UMass Boston

UMass Boston Residence Hall to be Named in Honor of Dr. J. Keith and Angela Motley

03/07/2023| Office of Communications

This dedication recognizes the Motleys’ long-standing commitment to UMass Boston and its students

Chancellor Emeritus Dr. Keith Motley and his wife, Angela (center), break ground on the new UMass Boston residence hall in December 2016.

Today, the University of Massachusetts announced the first residence hall at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) will be dedicated in honor of Chancellor Emeritus Dr. J. Keith Motley and former first lady Angela Motley. The Motleys were the driving force in expanding the university’s on-campus residential experience.

Dr. Motley, the first Black chancellor in the history of UMass Boston, presided over unprecedented growth and rebuilding of the campus between 2007 and 2017. Now serving as a distinguished professor in UMass Boston’s College of Management, he joined UMass Boston in 2003 as vice chancellor for student affairs, continuing to serve the university and its students in various capacities until his appointment to chancellor. As chancellor, he was a relentless champion for equity while leveraging his vast experience in educational leadership and administration to define and execute a strategic plan that prioritized elevating academic offerings and research initiatives, as well as overseeing a 25-year campus master plan. Angela Motley played a critical role during Dr. Motley’s tenure, supporting fundraising efforts and making service and student mentorship a hallmark of her time at the university.

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan, who recommended this historic naming effort to the Board of Trustees, said, “The Motleys, Keith through his leadership and Angela through her dedicated volunteer work, left a lasting legacy at UMass Boston. The creation of UMass Boston's first-ever student residence halls and dining complex had a special significance for Chancellor Motley, as this project, which was approved on his watch, brought together Keith's commitment to students and student services, his belief that on-campus housing drives student success and his desire to see UMass Boston grow and bring together students from all walks of life and from every corner of the globe.”

“The Motleys have made a profound impact on our campus, building a legacy that is helping to propel us into the future,” said UMass Boston Chancellor Marcelo Suárez-Orozco. “It is perfectly fitting that the first on-campus residence will bear their names, for they were the leading advocates for creating the fullest possible student experience.”

Dr. Motley’s vision for the university included replacing and elevating much of the campus infrastructure and creating a two-building residential community for students on campus. That vision was realized when UMass Boston’s first residence/dining complex opened in 2018, a public-private partnership. The opening of the state-of-the-art facility, which houses more than 1,000 students, marked the first time in the university's history that students would be able to live and learn on campus. The soon-to-be-named Dr. J Keith and Angela Motley Hall provides housing for first-year students, flexible living and learning spaces, and a venue for fostering a stronger on-campus educational experience.

“My wife Angela and I are deeply honored by the recognition,” said Dr. Motley. “UMass Boston is a special university, a diverse and energetic hub for learning and opportunity, and the residence hall has added an important dimension to campus life while helping the university draw students from nearby and all over the globe. I’m grateful to President Meehan and the UMass Board of Trustees for emblazing Angela’s and my name on a building that symbolizes so much to me and means so much to the university.”

“For many years UMass Boston was our home away from home, and in interacting with thousands of students at events and activities large and small I saw firsthand the transformational power of the university,” said Angela Motley. “The residence hall has been a dream of ours realized, and to have it named after us is both deeply humbling and gratifying.”

Since the conclusion of Dr. Motley’s tenure as chancellor the Motleys have remained committed to UMass Boston and its students. In 2018, the Dr. J. Keith Motley Chair for Sports Leadership & Administration at UMass Boston was endowed with a $5 million pledge from New Balance, funding a new sports management and leadership bachelor of arts program. He continues to serve the university as a distinguished professor in UMass Boston’s College of Management.

Massachusetts Governor Maura T. Healey said, “It’s hard to think of anyone more deserving of this honor than the Motleys. They saw great potential in UMass Boston, and they went above and beyond to turn their dreams for the campus into reality. Generations of students and faculty, as well as our entire Commonwealth, will benefit from their efforts.”

Former Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said, “UMass Boston and its students have had no bigger champion than Keith Motley. The vision, persistence, and passion that he brought to the table -- with the sole purpose of expanding opportunity for people -- was unparalleled. His legacy can be seen in the both the physical transformation of the campus and in the dreams realized by thousands of UMass Boston graduates.”

“Bringing student housing to UMass Boston was a bold initiative built on Chancellor Motley’s belief that students at Boston’s only public research university, one of the most diverse universities in the nation, deserved the same campus life options as those at the city’s other major universities,” said UMass Board of Trustees Chair Stephen Karam. “It has been inspiring to see that vision become reality.”

“The construction of the residence hall and dining complex has been a game-changer for UMass Boston and an enduring reminder of the leadership of Chancellor Motley and the selfless dedication to student success of Angela Motley,” said UMass Trustee Mary Burns, who chairs the UMass Building Authority, which managed the financing and construction of the facilities. “The Building Authority is thrilled that this facility will bear the names of these two champions of UMass Boston and its students.”

"One need look no further for a definition of intentional, committed and moral service than the example set by Keith Motley and his spouse Angela during his more than two-decade tenure with the University,” said Dr. Marcellette G. Williams, Past Chancellor of UMass Amherst; and former UMass System Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and International Relations. “Keith and Angela not only understand service as an essential element in one’s lifelong learning but they also model with their lives the truth that serving bestows to our persons the full currency of the human phenomenon. Theirs is a powerful legacy that complements Keith's oft-recited description of UMass Boston as a research university with a teaching soul.”

Elected officials, dignitaries, and leaders from across Massachusetts will join the UMass community at the building dedication ceremony on Friday, April 28th at 11:00 A.M. on the UMass Boston campus.