New UMass President Marty Meehan officially launched his presidency Wednesday morning, holding a roundtable discussion with UMass Boston students in the Integrated Sciences Complex.
Meehan pledged to champion the causes of quality, affordability, and diversity, and build UMass “into the best public university system in the nation.”
He also told the UMass Boston students how much they inspire him.
“This building, the quality of the students, the growth in research in this institution. ... I want people across the state to know how important the public research institution is to the Commonwealth as a whole, to our region, to the country,” Meehan said.
Chancellor J. Keith Motley spoke of what an opportunity it was for students to be able to sit down with the new president on day one.
“What I love about this opportunity is President Meehan gets it,” Motley said. “He gets where you’re coming from because he’s been there and done that. He is the first in his family to go to college, like many of the students who go to this campus. He’s a product of the University of Massachusetts system. He is someone who actually lived, worked through it, and then benefited from it.”
Students had the opportunity to ask the new president questions, which ranged from how to keep higher education affordable to bringing dormitories to campus.
Meehan also told students that he plans to institute an internship program that will bring a steady flow of UMass students into the President’s Office, noting that he would anticipate UMass Boston students figuring prominently in the program.
He said he intends to visit the UMass campuses regularly.
“One of the things I want to do as president, I want to interact with students and connect with faculty,” he said.
Senior Carl Joseph, a two-sport student athlete, presented Meehan with a 50th anniversary tie on behalf of the students.
Click the photo to see a larger version.
Meehan, a former member of Congress who has served as the chancellor of UMass Lowell for the past eight years, succeeds Robert L. Caret, who stepped down to become chancellor of the University System of Maryland.
Meehan is the first UMass undergraduate alumnus to serve as president of the five-campus, 73,000-student system.
“Thank you for deciding that this is where you were going to make the first stop,” Motley said.
Read more about the visit in The Boston Globe.
Material from the UMass President's Office was used in this release.