Pine Manor College President Thomas M. O’Reilly and Lasell University President Michael B. Alexander announced that Lasell University is now the new home of the highly regarded Solstice Low-Residency Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing Program.
According to the memorandum of understanding (MOU), which has been approved by the Department of Higher Education of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the New England Commission on Higher Education, Solstice staff, faculty, students, and alums will join the Newton-based Lasell University community.
Established in 2006, the Solstice program is a nationally recognized graduate writing program devoted to nurturing new and emerging voices of America and beyond. The program and its mission, as well as the appointment of diverse, award-winning faculty and writers-in-residence—including Terrance Hayes, Renée Watson, Dennis Lehane, José Angel Araguz, and Sandra Scofield, among many others—underscores Lasell University’s commitment to fostering the next generation of creative thinkers, makers, leaders, and doers.
“For more than 100 years, Pine Manor College has provided a student-focused education and personalized mentoring grounded in the liberal arts tradition,” said President O’Reilly. “Everyone at Pine Manor College welcomes this new agreement with Lasell University where we know this beloved and highly impactful program will continue to thrive.”
The Solstice MFA Program, which requires two years of creative and critical writing, is widely recognized for academic excellence. Thirty percent of the program’s alums have published at least one book since graduation. In addition, the work of program graduates regularly appears in literary journals and many Solstice alums secure teaching positions in higher education with others earning additional postgraduate degrees and fellowships.
“The Solstice MFA Program—with its reputation for inclusion and excellence—is a valuable addition to Lasell University’s academic offerings,” said Lasell University President Michael B. Alexander. “The adoption of this program reflects Lasell’s commitment to the arts and will serve to enhance the university’s reach and impact.”
“Pine Manor College provided fertile ground for the Solstice Program to launch and grow, thanks to our shared belief in the importance of building diverse communities,” said founding director Meg Kearney. “With a cadre of world-class writers, a rigorous curriculum, and a commitment to social engagement, we have built an inclusive, supportive environment for writers of every background. We are grateful to President Alexander and Lasell University’s leadership team for recognizing the program’s reach, value and rich history.”
ABOUT PINE MANOR COLLEGE
As an undergraduate institution consistently ranked among the most diverse in the country, Pine Manor College emphasizes an inclusive, community-building approach to liberal arts education.
In May 2020, Pine Manor College and Boston College (BC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that integrates the two institutions in a common mission to serve underrepresented, first-generation, low-income students. While the establishment of the Pine Manor Institute for Student Success at BC is underway, PMC students can remain at their school in a teach-out agreement for a period that ends in summer 2022. PMC’s Solstice MFA Program was not part of the post-2022 MOU with BC, leading the way to the partnership with Lasell University.
ABOUT LASELL UNIVERSITY & THE SOLSTICE PROGRAM
Lasell is an independent coeducational University that emphasizes a combination of immersive learning and social and civic responsibility in both its graduate and undergraduate programs. Established in 1851, the institution is located on a 54-acre campus adjacent to a hub of professional and educational opportunities in Greater Boston. The school’s faculty practitioners offer rich industry expertise across more than 50 academic programs in areas including athletic training, business, criminal justice, health sciences, information technology, fashion, and hospitality management. A model for intergenerational learning, the campus includes two early learning centers and Lasell Village, the first-of-its-kind, college-sponsored continuing care retirement community with a learning mandate that has drawn international attention.
The Solstice MFA in Creative Writing Program reflects the University’s overall mission by creating a supportive, welcoming environment in which writers of all backgrounds are encouraged to take creative risks. We strive to instill in our students an appreciation for the value of community-building and community service, and to see engagement with the literary arts not only as a means to personal fulfillment but also as an instrument for social justice and real cultural change.
Quintin Collins, Solstice MFA Program Assistant Director
Ian Meropol, Lasell University Director of Communications