UMass Boston

UMass Boston Faculty, Chancellor Named to Regional List of 50 Most Influential People of Color in Higher Education

04/20/2021| Crystal Valencia

Seven UMass Boston faculty and staff, including Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, have been named to Get Konnected!’s inaugural list of the Most Influential People of Color in Higher Education. The list was unveiled earlier this month during a virtual event in partnership with GBH media.

(Clockwise) Paul Watanabe, Lorna Rivera, Georgianna Meléndez, Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, Charles Desmond, J. Keith Motley, Connie S. Chan, and Miren Uriarte

“ This list reflects the remarkable expertise and the diversity within the UMass Boston community. ”

Included in the list are:

  • Paul Watanabe, director of the Institute for Asian American Studies and professor of political science,
  • Lorna Rivera, associate professor of women's, gender, and sexuality studies, and director of the Gastón Institute,
  • Georgianna Meléndez, assistant chancellor for diversity, equity, and inclusion,
  • Miren Uriarte, professor emeritus of human services, and co-founder of the Gastón Institute,
  • J. Keith Motley, professor of management and chancellor emeritus,
  • Connie S. Chan, professor emerita in the McCormack Graduate School
  • and Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco.

Charles Desmond, former vice chancellor for student affairs and a member of the UMass Boston Board of Visitors, also made the list.

“This list reflects the remarkable expertise and the diversity within the UMass Boston community,” said Provost Joseph B. Berger. “I congratulate each of our honorees and applaud this well-deserved public recognition for people of color in higher education and their incredible contributions.”

Created by Get Konnected!, in partnership with Colette Phillips Communications, Inc., the GK Fund, and GBH, the list is the first of its kind in the history of the commonwealth, Colette Phillips said.

“One of the reasons that Get Konnected! started putting together these events and these lists is because we are the hidden figures in Massachusetts and in Greater Boston,” Phillips said. “We thought it was important to spotlight, to amplify, to elevate and to document those professionals and people of color who are contributing to the fabric—the economic, the academic, the innovation, the technology— every aspect of the fabric of our lives here in the Commonwealth, none more impactful than the institutions of higher education.”

“I was just thinking, ten years ago, would we have been able to do a wonderful event like this with so many presidents, and so many leaders of color, so this is so exciting,” said Liz Cheng, general manager for television at GBH.

Watch the list unveiling and a panel discussion on YouTube.