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University of Massachusetts to name scholarship fund recognizing public service in honor of President Jack Wilson

Outgoing President Honored at Event at UMass Club

BOSTON -- Outgoing UMass President Jack M. Wilson last night was described as "the world class leader of a world class university" at a tribute dinner where University officials announced the establishment of a scholarship that will bear President Wilson's name and support students with an interest in public service.

The Jack M. Wilson Presidential Scholarship Fund will commemorate President Wilson's strong record of accomplishment and create scholarship opportunities for students who demonstrate academic excellence and a commitment to public service.

The announcement of the scholarship fund was made at a dinner at the UMass Club celebrating the outgoing President last night. Members of the University of Massachusetts community and leading public officials attended the dinner.

"I am truly humbled by the creation of this scholarship fund in my name," said President Wilson. "It has been my great honor to lead this University, which means so much to the residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and to generations of our graduates. This fund reflects much of what I hold most dear, including a call to public service and an opportunity to reward hardworking and creative students.  I look forward to meeting the deserving students to whom this scholarship is dedicated."

The fund will be administered by the University of Massachusetts Foundation, which will allocate the funds to students at each of the five University of Massachusetts campuses and UMassOnline. The Fund has a current value of $2.125 million. President Wilson directed a significant donation toward the establishment of the scholarship.

"President Wilson's leadership, advocacy and hard work have had a tremendously positive impact on the University of Massachusetts and our Commonwealth," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "This scholarship named in his honor is a fitting tribute to his long and successful tenure and will ensure that future students continue to benefit from all that he has done to advance this great university."

Senate President Therese Murray said: "Students from yesterday, today and tomorrow will benefit from your efforts."

"President Wilson has guided the University of Massachusetts system to new heights," said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo.

Governor Patrick, who was unable to attend because of the need to oversee the state's tornado-response efforts, in a prepared statement said: "It has been an honor working with President Wilson over the last four and a half years. He has been a true partner in our mission to extend Massachusetts' educational leadership and grow our economy, and his record of achievements -- from the Holyoke High Performance Computing Center to increased commitments to financial aid -- leave an impressive legacy. I wish Jack and his family every blessing in the future."

James J. Karam, chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, said the scholarship fund will be "the most appropriate lasting legacy for a scholar, teacher and leader who always placed students and educational opportunity first."

"Over the past eight years of his presidency, President Wilson emphasized three key areas for growth: access and affordability for students, research and discovery to fuel the Commonwealth's innovation economy, and new facilities and needed renovations for students and researchers alike. It is no surprise that the University has developed tremendously in those areas. This scholarship is a testament to President Wilson's vision and hard work," Karam said.

Karam added: "President Wilson truly has been the world class leader of a world class university."

Jack M. Wilson became president of the University of Massachusetts system in 2003, after first establishing the successful UMassOnline effort.  Under his leadership, UMass spending on student financial aid increased 267 percent. In addition, research funding from the university has increased by 69 percent. In 2003, research expenditures were $320 million but by last year, they had reached $541 million.  During his tenure, the University's endowment grew by 257 percent from $146 million in June 2003 to $522 million as of March 2011.  Finally, over the last 10 years, the University has invested $2 billion in major capital projects, adding new classrooms, research facilities, and student housing.

President Wilson's tenure as president of the University of Massachusetts ends on June 30. It was recently announced that he will serve as interim president of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, which is affiliated with the University of Massachusetts Boston.  Additionally, he will serve as University Distinguished Professor of Higher Education, Emerging Technologies and Innovation, based at the University of Massachusetts Lowell.

 

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073

 

6/2/11

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Robert P. Connolly
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