The University

New efforts move forward

Earlier this week I traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the 2011 Inaugural National Mentoring Summit, “Achieving Academic and Social Success: Supporting Youth through Mentoring.” I’m glad that I was able to go – at the same conference were leading mentoring organizations and researchers, along with government and civic leaders. First Lady Michelle Obama was also on hand to address the group.

I was mentored as a child, and the importance of that relationship in my life has never faded. It’s why I’m proud that the University of Massachusetts Boston does so much in the area of pre-collegiate programs, from running Urban Scholars to taking a leadership role in the Success Boston initiative and chairing the national Do the Write Thing challenge.

It’s also why I was excited to announce in D.C. that our university will partner with MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership to form the UMass Boston/Mentor Research Alliance, a unique institute that will support youth mentoring efforts. The alliance’s primary goals are to facilitate an open exchange of evidence-based youth mentoring research among researchers and policy makers and to use its findings to change the lives of our country’s youth for the better.

Our own Professor Jean Rhodes from the Psychology Department will serve as the Alliance’s first research director and will hold the MENTOR/National Mentoring Partnership Endowed Chair. I hope you will join me in offering her congratulations.

Another exciting development announced this week came from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center, whose board voted on Wednesday to approve a $2 million capital grant to establish the Center for Personalized Cancer Therapy (CPCT) on our campus. The funding is part of a planned investment totaling $10 million.

Using the combined expertise of our own research community and our partner in this effort, the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, CPCT will help address the racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic disparities in cancer incidence, morbidity, and mortality.

As some of you know, the plan to establish CPCT has been in the works for some time; this grant will help us take the final steps toward opening CPCT, which will begin operations shortly in our Venture Development Center.

Finally, I’d like to give another round of thanks to our Facilities team for dealing with an amazing amount of snow this season and for keeping us all safe and productive.

Enjoy your weekend.