This fall, 36 distinguished alumni and friends of the University of Massachusetts Boston arrived for lunch in the Campus Center’s Alumni Lounge—and to accept a stake in the future of the university.
Coming from as far as California and as close as Codman Square, the newly appointed members of UMass Boston’s Board of Visitors used their inaugural meeting to review the highlights of the last several years and to participate in a discussion on the next steps the university will take.
Each campus in the University of Massachusetts system is required by the Board of Trustees to appoint a Board of Visitors, a senior-level advisory body consisting of accomplished alumni and other invested individuals. Members will act as advisors to the chancellor and the university’s leadership on a variety of strategic issues, such as instruction and research, finance, facilities, philanthropy, student enrollment and retention, marketing, community engagement, and global development. UMass Boston’s Board of Visitors has an additional advisory role in the university’s strategic planning.
Chancellor J. Keith Motley hand-picked local and national leaders from the for-profit, nonprofit, and private and public sectors to serve on the Board of Visitors. They include Board Chair Arthur Mabbett, chairman and founder of scientific consulting firm Mabbett & Associates, and Selma Sax, vice chair and owner of The Saxton Group, a business and educational consulting firm.
At their first meeting, in late September, McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies Dean Steve Crosby, Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Winston Langley, and Chancellor Motley spoke to the recent progress the university has achieved and about the vision for the next five to 15 years. Members asked questions, raised concerns, and spoke movingly about their interest in preserving UMass Boston’s mission.
Benjamin Slomoff ’93, a graduate of UMass Boston’s gerontology program and dispute resolution program, wrapped up the lunch discussion to applause with the following words:
“I was the CEO of a company with more than 1,000 employees. Then I retired, and I was looking for something to do with the rest of my life. I started my education at 70, and I am the most grateful man in this room because UMass Boston has given me a new lease on life. I’ll be 97 in November; this has given me a reason for living.”
Members of the Board of Visitors will meet at least twice a year to focus on plans for campus development, fundraising, and alumni relations. All members serve as a university resource by volunteering their time, expertise, and financial support to the university as a whole and to the areas in which they volunteer. They will also act as ambassadors to the university’s external community.