President Caret mounts statewide bus tour, points to 'singular contribution' as UMass approaches 150th anniversary
SPRINGFIELD -- President Robert L. Caret today launched a four-day, 500-mile statewide bus tour aimed at highlighting the contribution that UMass makes to the state of Massachusetts and the contribution that public higher education has made to the nation.
"We live in a state rich in colleges and universities. Throughout the world, the name Massachusetts is synonymous with higher education excellence. While we have these many great schools, I would argue that the University of Massachusetts stands out in a particular way and has a singular importance to the state," President Caret said as the bus tour got under way with stops in Springfield, Holyoke, Hadley and Lowell. President Caret is on the road as UMass prepares to celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2013.
"We are the research university that wakes up in the morning thinking about how to make Massachusetts a better place in which to live, raise a family, start a business, buy a house, build a career and educate one's children.
"For 150 years, the University of Massachusetts has been guided by its singular mission of serving the people of Massachusetts and building Massachusetts into the great state that it has become. The Commonwealth's cause has been - and always will be - our cause," President Caret said.
The bus tour is President Caret's second in as many years. Last year, as the newly arrived president of the five-campus, 71,000-student UMass system, President Caret traveled the state asking regional leaders how UMass could increase its local and statewide impact and seeking support for the University and its mission of education, research and public service.
This year's trip features stops in:
A detailed itinerary is available at: www.massachusetts.edu/bustour2012.
Expected to join President Caret during the tour are Senate President Therese Murray, House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo, Education Secretary Paul Reville and Henry M. Thomas III, the chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. UMass campus Chancellors also will participate.
President Caret said that UMass is a major engine for social and economic progress in Massachusetts, a status, he said, that befits its land-grant heritage.
"With a record 71,000 students enrolled on our five campuses, we are the largest university in the state - the largest university in New England. Eighty percent of our students come from Massachusetts, and most will remain here after they graduate. We award nearly 15,000 degrees every year, which means that 15 percent of the degrees minted in the Commonwealth annually bear the name University of Massachusetts. Nearly 250,000 UMass graduates live in Massachusetts, which means that we have an enormous impact on the work force, on the economy and on society," he noted.
President Caret added: "The University of Massachusetts attracts nearly $600 million a year in research funding, and the licensing income earned from faculty discoveries reached $54 million last year, making UMass a national leader in this area."
This year marks the 150th anniversary of the signing of the 1862 bill that created the nation's public, land-grant universities. A year later, in 1863, Massachusetts used its land-grant funding to establish the Massachusetts Agricultural College - now the University of Massachusetts - in Amherst.
The school established in Amherst has since grown to become the largest public research university in the region and is the flagship in a system that has been named as one of the top 100 universities in the world by the Times of London's World University Rankings.
"In many ways, the Morrill Land Grant Act, signed by President Lincoln in July of 1862, during the darkest days of the Civil War, is one of the most important pieces of legislation in our nation's history. It represented the democratization of higher education and had as its goal making sure that higher education would be available to the many and not just be the province of the few," President Caret said.
The Morrill Land Grant Act is responsible for the establishment of some of the nation's most prestigious public research universities, the University of Massachusetts among them.
The four-day, 500-mile bus tour includes visits to alumni start-up companies, business incubators, UMass research centers and other key university landmarks across the Commonwealth. The tour, highlighting 150 years of UMass academic excellence and economic contributions, includes stops at the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke, the UMass Gloucester Marine Research Station, the UMass Cranberry Station in Wareham and UMass Dartmouth's MBA program at Cape Cod Community College.
This year's bus tour is sponsored by Morgan Stanley, which has made a contribution that will be directed to the University's scholarship fund.
"I want to thank Morgan Stanley for joining us in this effort and for making a scholarship-fund gift that will benefit future students. This support is very much in keeping with public higher education's mission of providing all citizens access to high-quality, transformative educational opportunities," President Caret said.
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