Never underestimate the significance of what we do at UMass Boston, Chancellor J. Keith Motley told a crowd of more than 400 students, faculty, and staff at Fall Convocation on Sept. 15, the official kick-off to the new academic year.
“We at the University of Massachusetts Boston are a student-centered, urban, public, research university. We are the noblest of institutions,” Chancellor Motley said. “We are engaged in the most challenging of purposes. We are devoted to fulfilling the most sacred of missions.”
Chancellor Motley delivered a stirring speech on the meaning of the university, titled, "The New Student-Centered Urban Public Research University: The University as a Community of Scholars."
Watch the video of Chancellor Motley's convocation address.
Each year since his inauguration, the chancellor has chosen a word from the term "student-centered urban public research university" as the focus of his convocation address.
"How many times a day do we use the term 'university' without thinking about it? 'I work at the university.' 'The university published a study on that.' And the ever popular 'Why can’t the university do something about parking?'" Chancellor Motley said. "... 'University' is about more than place or administrative structure, or even people."
The chancellor was joined on stage by Vice Chancellor for Administration and Finance Ellen O'Connor, and Provost Winston Langley, who provided updates on the university's activities over the past year. Vice Chancellor for Enrollment Management Kathleen Teehan emceed the morning's program. Elizabeth Warren, the Leo Gottlieb Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, served as guest speaker.
Student Trustee Bianca Baldassare, Undergraduate Student President Travis Henderson, and Graduate Student Assembly President Robert Goodwin all took the stage to welcome the audience and introduce members of the administration. Chancellor Motley also congratulated student Alyssa Kimball of Worcester, this year’s winner of the John W. Ryan Award, which is presented annually to the junior with the highest grade point average.
Check out photographs from 2011 Fall Convocation on UMass Boston's Flickr site.
As he laid out his vision for this year and beyond, Chancellor Motley spent some time looking back on the last year's achievements at UMass Boston.
The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate and the Integrated Sciences Complex both held groundbreakings. The university created a new Office of Diversity and Inclusion and welcomed Juan Nunez to guide this effort. A new Center for Community Democracy and Democratic Literacy was launched, headed by Judith Kurland; and UMass Boston also recently formed a research partnership with the national nonprofit MENTOR Inc.
The university will welcome 30 new faculty members this academic year, and 31 faculty members have become tenured professors. And in fiscal year 2011, faculty set a university record by obtaining nearly $54 million in sponsored awards, an almost 8 percent increase above fiscal year 2010.
For the first time in university history, student enrollment has surpassed 16,000. Two hundred and eighty-five students are enrolled in the university Honors Program.
"And as for the rest of our more than 16,000 students: they are from 136 countries; speak more than 90 languages. They are the most diverse student body in New England; in fact, more than 40 percent of our undergraduates are people of color," Chancellor Motley said.
Chancellor Motley encouraged students, faculty, and staff to be leaders in everything they do.
“I call on each of you to remember this each and every day and to lead the way for our campus, our community, our Commonwealth, and for the world.”