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University of Kentucky Provost Appointed Chancellor of UMass Amherst

"A proven leader" for the flagship campus

Dr. SubbaswamyBOSTON -- Dr. Kumble R. Subbaswamy, a physicist who is Provost at the University of Kentucky, was appointed tonight by the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees to lead the system's flagship campus in Amherst, capping a six-month nationwide search for a new Chancellor for the University's oldest and largest campus.

The Trustees voted unanimously in favor of Dr. Subbaswamy upon the recommendation of University President Robert L. Caret, who had been presented with four finalists chosen by the UMass Amherst Chancellor Search Committee.

Dr. Subbaswamy, a distinguished scholar and respected academic leader, assumes the Amherst chancellorship as the campus prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary next year.

"A proven leader"

"Moments like this define who we are as a University, what our values are, and what our vision is for ourselves and for the people of the Commonwealth. With that thought in mind, I am proud to recommend Dr. Kumble Subbaswamy -- a man who has devoted his life to pursuing excellence, to opening doors and to serving others," President Caret said.

"Dr. Subbaswamy is a proven academic leader who will guide the Amherst campus to new heights," President Caret added. "I firmly believe that he has the experience, the vision, the intellect and the drive needed to move our flagship campus forward."

"Dr. Subbaswamy often notes that he left his native India to come to here to seek the opportunity and gifts that this great nation bestows.  He will be a great and knowledgeable leader in what for our students is an increasingly global world," President Caret said.

President Caret thanked the Amherst Search Committee for doing "a superb job in bringing four outstanding candidates through the selection process."

Dr. Subbaswamy has been Provost at the University of Kentucky since 2006. He had joined the University's Physics faculty in 1978 after serving as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of California, Irvine. During his first 18 years at the University of Kentucky, he served as Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences and as Chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy.

As University of Kentucky Provost, he has made priorities of improving student retention and success and reforming the university's general education curriculum. He also supported faculty through improvements to the tenure and promotion process and enhancement of work-life benefits. Other focal areas included interdisciplinary research and training, internationalization, diversity and inclusion, and strategic planning and assessment.

Collaborative approach

The Chancellor-designate said he will work collaboratively with the other UMass campuses, industry and the local community. He also will focus on increasing student success, increasing social capital, and serving the Commonwealth and beyond in the tradition of the land-grant universities.

"I accept the position with humility and gratitude," said Dr. Subbaswamy. "I am inspired and excited by the confidence expressed in me by the Board of Trustees, President Caret and the campus community. I look forward to the challenges ahead, knowing full well that the campus is strongly committed to fulfilling its promise and mission as the Commonwealth's public university flagship. I look forward to visiting Amherst soon and then to returning to work shoulder to shoulder with our very talented students, faculty and staff. Given the warm reception I received during my recent campus visit, I am eager to move forward on this new journey. In many ways, UMass Amherst already feels like home." 
Dr. Subbaswamy was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Miami from 1997 to 2000, when he left to become Dean of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University in Bloomington, serving until 2006. He has been active in promoting life sciences-related economic development efforts in Indiana and Kentucky.  He is active in academia nationally and internationally, serving on a number of panels, including the American Council on Education and the German-American Fulbright Commission.

Dr. Subbaswamy holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Bangalore University, a Master of Science in Physics from Delhi University, and a Ph.D. in Physics from Indiana University. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 1989. His primary research area as a physicist was the optical properties of novel materials and nonlinear excitations.

Defining moment

"This is a defining moment in the history of UMass Amherst, and we believe we have found the right person in Dr. Subbaswamy, who will allow us to dream bigger and achieve more," said James J. Karam, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. "We are grateful to the UMass Amherst Chancellor Search Committee for providing us with such an outstanding pool of candidates, and we thank all of the excellent academics and administrators who were willing to participate in this process."

"We feel extremely fortunate to have Dr. Subbaswamy as the next Chancellor of UMass Amherst," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "I am confident he brings just the right set of qualities to advance our goals for both the campus and the system as a whole."

The 18-member search committee, established this past September, was comprised of UMass students, faculty, graduates and members of the Board of Trustees. The committee, working with the national executive search firm Witt/Kieffer, sought input from the Amherst campus and external groups through a series of public meetings, and the University established a Chancellor-search website to keep stakeholders informed. A large candidate pool met the University's commitment to excellence and diversity.

The finalist candidates each spent a day on the Amherst campus meeting with students, faculty, graduates and community leaders, who then presented their thoughts to President Caret through an evaluation form.

"We were fortunate to find such an impressive group of candidates to present to President Caret and the Board of Trustees," said Philip W. Johnston, a UMass Trustee and UMass Amherst graduate, who chaired the search committee.  "I thank all of them for their time and energy and for sharing their wisdom and vision for what will make our great campus in Amherst even better, and I extend my congratulations and a warm welcome to Dr. Subbaswamy."

Dr. Subbaswamy succeeds Chancellor Robert C. Holub, who has led the campus since 2008. During his tenure, Dr. Holub established records in research awards ($170 million), in fundraising ($57 million), and improved undergraduate student retention and graduation rates. Under his leadership, the campus also produced the most diverse student body ever, saw a record number of applications for admission, and higher SAT and GPA scores for incoming students.

"The next Chancellor will be taking charge of a campus that is better today than it was four years ago because of Bob Holub's leadership and hard work," President Caret said.

Contact:  Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073; Ann Scales, 617-287-4084


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