News: Press Releases

Marty Meehan and John A. Quelch
April 30, 2015

UMass search committee names Meehan, Quelch presidential finalists

  • The UMass System
UMass Board of Trustees poised to elect new president for five-campus system

BOSTON – April 30, 2015: A Search Committee today named two finalist candidates for the UMass presidency, describing both as “outstanding candidates eminently capable of leading the institution that will guide Massachusetts into the future.”

The finalist candidates named by the Search Committee are: Marty Meehan, the Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and John A. Quelch, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and the former Dean, Vice President and Distinguished Professor of International Management at China Europe International Business School.

The selection of the finalists sets the stage for the possible election of a new UMass system president when the University’s Board of Trustees meets tomorrow in Boston.

“We are impressed by the high caliber of the candidates put forward and appreciate the Search Committee’s extremely impressive work,” said Victor Woolridge, chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. “I look forward to the Board bringing this process to a timely and successful conclusion when it meets tomorrow.”

The University is seeking a successor to President Robert L. Caret, who will step down June 30 to become chancellor of the 12-campus University of Maryland system.

The finalists were selected when the UMass Presidential Search Committee met in public session in Boston.

“The University of Massachusetts is, at its heart, an institution of transformation. It exists to transform lives, to transform the Commonwealth and even to transform the world. The person who leads the University thus takes on a solemn responsibility and must be someone who can guide, build and in some ways transform the University itself,” noted Robert J. Manning, chairman of UMass Presidential Search Committee.

“It is a big job, the stakes are very high, and the members of this Search Committee should be very proud of the work we have done and of the names we have put forward. We are advancing outstanding candidates eminently capable of leading the institution that will guide Massachusetts into the future,” Manning added.

Manning, the Chairman of MFS Investment Management and a UMass Lowell graduate, said the finalist candidates have strong backgrounds in higher education and also have the experience and ability needed to lead and strengthen a multi-campus university system.

“More and more students are going to be looking to the University of Massachusetts in the years to come, and we need to be sure that our system has the assets it needs to provide a world-class education for those students. By climbing into the ranks of the Top 100 universities in the world, we have reached an elite level, but we can get even better and serve even more students,” Manning said.

The UMass presidential search began on February 6, 2015, when the Board of Trustees established a 21-member Search Committee consisting of faculty members from all five UMass campuses, three students, community and business leaders, and members of the UMass Board of Trustees, including state Secretary of Education James A. Peyser.

The Search Committee was asked to present a list of finalists to the UMass Board of Trustees at the earliest possible date, in pursuit of the goal of having a new president on board when President Caret steps down June 30.  It was also deemed important to conduct the search as rapidly as possible so that the University could stay in sync with the academic cycle and avoid the prospect of having someone serve as interim president for a lengthy period.

The candidate pool for the position was developed via steps including:

  • The search firm, Korn Ferry, reviewing the credentials of several hundred prospective candidates
  • The position being advertised nationally in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Inside Higher Ed, Women in Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and Hispanic Outlook
  • Korn Ferry contacting nearly 80 prospects and bringing 20 declared and prospective candidates forward for the Search Committee’s serious consideration

While there was a need to act as expeditiously as possible, there also was the clear need to keep the public informed and to seek public input as the process unfolded. And to that end, the presidential search has included:

  • Two public Search Committee meetings leading up to today’s third meeting
  • Public forums held on each of the five UMass campuses

“This Committee, when it was formed, was presented with a tall order – and that was identifying outstanding candidates for the UMass presidency and doing so in an expeditious manner. We needed to move forward as quickly as possible but still be comprehensive and far-reaching in our search and seek significant public participation. My firm view is that we have met and have exceeded our charge by bringing forward distinguished candidates, either of whom could lead the University of Massachusetts forward and continue its impressive trajectory of progress and growth,” Manning said.

“Our accomplishment would not have been possible without the hard work of the members of the Committee, and I want to commend my colleagues for the passion and diligence they brought to this task. I am thankful for the dedication of all our members and gratified that we could meet all our goals and present the board such outstanding finalists,” Manning added.

“As one of the student representatives on the search, I was very pleased with the process as well as the outcome,” said Patrick Lowe, a UMass student trustee and a member of the Search Committee.  “I believe we are putting forward great candidates, either of whom would do tremendous things for the students of UMass.”

“Both candidates have tremendous leadership capacity and would be transformative leaders for UMass,” said Philip W. Johnston, a UMass Trustee who served on the presidential panel.

Trustee Edward W. Collins Jr., who also served on the Search Committee, described the two finalists as, “top tier.”

Chancellor Meehan’s biography

Professor Quelch’s biography

Contact: Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073; Ann Scales, 617-287-4084