The University

Our Chancellor

J. Keith Motley is the eighth chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston, a research university with 11 graduate schools and colleges and more than 16,000 students. Picture of Chancellor J. Keith Motley

Chancellor Motley oversees an ambitious strategic planning initiative to enhance the university’s academic offerings and research enterprise, grow enrollment to meet the increasing demand for a well-educated workforce, and similarly build the university as a resource of knowledge and public service.

Chancellor Motley is also guiding a 25-year master plan to significantly enhance the campus and its layout on the scenic Columbia Point Peninsula in a way that invites and welcomes the Greater Boston community to interact with its public university. This project includes the construction of a new Integrated Sciences Complex, a second academic building, and housing for students, as well as the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, which the late senator requested to be located on the UMass Boston campus next to the JFK Library and Museum.

Previous to his appointment as chancellor on July 1, 2007, Dr. Motley served as vice president for business, marketing, and public affairs at the University of Massachusetts President’s Office, where he worked closely with President Jack M. Wilson, university leaders, and the Board of Trustees. Prior to joining the president’s office, he was the interim chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston, where he previously had served as vice chancellor for student affairs, following more than 30 years in higher education administration that included 10 years as dean of student services at Northeastern University.

Dr. Motley is a founder of the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School and chair emeritus of the school’s Board of Trustees. He is also the founder and education chair of Concerned Black Men of Massachusetts, Inc., and the Paul Robeson Institute for Positive Self-Development, an academic and social enrichment program for school-aged children of color.

He also serves on numerous boards of community organizations with local, regional, and national reach, including Carney Hospital (as chair of the board of trustees), Freedom House, the Boston World Partnership, the Boston Municipal Research Bureau, the Boston Sports Museum, the United Way of Massachusetts Bay, the Commonwealth Corporation, and the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. Dr. Motley also chairs the Boston Committee for the “Do the Write Thing Challenge,” an initiative of the National Campaign to Stop Violence.

Sharing his vast experience in educational leadership and administration, Dr. Motley is a past chair of the Newbury College Board of Trustees. He was appointed as the co-chair of the College Success Task Force initiated by the Mayor’s Office of the City of Boston. On a national level, he is chair of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), and serves on the board of the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities’ (APLU).  He is a member of the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Commission on Effective Leadership, he is the chair of APLU’s Commission on Access, Diversity and Excellence (CADE), and he serves as a mentor for the Millennium Leadership Initiative, a premier leadership development program of AASCU that provides individuals from underrepresented populations in high-ranking positions in higher education the opportunity to gain a broader understanding of the higher education landscape, develop skills, and build the networks needed to advance to the presidency.

In 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2014, Dr. Motley was named to the Boston Business Journal's "Power 50" list of Boston-area influencers. The Boston Business Journal also selected Dr. Motley as a recipient of its 2014 Leaders in Diversity Awards, which honor companies and businesspeople for their leadership in promoting inclusiveness and economic opportunity. In 2012, he was chosen by The Boston Globe as one of a dozen local leaders who have promoted diversity for its "Diversity Boston" list.

Dr. Motley is also a member of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Incorporated and Sigma Pi Phi fraternity Beta Beta Boulé.

Dr. Motley holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northeastern University and a doctor of philosophy degree from Boston College. He also holds an honorary degree awarded by Northeastern University. He is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh’s Upward Bound Program. He is married to Angela Motley and is the proud father of Keith Allyn, Kayla Iman, and Jordan Kiara.