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4Cs Funeral Service Program Receives Accreditation from American Board of Funeral Service Education

April 22, 2021

Nearly three years after taking on the Funeral Service program from Mount Ida College after their sudden closing, Cape Cod Community College (4Cs) has received accreditation from the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE). This makes Cape Cod Community College the only public institution with an accredited Funeral Service Program in New England accredited by ABFSE, the premiere agency in the field.

On April 6, 2018, the leadership in the Funeral Service program at Mount Ida received the news that their college would be shuttering their doors, leaving the historic program with an uncertain future. Just four days later, Cape Cod Community College President John Cox and Dean Patrick Preston traveled to Mount Ida and started the process of building an academic “teach out” plan to make the existing students whole and bring the program to 4Cs.

Over the course of just a few months, Cape Cod Community College built out a one-of-a-kind Funeral Service laboratory and learning space on the campus of nearby Bridgewater State University (BSU), allowing students to live on campus so they could finish their degree in the teach-out program accredited by ABFSE. In January 2019, the displaced Mount Ida students were pinned as graduates of Cape Cod Community College. In Fall 2019, the first full cohort of new students started at 4Cs, taking their classes at BSU.

“It really is staggering to think how fast we went from meeting with the students displaced from Mount Ida, to becoming the only accredited ABFSE Funeral Service program in a public college in New England,” said President John Cox, “We knew at the outset how important and historic this program is, and how critical it is to the communities we serve.  Our Funeral Service practitioners play an immensely important role in our lives providing dignified death care experiences, and they need and deserve a world-class education. We are immensely proud of our Funeral Service students and graduates, our academic leadership in the program, and our program advisors from the Funeral Service and support professions who have helped us get here today.”

The Funeral Service program at 4Cs has a storied history in New England. Originally starting with industry pioneer A. Johnson Dodge in 1907 in West Roxbury, MA, the program made its original home in Boston’s Kenmore Square before moving to Mount Ida College in 1989. Historic materials and equipment from the Dodge family are still on display today at 4Cs Funeral Service lab space.

“It is worth noting that going from teach out to full accreditation in less than three years is not a common occurrence,” said Arlene Rodriguez, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs for Cape Cod Community College, “This historic moment is thanks in large part to the academic leadership in Funeral Service Program Coordinator Dan Shea and Professor Jeff Megna. Dan and Jeff came to us from Mount Ida and their expertise, knowledge, and hard work have been critical to our success. We are grateful for bringing our program to prominence in New England. Our students are fortunate to have them.”

The first full cohort of 4Cs Funeral Service students will be celebrating their graduation during next month’s Virtual Commencement ceremony on May 27, 2021. Registration is open now for the next cohort starting September 2021 on the Bridgewater State University campus. For more information about the Funeral Service program email Dan Shea at dshea@capecod.edu.