By Kelly L. Anderson
PBN Staff Writer
Richard I. Gouse has been president of the New England Institute of Technology and its predecessor – the New England Technical Institute – for 40 years. His first job was as a laborer at a Massachusetts trade school founded by his father and grandfather.
After four decades on the job, Gouse’s vision remains as important as ever. This year has marked a particularly important time for the school, which recently moved into a new campus in East Greenwich. Additionally, NEIT implemented a two-year tuition freeze for students who enroll before Dec. 31.
PBN: Is seems that education has been an integral part of your life? Why is that?
GOUSE: While I never dreamed of being president of a college, it is where life has taken me and every step along the way made sense to me. With so much involvement in technical education in my family history, I guess it’s just in my DNA.
PBN: Why did you start the trade school?
GOUSE: The really most important thing is that they are usually the first to graduate from college. They often didn’t like school and had bad experiences with their education, but in any case they found the courage to go back to school and earn a degree and find a good job. And I think that’s pretty heroic. I think it’s one of the greatest qualities of Americans and I get a thrill every year when I go to graduation and see those students who have succeeded. That’s really what has driven me over the years.
PBN: How did you and your father become involved with the predecessor to NEIT?
GOUSE: In his particular case it was that he had sold the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Trade Shop Schools. The Massachusetts Trade Shop Schools was one of the early ITT schools [and] now is one of the nation’s largest chains. And he had a contract with them, which he fulfilled and he wanted to go on and do something independently. He had known Mr. Earle over the years and Mr. Earle called and said, “My school is really in trouble and would you want to help?” I was in Providence because I went to Brown. … I had gotten accreditation for the Rhode Island Trade Shop Schools and that was one of the first things that needed to be done over at New England Tech, so it was kind of a natural thing for me.