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Board Elects Stephen Tocco as New UMass Chair

Stephen P. Tocco was elected Chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, as the Board today held a special organizational meeting in Boston.

Tocco, who has served as Chairman of the state Board of Higher Education since 1999, said he was "pleased and honored" to be assuming the leadership of the 22-member UMass Board.

"I welcome this opportunity to serve," Tocco said. "The University of Massachusetts is a major asset for this state, it is key to our future success as a Commonwealth. We need to make sure that the University is positioned to serve the state's many educational, economic and social needs."

"The University has an enormous role to play in the Commonwealth. It has to lead this Commonwealth forward," he said.

Tocco said he looked forward to working with the members of the UMass Board, noting: "Collectively, we can make a huge difference in the lives of a lot of people."

Tocco succeeds Karl E. White, who formerly served as vice chairman but moved up to the chairmanship when former Chairman James J. Karam's term expired earlier this month. Tocco said he will continue to serve as chairman of the Board of Higher Education until a successor is appointed. At today's meeting, Tocco's name was placed in nomination by Trustee Robert B. McCarthy and seconded by Trustee Robert K. Sheridan.

Commenting on the election, UMass President Jack M. Wilson said: "Steve Tocco has been serving the Commonwealth for more than a decade and a half in a variety of capacities, most recently as the chairman of the Board of Higher Education. Steve's inexhaustible supply of ideas, his boundless energy and his immense capacity for hard work are recognized far and wide."

President Wilson praised Karl White as, "a stalwart member of this Board for many years, handling every assignment with diligence and good cheer, sharing his astute business sense and keen intellect, providing wise counsel, and remaining cool and calm in any and all circumstances. Karl White has been and will continue to be a terrific Trustee."

Tocco, 59, has served as state Secretary of Economic Affairs and was special assistant to former governors William F. Weld and Paul Cellucci. As Secretary of Economic Affairs, Tocco was the author of the state economic blueprint report, Choosing to Compete. He served as executive director of the Massachusetts Port Authority from 1993 to 1997. Tocco has been chairman of the Board of Higher Education, which oversees the state's 29 public campuses, since 1999. Tocco was U.S. Rep. Edward Markey's executive assistant from 1976 to 1980.

The 22-member Board of Trustees, consisting of 17 gubernatorial appointees and five student Trustees, is the governing body of the five-campus University of Massachusetts System. With campuses in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester, the 57,000-student UMass system is the largest university in New England.

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


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