News: Press Releases

October 6, 2015

Marty Meehan to be inaugurated as the 27th president of the University of Massachusetts

President Meehan sets inauguration goal of raising $1 million for scholarships, says “path to opportunity” must remain open; officials note UMass emergence as a global innovation leader

BOSTON -- Marty Meehan will be inaugurated as the 27th president of the University of Massachusetts in a ceremony to be held on November 12, the university announced today, Oct. 6.

The inauguration will focus on the university’s role as an engine of transformation, highlighting the impact UMass has on students and families across the Commonwealth.  It will also celebrate the university’s emergence as a world-recognized research and innovation leader. In keeping with the focus on students, a goal of raising $1 million for student scholarships has been established.

“The University of Massachusetts truly is here for a reason – and that is to transform the lives of our citizens, and in so doing, to transform the Commonwealth and the world. What better moment to express that message than as we inaugurate the first undergraduate alumnus to become president of the UMass system,” said Victor Woolridge, chairman of the university’s Board of Trustees.

Chairman Woolridge, a graduate of UMass Amherst, also noted that the UMass system last month was named to Thomson Reuters listing of the World’s Most Innovative Universities. UMass ranked 57th in a Top 100 that Thomson Reuters said for the first time identified universities that, viewed through the prism of innovation, were “the best in the world.”

President Meehan’s inauguration will take place at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, the non-profit, non-partisan educational institution that opened this year on the campus of UMass Boston.

“My intent is to use this occasion to highlight the inspiring work that takes place every day on our campuses. I want to celebrate the University that changed my life -- and today changes the lives of more than 73,000 students a year,” said President Meehan, who graduated from UMass Lowell in 1978 with a degree in education and political science.

President Meehan’s inauguration will bring together members of the UMass community, civic and business leaders and representatives of other colleges and universities. Governor Baker is slated to speak and to play a role in the official investiture ceremony.

President Meehan, the former chancellor of UMass Lowell and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, said he decided from the outset that generating funds for scholarships would be a central focus of the inauguration.

“When I see students walk through our doors, I am reminded of my own experience and recognize how much UMass changed my life,” he said. “Knowing the vital difference that the University of Massachusetts makes in the lives of its students, I want to be sure that the path to opportunity remains open.”

Scholarship funds raised at the inauguration will benefit students on all five campuses. Last year, UMass students received $236 million in financial aid directly from the university, almost all of the money coming in the form of scholarship grants.

President Meehan said he also wants to highlight the research and innovation achievements of the UMass faculty – work that has propelled the University to top-tier status in areas including: research expenditures, the receipt of U.S. patents, and licensing-income derived from faculty discoveries.

UMass also provides the state with a high-quality workforce integral to its innovation economy, producing more computer science, business management, health care, physical science and biomedical science graduates than any other higher education institution in Massachusetts, he noted.

“The work of our faculty on all five campuses is expanding the boundaries of human understanding, saving and improving lives around the world and enhancing our economic well-being here in Massachusetts,” President Meehan said. “We are recognized as a major research university because we have a faculty that is relentless in its pursuit of knowledge – and that is an asset we need to appreciate and celebrate.”

President Meehan added: “I am truly honored to have been entrusted with the presidency of this distinguished university, and I will work tirelessly to continue the quest to provide the citizens of the Commonwealth with a public research university that is second to none.”


Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073