President Caret launches third statewide bus tour, focuses on UMass impact and need for public and private support
SPRINGFIELD -- Pointing to "the critical impact that the University of Massachusetts has on our state and its future," President Robert L. Caret today launched his third statewide bus tour.
This year's tour, titled "Commonwealth Tour 2013: Commitment, Quality, Impact," gets under way this morning in Springfield and will include stops in Hadley, Lowell, Fall River, New Bedford, Hingham, Boston and Milford.
"The University of Massachusetts has a critical impact on our state, educating 72,000 students, awarding more than 15,000 degrees and conducting $600 million in research annually," President Caret said. "We shape the future by educating the citizens of today and tomorrow, by conducting research that fosters innovation and by delivering service to every corner of our state."
President Caret added: "Our singular impact comes as a result of UMass closely adhering to the public university land-grant mission that was born a century and a half ago. We are the University that wakes up every day asking: How can we make life better in Massachusetts?"
During the course of the tour, President Caret will meet with business leaders, public higher education partners, representatives from key and emerging industries, a delegation of mayors, successful alumni and others.
Historic funding increase
"I am pleased to join President Caret in discussing the great impact this University of Massachusetts has on the Commonwealth and in expressing how grateful we are for the historic expression of support we have received from Governor Patrick and the Legislature this year. We will also talk about the importance of private support and how we are going to intensify our efforts in this crucial area," said Chairman Thomas, who also serves as president of the Urban League of Springfield.
UMass received an unprecedented $49 million funding increase from the state for the current budget year, and the Legislature has expressed its intent to provide a comparable increase in 2014-2015.
This year's increase came as President Caret was advancing a 50-50 funding proposal under which the state was asked to provide an additional $100 million in funding over two years, with the goal of equalizing the amount of money that students and the state provide for the University's educational programs.
Under the 50-50 proposal, the University said it would freeze tuition and mandatory fees if the state could provide a significant infusion of funds. With the state's increase in funding, UMass has frozen those student costs this year and would institute another freeze if the state is able to provide a second year of 50-50 funding.
$1 billion fund-raising campaign
With state-funding - stagnant for a decade and a half leading up to this year - now on the rise, UMass is gearing up to launch its first system-wide fund-raising campaign with the goal of dramatically increasing the private funds flowing into the university. UMass hope to raise $1 billion over the next seven years through the capital campaign.
"Taken in tandem, a major infusion of public and private funds will give UMass the financial strength it needs as it completes its first 150 years and prepares to make an even more profound contribution to the Commonwealth," President Caret said.
Efficiency and accountability
UMass also is focused on efficiency and accountability. Over the past five years, the University has saved $68 million through efficiency steps and expects to save another $123 million over the next five years. To make it easier to gauge how UMass is faring in key areas, the University is preparing to release and publicize an annual performance report.
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