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Congressman Martin Meehan chosen to lead Lowell campus

Acting on the recommendation of President Jack M. Wilson, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees today selected U.S. Rep. Martin T. Meehan as the new Chancellor of UMass Lowell.

"Congressman Meehan has a proven record of accomplishment. He is a leader, an innovator and has a demonstrated passion for higher education in general and UMass Lowell in particular. I believe that Marty Meehan will be a truly outstanding Chancellor. Marty Meehan won the hearts and minds of the campus constituencies during this process. We are very fortunate that he is willing to leave Congress in order to come home to UMass Lowell," President Wilson said in nominating him for the position.

Rep. Meehan succeeds former Chancellor William T. Hogan, who retired last year after serving as the leader of the Lowell campus for 25 years. David J. MacKenzie has been serving as interim Chancellor since Dr. Hogan's retirement.

Rep. Meehan is expected to assume the UMass Lowell chancellorship on July 1.

Rep. Meehan, a Lowell native and UMass Lowell alumnus, has served in Congress since 1993, representing Massachusetts' 5th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives. Before that, Rep. Meehan served as First Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County and as the Commonwealth's Deputy Secretary of State for Securities and Corporations. He earned a bachelor's in education and political science at UMass Lowell and MPA and JD degrees at Suffolk University.

The UMass trustees voted on the Meehan appointment as the Board met at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.

Stephen P. Tocco, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees, praised the search process that resulted in the selection of Rep. Meehan.

"I have been very impressed by this search process," Chairman Tocco said. "This process has been very focused and very efficient. This is a clear example of an outstanding process leading to the selection of a truly outstanding leader. I am confident that Marty Meehan will lead UMass Lowell to new heights. He is the right leader at the right moment."

Rep. Meehan, who has been described as one of the most effective members of Congress, said he was "pleased and honored" to be assuming the leadership of his alma mater.

"I owe the success that I have enjoyed in my life to the education and opportunities I received at UMass Lowell," Rep. Meehan said. "The University of Massachusetts is the indispensable university. I firmly believe that the University of Massachusetts will be the key to our success as a Commonwealth, and certainly UMass Lowell will shape the future of its region.

"A very great responsibility has been entrusted to me. Higher education transforms lives and transforms us as people. I can think of no more important work and no greater calling, and I thank President Wilson and the Board of Trustees for placing their confidence in me and for providing me with this chance to make a lasting contribution to our students and our state," Rep. Meehan added.

Rep. Meehan's appointment to the Lowell chancellorship brings a formal end to the search process that began last August, when President Wilson established a 21-member chancellor search committee, asking the panel to identify candidates who could lead the campus into "a new era of growth." Last month, the committee selected three finalists: Rep. Meehan, David C. Chang, the chancellor of the Polytechnic University in Brooklyn, and Nabil A. Ibrahim, vice chancellor for academic affairs and chief academic officer at Purdue University-Calumet.

"This has been a thorough and comprehensive search process. Our search committee reviewed more than 100 candidacies, interviewed nine candidates and ultimately came forward with three outstanding finalists. The University owes a debt of gratitude to the search committee and to the hundreds of members of the UMass Lowell community who participated in this process," President Wilson said.

The Meehan appointment was praised by campus, business and governmental leaders:

"Marty has been a true champion for Lowell and the Merrimack Valley, and our loss in the congressional delegation will certainly be UMass Lowell's gain. Marty has tirelessly fought for his constituents -- and all of Massachusetts -- to enhance economic prosperity, to ensure our service men and women are treated with honor and dignity, and to revitalize Lowell and Lawrence into first-rate cities on the cutting edge of innovation and development," said Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

Sen. John F. Kerry said: "Over the years, Marty has been a champion for UMass Lowell, especially its nanotechnology research program. He will undoubtedly ensure that the program, and the entire university, continues to be one of the best research and development programs and schools in the country. UMass Lowell is the economic cornerstone of the Merrimack Valley, and with Marty at the helm, the university will no doubt continue to grow and will strengthen the region's economic resurgence."

William H. Swanson, Chairman and CEO of Raytheon Company, said: "Congressman Marty Meehan's eight terms in the United States House of Representatives, his roots in Lowell, his ability to work with business and his background as an alumnus of UMass Lowell provide a solid foundation for serving as Chancellor. We believe that he has the leadership qualities to help the university sustain the pipeline of talented graduates, and the focus on innovation needed to fuel the state's future prosperity and growth. For all of these reasons, we fully support President Wilson's recommendation to the Board of Trustees and their appointment of Marty Meehan."

Said Joyce Plotkin, President of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council: "On behalf of our members in the technology industry, I applaud this outstanding appointment. I don't know of anyone with a stronger commitment to the success of UMass Lowell than Marty Meehan. He has the leadership skills, knowledge and contacts necessary to take UMass Lowell to the next level, to build bridges between the campus and the business community, to grow the base of support for the university, to enhance the opportunities for UMass Lowell and its graduates and to strengthen the role of the university as a driver of the local economy."

Christopher R. Anderson, President of the Massachusetts High Technology Council, added: "While Congressman Meehan's leadership, particularly on defense issues, will be missed in Washington, he has the skills and experience to be an exemplary chancellor for UMass Lowell. Massachusetts needs a world-class UMass to help the state compete in the global economy and Marty Meehan will be a critical partner in President Jack Wilson's strategy for taking the system to the next level."

Former Chancellor William T. Hogan applauded the decision, saying: "Of all the public leaders that I collaborated with during my 25 years as chancellor, two of them most clearly understood the University's responsibility to assist public- and private-sector efforts to attain a robust economy and vibrant society - the late Senator Paul Tsongas and Congressman Marty Meehan. Congressman Meehan is uniquely qualified to take the University to the next level."

Professor Julie Chen of the Mechanical Engineering Department and director of the UMass Lowell-based Massachusetts Nanomanufacturing Center of Excellence, said: "Marty Meehan has the national and international connections that will help raise our image and our resources. He's been a strong supporter of the Nanomanufacturing Center at UMass Lowell and has opened doors to both technical and monetary resources. Even though his background is not in the sciences, he appreciates the importance of research and knows what it takes to succeed."

And Professor Susan Braunhut of the Biological Sciences Department said: "The other candidates would do a good job, but at the end of the day, it would just be a job. For Marty, serving the University also means serving his neighbors and serving his community - to him it would never be just a job."

The University of Massachusetts is the state's largest university, with 58,939 students enrolled on the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester campuses. There are 11,208 students -- 8,649 undergraduate and 2,559 graduate -- enrolled at UMass Lowell.


Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073 (office), 617-548-0238 (cell)


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