President Meehan arrives
- The UMass System
New UMass President Marty Meehan officially launched his presidency today by pledging to champion the causes of quality, affordability and diversity and by establishing the goal of building UMass “into the best public university system in the nation.”
Holding a roundtable discussion with students at UMass Boston, President Meehan noted his own background as a graduate of UMass Lowell and said: “As a UMass graduate and thus as someone who once sat where you sit today, it is important to me to begin this journey with students.”
President Meehan added: “I was one of seven kids who grew up in a section of Lowell where people worked hard but didn’t have a lot in terms of material possessions. But, we had family; we had a strong sense of community; and we had UMass.
“I have boundless appreciation for the difference the University of Massachusetts made in my life, and now it is my privilege to carry this University’s torch so that you and thousands of other students across the Commonwealth will have the opportunity to see your dreams come to life.”
President Meehan, a former member of Congress who has served as the chancellor of UMass Lowell for the past eight years, succeeds Robert L. Caret, who stepped down to become chancellor of the University System of Maryland.
Meehan was the unanimous choice when the Board of Trustees met on May 1 to select a new leader. Trustees cited his strong record of achievement and success at UMass Lowell, his distinguished record of public service, his passion for UMass and its mission, and his ability to communicate and to inspire as being among the reasons for selecting him as the University’s 27th president. Meehan is the first UMass undergraduate alumnus to serve as President of the five-campus, 73,000-student system.
Noting that he was pleased to host the new President’s first visit to a UMass campus, UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley said: “I want to thank President Meehan for visiting the University of Massachusetts Boston to launch his presidency of this great university system. President Meehan gets it. Like many of our students, he was the first generation in his family to attend college. He is a product of UMass Lowell, and a shining example of what a UMass education can do.”
President Meehan said visiting UMass Boston was fitting because the campus is celebrating its 50th anniversary and thus has a particular focus on its achievements and impact.
“Within a relatively short period of time, within my lifetime a university came into being that now produces more than 3,500 graduates a year, played a key role in the cleanup of Boston Harbor, has taken on the challenge of addressing health disparities, and is now exploring the fundamental issues of our American Democracy in partnership with the new Edward M. Kennedy Institute,” President Meehan said.
He added: “Our city, our state, the nation and the world would be poorer indeed if the Commonwealth hadn’t responded to the vision of a great urban public university. UMass Boston vividly illustrates the theme of impact that I plan to talk about in my new position. And the story of the UMass system as a whole is a story of impact.”
During his conversation with the UMass Boston students, President Meehan said he plans to institute an internship program that will bring a steady flow of UMass students into the President’s Office, and noted that he would anticipate UMass Boston students figuring prominently in the program.