The University

A visit from President Obama

J. Keith Motley, PhD, UMass Boston Chancellor | March 11, 2011

I had the opportunity to visit TechBoston Academy on Tuesday during President Obama’s visit and to hear him recognize our College of Education and Human Development’s work at the academy through our Teach Next Year Program. As some of you may know, President Obama visited classrooms taught by graduates of our Teach Next Year program and staffed by current students in the program. As chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Boston, I take great pride in our university’s role in helping to make TechBoston a national model for success worthy of presidential recognition.

This week’s recognition follows a White House reception in October hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama that honored our Project ALERTA program as one of the best fifteen programs nationwide in fostering opportunities for youths. And in January I had the honor of announcing, at the Library of Congress, a national youth mentoring partnership between UMass Boston and MENTOR to further research in this area; the First Lady presented the keynote address at this national summit.

In light of these honors, I’m reminded of the feedback I received recently from many in our campus community and beyond in regard to the recent Boston Globe article about our campus. The article, which ran Sunday, February 27, was the conclusion of a four-part series on the “challenges” facing the UMass system, the first three articles focusing on the Amherst campus.

Some of the comments I heard revolved around concerns as to how our university was portrayed. From many colleagues and peers outside our community, I received accolades for the prominent, positive coverage. And I heard from others who shared mixed opinions.

What I was, and remain, proud of was the Globe story’s highlighting of and focus on our founding urban mission. I can’t tell you how much it means to me to read about the deep commitment our faculty and staff have to that mission. We, as a campus community, should be proud that, nearly fifty years after the founding of UMass Boston, we are still passionately striving to achieve our urban mission.

We will continue to provide unique hands-on learning opportunities for our students, to look for ways to improve the educational prospects of our city’s youths, and to develop partnerships that promote meaningful research.

I look forward to continuing our discussion and planning on how to make UMass Boston an even greater student-centered urban public research university.