Chancellor Motley: On 50th Anniversary, Golden Age Is Ahead

Colleen Locke | September 15, 2014
Chancellor J. Keith Motley delivers the 2014 convocation address.

Chancellor J. Keith Motley delivers the 2014 convocation address.
Image by: Harry Brett

We are transforming ourselves to better fulfill our mission and to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Chancellor’s Convocation Address Officially Kicks Off Academic Year

As the University of Massachusetts Boston celebrates its 50th anniversary, Chancellor J. Keith Motley says the golden age of the university is yet to come.

“In this, our 50th anniversary, we are engaged in what may be described as an extreme makeover,” Motley said in his convocation address Thursday. “Through strategic, and through master planning, we are transforming ourselves to better fulfill our mission and to meet the challenges of the 21st century.”

Convocation is the official kickoff to the academic year.

Motley spoke of how UMass Boston welcomed the largest incoming class in its history. More than 1,500 freshmen from 27 states and 46 countries started classes on September 2. Chancellor’s Scholarships were awarded to 125 students, an 18 percent increase over last year. The scholarships, for students with a 3.5 GPA and at least 1200 on their SATs, cover the full cost of tuition and fees while the students are undergraduates.

There are now nearly 17,000 students enrolled at the university, a big difference from the 1,227 students in the first graduating class, who earned their diplomas in 1969 after taking classes in downtown Boston’s Park Square.

This fall, faculty will move into the first new academic building on campus in 40 years, the Integrated Sciences Complex, with classes starting this spring. The Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate opens in March, and General Academic Building No. 1 is slated to open in fall 2015.

Motley also talked about growth in academic programs and the addition of the university’s newest colleges, the Honors College, School for the Environment, and the School for Global Inclusion and Social Development.

Chancellor Motley said the university’s research enterprise as well is growing in tandem with its academic programs. UMass Boston received $60.1 million in research funding in fiscal 2014, an increase of five percent from the year before. Faculty have received multimillion dollar grants from the likes of the Department of Defense and National Institutes of Health.

“Fifty years ago we were a vision, an experiment in higher education, a university with a few staunch supporters and many more detractors and naysayers. In 2014, can you even imagine the city of Boston without the University of Massachusetts Boston? I can’t,” Motley said.

Convocation guest speaker Federico Mayor, former director-general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and current chairman of the Foundation for a Culture of Peace, followed the chancellor’s remarks. Dr. Mayor talked about creating a culture of peace, saying that inertia is the enemy, and the solution is to evolve. Without evolution, he said, we have revolution, and “too many victims.”

About UMass Boston
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit

Tags: chancellor , convocation

Comment on this story

Comments (0)