1896 Speare assumed the position of Educational Director of the
Evening Institute of the Boston YMCA, where he taught algebra, arithmetic
and English. Motivated by his interest in expanding educational
opportunities for young men who would otherwise have few or none,
Speare transformed the loosely organized school into an institute
of higher learning that eventually became Northeastern University.
In his first year as director, Speare expanded the course curriculum
and instituted rules and regulations stipulating, among other things,
a miminum level of attendence and examinations.