News: Featured Stories

June 18, 2016

UMass Boston’s honors college signs MOU to create Roxbury prep pipeline


  • Boston
In May, UMass Boston’s Honors College signed a memorandum of understanding to create an Honors College admissions pipeline for talented Roxbury Prep high school students. This memorandum focuses college access for these high school students, and it could include a dual enrollment course

As the entire Roxbury Prep High School freshman class looked on, UMass Boston’s Honors College signed a memorandum of understanding last month to create an Honors College admissions pipeline for talented RPHS students.

Roxbury Prep will identify which students will be selected to potentially enter the Honors College starting in 2018-2019. It is expected admissions will be focused less on standardized testing scores and more on leadership and community service. Also as part of the agreement, UMass Boston will invite the high school to special events and will offer information sessions targeted toward college readiness. There’s also the potential of a dual enrollment course, where the Honors College will offer a one-semester honors class to Roxbury Prep students.

The partnership holds special meaning for UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley, who, along with Evan Rudall and John King, now the U.S. Secretary of Education, started the original, Mission Hill campus of Roxbury Preparatory Charter School in 1999.

“Each of our institutions was designed to open up more opportunities for students to excel when they are provided with the proper tools, training, and mentors that support their success. We take our ties to the community seriously, and we each share an ambitious vision for growth to offer more students purposeful and challenging educational experiences that will set them on the path to professional and personal fulfillment,” Motley said in a video message before signing the MOU on camera. The chancellor drew cheers as he talked about how the school has grown to include the Lucy Stone Campus, the Dorchester Campus, and Roxbury Prep High School.

At the May 18 event, Roxbury Prep High School Principal Shradha Patel added her signature to the MOU, along with Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Winston Langley and Honors College Dean Rajini Srikanth.

“What is amazing is that since 1999, there has been a legacy built, and our dream has always been that every single student at Roxbury Prep enter, succeed, and graduate from college. Each of you represents the dream that started then – for all our middle schoolers to not just have a college education, but to build that bridge through high school,” Patel said.

“It is my hope that with my colleagues here, with your leaders within your high school, that we will see this signing as the first, public, official step in helping each other because you have much to teach us also,” Langley added.

Describing the Honors College, Srikanth said, “The Honors College is a particular part of the university that welcomes students that want to challenge themselves intellectually, that want to push themselves to achieve some really complex issues – to think in deeper ways. Most of the people who solve the problems we face, whether we face them in our neighborhoods or whether we face them in our cities and countries, do so because they are able to bring together ideas from many different fields of knowledge.”

While the Roxbury Prep students were on campus, they had a chance to meet with representatives from 12 different campus departments and take a campus tour. They also got a chance to experience an Honors College lecture. Barbara Lewis, director of the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture, hosted a panel on the significance of hip-hop featuring Professor of American Studies Rachel Rubin and Assistant Professor of Africana Studies Veronique Helenon.

About UMass Boston
The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve more than 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit