President’s Winter Quarterly Report: Inspired by our students

Since its earliest days, the University of Massachusetts has been about the future – creating better futures for our students, the Commonwealth and the world. We are an institution of education and transformation. We stand with our students as they build their future and ours.

As we begin the new year, I look back at the past year with great satisfaction and look ahead to what I see as a future of endless possibilities.

This optimistic outlook may surprise those who feel worn down by the daily headlines, constant conflict on social media, and the complex problems we confront close to home and around the world. My explanation, when asked about my abiding confidence, is a simple one: our 74,000 students. I see their extraordinary talents and their unyielding desire to make the world a safer and fairer place.

I want you to meet some of our UMass students. In them we can see the promise of a bright tomorrow. I hope you will be as inspired by them as I am. 

A look back at 2023

UMass enjoyed success on every front, thanks to the work of our faculty, staff and campus leaders – and the diligence of our 74,000 students. We are also fueled by the support of our partners in state government, our alumni and our many friends. Here is some of what was accomplished during the past year: 

UMass awarded degrees to 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students – with nearly three-quarters remaining in Massachusetts to build their lives and careers and join our 330,000 in-state alumni to create an even better Massachusetts. 

UMass graduates 20,000 students.

Research and discovery drives our state’s innovation economy and we were proud to report that our systemwide research enterprise grew to a record $813 million -- an eight percent increase over the previous year. The greatest concentration of UMass research activity -- with 93 percent or $754 million -- is in STEM fields. This includes $463 million in the life sciences, a critical economic sector for Massachusetts.

Two UMass students working in a research lab with samples.

The five-campus UMass system generates an annual $8.3 billion in economic activity and supports nearly 40,000 external jobs across Massachusetts, according to a new report. We’re proud of this record-breaking performance – and proud to be an economic engine for the entire state.

Construction workers posing for a picture in front of a renovated UMass building.

UMass played a major role in the successful effort to bring a major new federal health entity to Massachusetts. The Investor Catalyst Hub will work to foster collaboration among researchers, entrepreneurs and investors to accelerate innovative ideas that will transform health care.

Stock photo of a man and woman working together in a research lab.

UMass awarded $395 million in university-generated financial aid to students last year. That’s $22 million more than the previous year -- and $185 million more than a decade ago.

2023 UMass Dartmouth graduates smiling at commencement.

Our university continues to attract great talent from across the country. We were proud to recruit  Dr. Javier Reyes of the University of Illinois – Chicago as Chancellor of UMass Amherst and Sam Panarella of the University of Montana as Dean of UMass Law, the Commonwealth’s only public law school.

UMass Amherst Chancellor Dr. Javier Reyes


Sam Panarella Appointed New Dean of the UMass DartmouthSchool of Law

A long tenure of distinguished leadership received formal recognition when we named UMass Boston’s first-ever residence halls in honor of former Chancellor J. Keith Motley and his wife, Angela Motley.

Unveiling of UMass Boston's new residence halls on campus.

UMass early college enrollment continued to grow with these students earning course credits while still in high school, getting a head start on their college education, becoming acquainted with college-level work, and saving them money when they do go to college.

Yanckee Deleón (left) and Catherine Moyes (right), two current Brockton High students participating in Commonwealth Collegiate Academy

And then there are the thousands upon thousands of discoveries, teaching moments, inspirations, civic engagements, and innovations that happen on our campuses and don’t make headlines or social media posts. They are the essence of the university and should give us all hope and optimism about 2024 and beyond.