The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is a 13-member NCAA Division III athletic conference with sponsoring 20 conference championships with more than 3,200 student-athletes competing. Current members are: Albertus Magnus College, Anna Maria College, Colby-Sawyer College, Emmanuel College, Johnson & Wales University (R.I.), Lasell College, Norwich University, Regis College, Rivier University, University of Saint Joseph (CT), Saint Joseph's College of Maine, Simmons University, and Suffolk University.
Originally consisting of 11 founding institutions in 1995, there were six programs competing in men's sports (Albertus Magnus College, Daniel Webster College, Emerson College, Endicott College, Johnson & Wales (R.I.), and Rivier University. The six were joined by, at the time all-female institutions, Emmanuel College, Pine Manor College, University of Saint Joseph (CT), Simmons College, and Suffolk University to form the 11-member conference. In 1998, the conference expanded to 14 schools to include Norwich University, Western New England College, Southern Vermont College, while welcoming men's sports at Suffolk University.
The GNAC welcomed Lasell College, Mount Ida College, and Saint Joseph’s College of Maine in 2007, before Anna Maria College joined in fall of 2011. The conference continued its expansion in 2017, bringing in Regis College then Colby-Sawyer College in 2018 to bring it where it stands today with 13 full-time members to go along with 12 associate members. Emerson College and Wentworth Institute of Techology compete in men's volleyball, UMass Darmouth, Worcester State University, Rhode Island College, and Southern Maine compete in men's golf, Elms College and Husson University are members for men's and women's swimming and diving, while Eastern Nazarene College is an associate member in men's and women's tennis. Additionally, Ramapo College, Rutgers-Camden, and Rutgers-Newark are associate members in men's tennis.
Phil Rowe of Daniel Webster College was elected the conference’s first commissioner in 1995. He was succeeded by Jim Domoracki of Rivier in the fall of 1996. Dave Morris of Johnson & Wales was elected in June 1997. Donna Ruseckas of Daniel Webster took over for Morris in July 1999. Mike Theulen of Western New England served from August 2000 to August 2001. John Parente of Johnson & Wales served from August 2001 until Joe Walsh became commissioner in August of 2005.
The Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) is an NCAA Division III association made up of 13 member institutions and over 3,000 student-athletes across the New England region. Founded in 1995, the GNAC annually sponsors and administers 20 championships, while balancing academic integrity, athletic opportunity and community involvement in an effort to enhance the student-athlete experience.