Ralph Crowley Jr. to deliver Nichols College Commencement Address

April 4, 2024
Pitter to receive honorary degree

Dudley, Mass.– Nichols College has announced that Ralph Crowley Jr., president and chief executive officer of Polar Beverages, will give the Commencement Address at the 2024 commencement exercises on Saturday, May 4.

Mr. Crowley has led Polar, founded in 1882 and the largest privately owned sparkling beverage bottler in the country, since 1992. Under his leadership, Polar has grown from an $18M to a $1B enterprise. Polar made several key acquisitions of manufacturing facilities that accelerated the growth of the company, including Adirondack Beverages in Scotia, New York, Polar South of Fitzgerald, Georgia and Polar Texas Bottling in Temple, Texas. Polar also gained significant market share through the distribution of seasonal Polar Seltzer flavors while concurrently embracing heritage recipes, such as Polar Orange Dry and Birch Beer, that reflect the company’s roots.

Mr. Crowley was instrumental in bringing the Worcester Red Sox to Central Massachusetts and serves on the organization’s Board of Directors. The Woo Sox play their home games in Polar Park. He and his siblings also own Wachusett Mountain Ski Area in Princeton, Massachusetts. He is widely known for his philanthropic leadership in Worcester and beyond and serves on numerous nonprofit boards and advisory councils.

Mr. Crowley received a BA from Bowdoin College and an MBA from Clark University. He will receive an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration, as will Amy Pitter, former chief executive officer of the Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants.

Ms. Pitter led MassCPAs from 2015 until her retirement in December 2023. The organization represents 11,000 accounting professionals across the Commonwealth, including those serving in public accounting, business, government, nonprofit and education. As CEO, Ms. Pitter developed programs to help accounting professionals prosper, while building the pipeline of accountants and increasing diversity in the profession.

Prior to her stint as CEO, Pitter served as commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. She boasts more than 25 years of experience helping government agencies transform their businesses. She earned a BA from Connecticut College, an MA in accounting from Northeastern University, and a JD from New England School of Law.

About Nichols College  

Nichols College has earned business accreditation from the prestigious Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International), the longest serving global accrediting body for business schools and the largest business education network connecting learners, educators, and businesses worldwide. Founded in 1815, Nichols College transforms today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders through a dynamic, career-focused business and professional education. Nichols offers real-world learning focused on professional depth – combined with vibrant living, competitive athletics, and an unmatched alumni advantage – equipping students to exceed their own expectations. To learn more about Nichols College, visit www.nichols.edu.  

Media Contact:  

Denise Kelley  

Marketing and Communications Writer/Editor