History

The Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium (MHEC) is a nonprofit purchasing consortium established in 1977. In 1975, the Governor of Massachusetts, Michael Dukakis, formed a Management Task Force consisting of 65 specialists and administrators. The Task Force recommended the formation of a buyers’ consortium encompassing all of the Commonwealth’s public institutions of higher education. Governor Dukakis accepted the recommendation and ordered steps be taken to create a buyers consortium.

This action by Governor Dukakis led to the formation in 1975 of a Committee to Improve Buying Procedures for State Institutions of Higher Education. The Committee was composed of individuals engaged in purchasing activities for the University of Massachusetts and other state educational institutions. The Committee worked for the next two years to create the buyers’ consortium mandated by Governor Dukakis, and the culmination of the Committee’s efforts resulted in the creation of the MHEC in 1977.  The task of following in the mission of the task force was completed by Jake Bishop, Director of Procurement at UMass Amherst at the time.  Jake Bishop was the inspiring leader of the MHEC until his retirement in 2008. 

The initial membership of the MHEC was comprised of Massachusetts public institutions of higher education as well as a few private Colleges known as the Five Colleges, Inc buying group. These included Amherst College, Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The goal was to provide and manage contracts for goods and services using group buying best practices for its member institutions. Currently our New England members include public and private colleges and universities, municipalities, the State College Building Authority, The Museum of Fine Arts, WGBH public television, The Massachusetts Trial Courts and Elderhostel.

Please reference Massachusetts General Law Chapter - Chapter 15A: Section 24A. Cooperative purchasing; Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium

Mission

The Massachusetts Higher Education Consortium (MHEC) is the premier source for regionalized New England group purchasing in the United States. We strive to be the consortium of choice for our members by providing multi-vendor contracts that are the best in the industry in terms of cost avoidance, product and service depth, vendor quality, choice and terms; and by being an active catalyst for local and regional small business participation, including women and minority-owned companies. We support the success of our members and vendors by engaging their input and providing consulting support, customized reporting, special events, education programs and communications forums that encourage a vibrant, interactive, regional marketplace and learning community. We are committed to staying on the leading edge of technology as an integral part of our delivery model. Our service to our members will be the best in the industry and our business model will provide a "best practices" template for other consortia, in the US and around the world.