annually in credit and noncredit programs and courses. The college holds articulation agreements with more than 30 colleges and universities. Recognized for its Honors Program, distance learning curriculum, learning communities, and service to students, HCC also offers business development opportunities through the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development. For more information, visit

Commonwealth Honors College offers highly motivated UMass Amherst students an opportunity to pursue broad inquiry and to engage in the creation of new knowledge by working closely with faculty. With a commitment to building a diverse and inclusive community, Commonwealth Honors College encourages students to become leaders in thought and action. Learn more at