News: Press Releases

April 6, 2017

J. Keith Motley steps down as chancellor of UMass Boston

Leader who guided UMass Boston through 10-year period of significant growth and transformation to join faculty

Chancellor J. Keith MotleyBOSTON – After leading the University of Massachusetts Boston for 10 years, Chancellor J. Keith Motley today informed UMass President Martin T. Meehan of his intention to step down on June 30, 2017.

“It has been my honor and greatest pleasure to serve as chancellor of UMass Boston,” said Motley. “I love this university, and my years here have been among the best of my life. It has been deeply rewarding to see how much we accomplished together. Bringing people from many communities into one community to do great things – often against great odds – is in the nature of this place.”

After a sabbatical, Motley will return to UMass Boston as a tenured faculty member.

“Chancellor Motley is an inspirational leader whose decade at the helm of UMass Boston resulted in strengthened academic programs, increased enrollment and the transformation of the campus,” said Meehan. “He concludes his tenure as chancellor having successfully elevated the institution while preserving its vital mission and its contributions to the City of Boston and the Commonwealth.”

UMass Board of Trustees Chair Robert J. Manning praised Motley’s accomplishments.

“In a rapidly changing and increasingly competitive higher education landscape, Keith Motley guided UMass Boston through a period of significant growth and transformation,” said Manning. “I look forward to not only witnessing but being fully engaged in his future endeavors at UMass Boston, in the Boston community and beyond.”

Motley became Chancellor of UMass Boston on July 1, 2007. During his tenure:

  • Enrollment grew by 25 percent, from 13,433 students in 2007 to 16,847 this year.
  • Research funding increased by 53 percent, from $41.8 million to $63.8 million.
  • The Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education designated UMass Boston as an institution of “higher research activity” (2016).
  • UMass Boston, for the first time in its history, was ranked in the top category (National Universities) in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges rankings (2016).
  • UMass Boston received the Carnegie Foundation’s Community Engagement Classification, considered the gold standard for measuring the service that universities provide to their local communities (2015).
  • The UMass Boston Honors College was created (2014).
  • UMass Boston opened its first new academic buildings in decades as well as the Venture Development Center, a campus-based technology and life science incubator (2009).

Meehan announced that Deputy Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer Barry Mills will serve as interim chancellor at UMass Boston beginning July 1, 2017 and until finances are stabilized and the university is positioned to attract a world-class chancellor through a global search. Mills will not be a candidate for permanent chancellor.

UMass Boston, the city’s only public research university, is known for offering high-quality academic programs and for conducting research in areas that directly affect people’s lives, such as public health, education and the environment. UMass Boston faculty researchers played a significant role in planning and executing the cleanup of Boston Harbor and are now working to eliminate racially based health disparities. UMass Boston has a major cancer research partnership with the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. The university attracts students from throughout the nation and 150 countries.