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Dr. Robert C. Holub approved as UMass Amherst Chancellor

BOSTON -- Acting on President Jack M. Wilson's recommendation, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees today approved Dr. Robert C. Holub as the new Chancellor of the University's flagship campus in Amherst.

Holding a special meeting in Boston, UMass trustees approved the Holub recommendation on a unanimous vote.

"Robert Holub is a renowned scholar and a proven administrator, and I am confident that he has the intelligence, vision and skills to be an outstanding leader for our flagship campus," President Wilson said in recommending Holub, who currently serves as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Tennessee's flagship campus in Knoxville.

"Dr. Holub's combination of strengths - noted scholarship, strong administrative skills and visionary and strategic leadership - sets him apart. Dr. Holub believes that UMass Amherst is an outstanding university that can rise even higher and can take its place alongside the very best public institutions in the nation," President Wilson added.

Robert J. Manning, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees, said: "During his years at Berkeley, Robert Holub ascended the ladder of success at the institution often held up as the gold standard for public higher education in America. I am confident that he will work to bring the highest standards and the very best practices to UMass Amherst. Academic excellence and research excellence are his passions and will be his clear goals."

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

Speaking to the Board of Trustees, Holub said it was, "a great honor to be the incoming chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst," and talked about the importance of public higher education.

"Public higher education is the most powerful dimension of the American dream, which allows individuals with talent and ambition to achieve success, no matter where they start in life," Holub said, adding: "An investment in higher education is a great investment for any state to make; the returns are numerous and palpable. Truly, public higher education is the key to a citizenry that is healthy, wealthy and wise."

Holub described UMass Amherst as "the best public research campus in New England," noting: "Of this we should all be very proud. At the same time, however, this distinction is not enough. Perhaps my most important task as Chancellor will be to take UMass Amherst to a higher level.  Amherst cannot be content excelling among publics in New England. In my view, it should seek to compete with the best public institutions across the country."

Holub succeeds former Chancellor John V. Lombardi, who stepped down last year. Thomas W. Cole Jr. has been serving as interim Chancellor this year.

President Wilson paid tribute to Cole, noting: "Thomas Cole has been a seasoned, steady and successful leader for UMass during this past year. Although he has been in Amherst only a short time, Chancellor Cole will leave a lasting impression on our students, faculty and staff, and the University offers him its deepest gratitude."

Holub was named Dean of Berkeley's Undergraduate Division of the College of Letters and Science in 2003. 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.

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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