Search committee recommends three finalists for chancellor at UMass Boston

President Meehan praises comprehensive search, quality of candidates

BOSTON — The UMass Boston Chancellor Search Committee today recommended Kathy Humphrey, Senior Vice Chancellor for Engagement and Secretary of the Board of Trustees at the University of Pittsburgh, Peter Lyons, Vice Provost and Dean of Perimeter College at Georgia State University, and Jack Thomas, President of Western Illinois University, as finalists for the chancellorship to UMass President Marty Meehan.

Each candidate is expected to visit UMass Boston next week to meet with the campus community, which will provide feedback to Meehan to assist him in selecting one finalist to recommend to the Board of Trustees as the next chancellor of UMass Boston.

“UMass Boston is an extraordinary community that deserves an extraordinary chancellor, and the search committee has selected three exceptional finalists who are capable of leading UMass Boston into the future and helping this vital institution achieve its tremendous potential,” said Meehan.

Henry M. Thomas III, a UMass trustee who chaired the search committee, said the committee’s goal was to identify world-class leaders who would be committed to the campus and its urban mission and would actively engage with the community.

“Our charge was to find strong, passionate leaders who can articulate and follow through on a vision for UMass Boston that positions the campus to carry out its mission of excellence, access and opportunity,” said Thomas. “I believe the entire committee was impressed with the quality of the candidates who stepped forward and expressed interest in this position — and that reflects the international regard that exists for UMass Boston as well as the attractiveness of the opportunity to lead this exceptional campus community.”  


The search process

A 15-member committee comprised of UMass Boston faculty, students, staff and alumni, as well as representatives from the board, the university system, the community and labor was formed in October 2017 to help select a new chancellor for UMass Boston. 

Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County and chair of President Obama’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans, was brought on as a consultant to the search.

The search committee advertised the position nationally and retained the Boston-based executive recruitment firm Isaacson, Miller to assist in the search.

As part of the search process, the committee hosted open public forums at UMass Boston to receive feedback on the qualifications and characteristics considered important in the new chancellor.

Throughout the course of the search process, Isaacson, Miller communicated with 195 prospective candidates, interviewed 37 candidates and presented the credentials of those candidates to the search committee. The committee chose to interview 10 candidates.

Full biographies and CVs for the three finalists are available to view at, where the UMass Boston community can also submit feedback on the candidates.


Search committee thanked for its work

The UMass Boston Chancellor Search Committee was established by the Board of Trustees, and Board Chairman Robert J. Manning thanked the committee for its hard work.

“I’m incredibly grateful for the time and energy that the search committee invested in this important process,” said Manning. “As a result of the committee’s efforts, we now have three excellent candidates who are capable of positioning this invaluable institution to thrive in the education capital of the world.”

President Meehan also praised the committee’s hard work.

“This committee has done a remarkable job of not only understanding what the UMass Boston community needs and wants in a leader but selecting inspiring, proven candidates who embody those traits,” said President Meehan. “I want to thank the committee members for their outstanding contributions to this process, and for their dedication to conducting a comprehensive, inclusive and transparent search.”


UMass Boston

The University of Massachusetts Boston is nationally recognized as a model of excellence for urban public universities. The scenic waterfront campus, with easy access to downtown Boston, combines a small college experience with the vast resources of a major research university. With a 17:1 student-to-faculty ratio, students easily interact with professors, because most teaching occurs in small class sizes. Ninety-three percent of full-time faculty hold the highest degree in their fields.

UMass Boston educates a student body of 16,415 undergraduate and graduate students. The university’s 11 colleges and schools offer 83 undergraduate programs and 130 graduate programs. The Honors College serves 763 students who thrive on intellectual challenge. Enriched courses probe more deeply into theory or venture further into application.

UMass Boston’s diverse student body provides a global context for student learning, and its location in a major U.S. city provides connections to employers in industries such as finance, health care, technology, service, and education, offering students opportunities to gain valuable in-school experience via internships, clinicals and other career-related placements.