The University of Massachusetts continues to make progress in realizing its long-term priorities and fulfilling its special role as the Commonwealth’s public research university. We embrace our core mission—to provide an affordable, high-quality, accessible education and to conduct programs of research and public service that advance knowledge and improve the lives of the people of the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.
Fiscal Year 2008 was one of achievement and progress. For example, the University was honored to play a vital role in the state’s efforts to promote innovation industries such as the life sciences and clean energy.
Fiscal Year 2009 is presenting challenges to the University as it has to every institution and household. Clearly, the road to realizing our ambitious goals for UMass is more difficult to navigate today than it was a year ago. The economic outlook for our Commonwealth and our nation is daunting; however, we have the right leadership team in place to navigate successfully the current environment and, significantly, guide UMass to its rightful place in the top echelon of public research universities in the nation. Our trustees have been vigilant stewards of our University, and we are grateful for their many contributions. The chancellors have demonstrated excellent leadership on their campuses, and we are committed to maintaining and building on their records of success.
The trustees, chancellors, and I are committed to managing University resources strategically to maximize the quality of every aspect of the student experience and the University’s enterprise. We are and must continue to be the high-quality, affordable choice for students and families seeking to realize ambitious academic goals. We will continue to meet our students’ financial aid needs with approximately $94.2 million in institutional aid funds, a University-provided source of aid that has increased 165 percent since FY 2003. We will continue to recruit and retain talented faculty dedicated to the practice of teaching who know the full value of research—both in the classroom and to our economy. We will move forward with our capital program, providing faculty and students with modern, 21st century facilities.
As you will read, UMass is actively and deeply engaged with the most compelling priorities of our age. Students and faculty are finding the keys in our genetic code to unlock breakthrough treatments and cures for disease. Partnerships uniting industry and academe are developing new, sustainable sources of energy that protect our global climate, open the door to economic growth, and promise an end to dependence on unstable energy sources. In our interconnected age, when global competition and opportunity might as well be around the corner, we are forging international ties that connect the University to the world and open the world to the University.
I would like to express my gratitude to you and the many other friends of UMass—elected officials, donors, parents, and other community leaders—who have done so much to sustain and advance the University. We continue to count on your support and advocacy as we work to achieve our shared aspirations for the University and the Commonwealth.
Jack M. Wilson, Ph.D.