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Robert C. Holub tapped for UMass Amherst Chancellorship

UMass President Jack M. Wilson today announced that he will recommend that Robert C. Holub, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Tennessee's flagship campus in Knoxville, become UMass Amherst's new Chancellor.

"Robert Holub is a distinguished scholar, a proven administrator and is driven by a desire to make UMass Amherst one of the premiere public universities in the nation," President Wilson said. "Excellence has been the hallmark of Dr. Holub's academic career and will be his watchword and goal at UMass Amherst."

Holub has served as the University of Tennessee Knoxville's chief academic officer for the past two years. Before that, Holub was at the University of California Berkeley for 27 years, achieving the rank of full professor and serving in several administrative posts. From 1991 to 1997, he chaired Berkeley's German Department, which was ranked the best in its field in 1995 by the National Research Council.

In 2003, Holub was named Dean of Berkeley's Undergraduate Division of the College of Letters and Science. In that position, he was responsible for the education of 18,000 undergraduates on the Berkeley campus. During his three-year tenure as dean, Holub introduced significant reforms in general education, undergraduate advising and educational policy.

In advancing his recommendation, President Wilson said: "Robert Holub is dedicated to the cause of public higher education. He has studied and taught at public universities that are among the best universities in the nation, and he will now bring a commitment to excellence to our flagship campus in Amherst."

President Wilson's recommendation now goes to the University's 22-member Board of Trustees, which will hold a special meeting on Monday.

The selection of Dr. Holub would mark the culmination of a search process that began last August and included an unprecedented campus and community outreach effort.

Robert J. Manning, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees, described Holub as "an inspiring and accomplished new leader for our flagship campus."

"Robert Holub is committed to the very best in undergraduate and graduate education and also understands the many ways that our University must serve the Commonwealth," Manning said.

Jennifer C. Braceras, a UMass trustee who chaired the UMass Amherst search committee, said: "Dr. Holub's varied experience at a range of public institutions gives him a unique perspective on where we are and where we want to be 10 years from now.  We can feel confident that Dr. Holub has the experience and the drive to lead our flagship into the top tier of public universities in the nation."

Grace K. Fey, a former chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees who served on the search committee, said: "As a former Chair of the Board of Trustees, I have been privileged to have had the opportunity to work with some of the most talented higher education leaders in the country.  I am impressed by Dr. Holub's energy, optimism and ambition for UMass Amherst.  I am confident that he will take our flagship campus to the next level and be an excellent colleague to President Wilson and to chancellors Collins, MacCormack, Meehan and Motley."

Eugene Isenberg, a search committee member and president of the University of Massachusetts Amherst Foundation, said: "I am delighted with this process and delighted with President Wilson's selection of Robert Holub from among four outstanding Chancellor finalist candidates. I believe that the University of Massachusetts will grow better and stronger under Dr. Holub's leadership."

Max Page, a UMass Amherst professor who served on the search committee and is president of the Massachusetts Society of Professors, said: "The Massachusetts Society of Professors is thrilled that UMass will gain a scholar and administrator of such great stature to lead the flagship campus in Amherst to new heights.  And we are pleased to welcome a leader who understands how to build and support a great faculty and respects the long tradition of unionization and faculty governance on the campus."

Henry Thomas, a UMass Trustee who served on the search committee, said: "I am excited about the possibilities for UMass Amherst, as a result of President Wilson's selection of Dr. Robert Holub. Dr. Holub has all the attributes necessary to advance the University to tremendous academic and research heights. I am encouraged and excited that Dr. Holub has an appreciation for and a willingness to build expanded linkages with Springfield and the entire Western Massachusetts region, to assist in its economic, social and cultural growth."

"I am delighted that President Wilson has chosen to advance a candidate with great academic credentials and with a demonstrated commitment to leading public institutions of higher learning. Dr. Holub is a respected and learned scholar and also has experienced best practices in excellent public institutions across the country. His commitment and dedication to scholarship and research and to undergraduate education delivered in an environment characterized by an understanding of mutual obligation, open dialogue, access, and respect will help to take UMass Amherst to the next level," said Shaw Hsu, a UMass Amherst professor who served on the search committee.

Holub, 58, said he was "pleased and honored" to receive President Wilson's recommendation.

"I appreciate the tremendous expression of confidence that I have received from President Wilson and eagerly await the Board's action," he said.

"This is an outstanding University that aspires to rise even higher. I was attracted to this position because President Wilson, the Board of Trustees and the UMass Amherst community all harbor an ambitious vision for this campus. It is a vision that inspires me and calls me to this great flagship campus," Holub said.

As a scholar and teacher, Holub specializes in nineteenth- and twentieth-century German intellectual, cultural and literary history. In 12 books and more than 100 articles and essays, he deals with issues ranging from periodization in the early nineteenth century and German realism, to aesthetic theory and postwar confrontations with the Holocaust. He has written extensively on the poet Heinrich Heine, the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche and the postwar social theorist J├╝rgen Habermas.

As Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Tennessee, Holub has primary responsibility for the academic activities on the Knoxville campus, overseeing the education of approximately 20,000 undergraduate and 6,000 graduate students.

Holub was born on August 22, 1949, in Neptune, New Jersey. He attended public schools in Belmar and Asbury Park before matriculating at the University of Pennsylvania in 1967. He originally planned to become a physician and graduated with a degree in Natural Science. However, his career plans changed in his senior year, and after working for a year at a pharmaceutical firm in Philadelphia, he began his studies in Comparative Literature at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He earned two MAs (in Comparative Literature and German) and completed his studies with a PhD (in German) from Wisconsin in 1979.

Holub and his wife Sabine have three children: Madelaine, who will complete first grade this spring; Shoshanah, an active preschooler, who will enter kindergarten next fall; and Natalie, who was born in February of 2007. From a previous marriage he has a son, Alexei, who received a PhD from Cal Tech in Computation and Neural Systems in June of 2007.

UMass Amherst is the flagship campus in the five-campus University of Massachusetts system. UMass Amherst has a total enrollment of 25,873 students and 210,262 alumni, 101,803 of whom live in Massachusetts. The campus received $146,323,000 in research funding in Fiscal Year 2007.

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073


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