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June 13, 2018

UMass Dartmouth bestows honor on President of Portugal, strengthens relationships with Portuguese universities

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  • Dartmouth
Chancellor Robert E. Johnson presents Chancellor’s Medal to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa at State House ceremony, signs higher education agreements aboard tall ship Sagres

UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Robert E. Johnson awarded the university Chancellor’s Medal to President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa of the Portuguese Republic today at the annual State House Day of Portugal celebration.

Following the State House ceremony, at which state lawmakers honored Portuguese-Americans who have made major contributions to the civic, cultural and economic life of the Commonwealth, Chancellor Johnson joined President De Sousa and Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa aboard the tall ship Sagres for the signing of student and faculty exchange agreements between UMass Dartmouth and several Portuguese universities. Prime Minister Costa will be receiving the Chancellor’s Citation for his work towards the educational exchange.

“UMass Dartmouth is honored to be the preeminent university in America dedicated to the study, teaching, and sharing of knowledge related to the Portuguese-American experience,” Chancellor Johnson said. “The economic and cultural bonds between our university, our region, and the Portuguese-speaking world are vast, strong, and filled with even greater potential.”

The exchange agreements are between UMass Dartmouth and the University of Algarve, University of Aveiro, University of Coimbra, University of Minho, University of Porto, and the Camões Instituto da Cooperação e da Língua. The Camões Instituto is the lead Portuguese government unit responsible for the internationalization of higher education.

“The opportunities that spring from these agreements will strengthen UMass Dartmouth’s ability to provide a private college educational experience and a public university value,” Chancellor Johnson said. “Connecting our Tier 1 National Research University to the world-class universities of Portugal promises great advancements in teaching and research that benefit our communities.”

The agreements grew out of a February 2018 visit by Chancellor Johnson to Portugal where he met with university officials and Camões Instituto representatives as part of his effort to enhance UMass Dartmouth’s relationship with the Portuguese-speaking world. UMass Dartmouth is located in a region with one of the highest concentrations of Portuguese-Americans in the United States.

“The agreements signed between UMass Dartmouth and Portugal’s higher education institutions highlight years of collaboration,” said Portuguese American Legislative Caucus House Chairman, State Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral. “It is critical that we continue investing in these academic partnerships, which provide for advancements in our respective economies.”

Remarking on Day of Portugal, Portuguese American Legislative Caucus Senate Chairman State Senator Marc R. Pacheco said “It was a pleasure to host Chancellor Johnson from UMass Dartmouth for this year’s Portuguese Heritage Day event. The Chancellor’s Medal is a great honor and President Rebelo de Sousa is certainly a worthy recipient. I’m proud of the University and its commitment towards strengthening its ties with the rich Portuguese culture flourishing here in the Commonwealth.” 

As a sign of his commitment, Chancellor Johnson recently moved the Center for Portuguese Studies and Culture from the College of Arts and Sciences to the Office of the Chancellor. UMass Dartmouth also houses the nationally recognized Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, Department of Portuguese, and the Tagus Press, which publishes Portuguese literary works. Items from the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives will be on display at the State House for Day of Portugal events.

UMass Dartmouth’s connection to the Portuguese-American has recently grown beyond its historical focus on culture and literature to science, health care and business:

  • The School for Marine Science and Technology has formed a doctoral education partnership with Brazil’s University of São Paulo Institute of Oceanography.
  • The College of Nursing partners with the University of the Azores on the “Bridging the Atlantic” community nursing student exchange program.
  • The Charlton College of Business and Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship bring students to a “Startup Weekend” entrepreneurship forum at the Nonagon Science and Technology Park in the Azores.
  • The Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship is advising the Azores business and government community on the development of a technology incubator.
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