UMass Boston is taking action on its bold plans for campus and academic revitalization by the year 2025, Chancellor J. Keith Motley emphasized in his annual State of the University address on May 1, held on the terrace of the Campus Center and attended by scores of students, faculty, staff, and administrators.
In one of his last roles as Undergraduate Student President, graduating senior Travis Henderson introduced Chancellor Motley, who thanked him for fulfilling his campaign promises and for his service to the student body.
Of the changes that are already in effect at UMass Boston and those that are in store, Motley said, the university community is not growing and expanding to benefit itself solely, but generations to come of students like Travis.
“It is to this forward-thinking, planning, and working tradition we seek to remain connected,” Motley said. “Our grand and noble enterprise here is at once a privilege-laden labor for the day and a subtly personalized gift to the future.”
In 2025, Motley said, UMass Boston will have an enrollment of 25,000 students, a gain of 10,000 from today, and will be classified by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education as a research university with very high research activity, an upgrade from the university’s current high research activity status.
Students will live in dorms on campus, he continued and will take advantage of the new academic buildings currently under construction and in planning, including the Integrated Sciences Complex and the General Academic Building No. 1.
Each improvement Motley cited is detailed in UMass Boston’s Strategic Plan and its accompanying Implementation Design Team report, Fulfilling the Promise, which lays out concrete steps to achieve these goals.
In his forward-looking address, Motley also took time to highlight the successes and accomplishments of the university community over the last academic year. Students Luke Eglington, a graduating senior studying psychology and computer science, and Shaun Glaze, a master’s student in the College of Education and Human Development focusing on women in the construction trades, were commended for their commitment to research.
Among the faculty, Motley congratulated Assistant Professor of Sociology Bianca Bersani and Distinguished Professor of Biology Kamaljit Bawa on their recent accolades: the 2011 W. E. B. Du Bois Fellowship Award and the Gunnerus Sustainability Award, respectively.
Motley also pointed to UMass Boston’s recent designation as a “Best Value College” by the Princeton Review, February’s forum on civility and American democracy, and the relocation of the annual IDEAS Boston conference to UMass Boston’s campus and aegis as signs that the university is well on its way to becoming, as he said, “well-equipped, well-resourced, well-respected, and well-prepared to animate our citizenry though the life of the mind and to commission them as passionate lifelong learners.”
Expanding on the theme of UMass Boston’s gift to the future, Motley contrasted the long and complex process of building a better university with a child’s impatience for holiday gifts.
“As we plan for, build for, and work toward 2025, the eve of its coming seems to last so long,” he said. “Like Christmas Eve from the perspective of impatient childhood, we sometimes feel like it will never come. But I realize now as a gift giver in my house that the day comes all too quickly.”
“Having lived a few decades now,” Motley added, “I can assure you that the sun will rise all too quickly on 2025 and your contribution to this campus will be embraced, celebrated, and engaged for a better world. Yet we must stay on task, because that day comes quicker than you think.”