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President Wilson praises Dr. Aaron Lazare's leadership

Statement by University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson

Dr. Aaron Lazare to retire as Chancellor and Dean of the University of Massachusetts Medical School

It is with no small measure of sadness that I have accepted Dr. Aaron Lazare's health-related decision to step down as Chancellor and Dean of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. As a colleague and friend, Aaron's well being is of greatest importance to me, and I know that the entire University of Massachusetts community joins me in wishing him a very speedy recovery. Indeed, I am heartened to know that after what we hope will be a brief respite to recuperate, Aaron will continue to serve the University and the Medical School as the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor in Medical Education and professor of psychiatry.

Ever since my arrival at the University of Massachusetts, I have been profoundly impressed by the achievements and growth of the Medical School. Our Worcester campus has enjoyed phenomenal success under Aaron's leadership over the last seventeen years. In concert with colleagues and collaborators, his accomplishments have crossed many boundaries and built many bridges. Aaron's record of accomplishment constitutes a performance standard that many will seek to emulate but that few, if any, will ever equal.

Through Aaron's dedicated stewardship, UMass Medical School has forged strong and productive relationships with other institutions of higher learning, with prominent members of the business community, and with a wide range of existing and emerging biotechnology companies. He has led the institution through a number of initiatives that have strengthened the Medical School's research, educational and clinical endeavors, including the merger with the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research and the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center and the incorporation of the Massachusetts Biologic Laboratories into the University system.  He fostered the growth of a thriving research enterprise and the creation of an environment where great faculty do great things - as exemplified by the recent Nobel Prize awarded to UMass Medical School Professor Craig C. Mello.  

Because the circumstances that have caused Aaron to retire as Chancellor arose without warning, I will work with the campus leadership in the coming days to make arrangements for interim appointments, and will in due course define a search process for a Chancellor. In recent weeks, I have been significantly involved in the search for a Dean/Executive Deputy Chancellor -- a process that commenced in May 2006. I have been taking an active role in discussions regarding this search and will update the campus community on the process of those negotiations as they continue.

I know I am joined by current and former University, state and federal officials as well as by thousands of faculty, students and staff who have worked or studied at UMass Medical School during Aaron's tenure, when I extend my sincere gratitude and appreciation to him during this period of transition. I look forward to the recruitment of new leaders who will rise to meet the sterling example that he has set for us all.




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