The University

UMass Boston: Happy New School Year

For those of us who live by an academic calendar, the month of September evokes as much nostalgia, excitement, hope, and promise as January 1 does for others. We mourn the summer’s passing and look forward to our new undertakings. And we savor the chance to start fresh, to build on our successes.

This summer was a beautiful one at our harborside campus. Days upon days of sunshine and clear skies allowed our staff to unwind and recharge their batteries. But we weren’t on vacation! Hundreds of youths visited the University of Massachusetts Boston daily, attending our many summer camps. Children at Camp Shriver, Urban Scholars, the Talented and Gifted Program, ALERTA, and GoKids mingled with college students enrolled in our summer sessions and learning from our outstanding faculty. It made for a delightful summer indeed.

As we embark on a new academic year, we will begin to turn into reality our 25-year master plan to better serve our students and the community with a greener, smarter campus. Construction on the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate will begin this fall. We plan to break ground on our new Integrated Sciences Complex next spring. We’ll also shore up the eroding seawall and complete the HarborWalk between the John F. Kennedy Library and Harbor Point.

Anyone curious about our upcoming projects is invited to join us in the Campus Center Ballroom on September 16, at 6 p.m., for a community meeting focusing on the university’s environmental permitting process. Representatives of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs will be on hand for this meeting. You are welcome to come learn what we hope to achieve with our physical space and air your thoughts or concerns.

Each new year at UMass Boston, hope and promise are personified on our campus in the form of new and returning students. More than 15,000 students began classes this week at UMass Boston. Our incoming class, the class of 2014, is our largest ever. Many in that class are the first in their families to attend a university or college. Many are graduates of Boston Public Schools. Many are from the neighborhoods right next door to this campus. And all have the potential for remarkable achievement. We’re honored they chose to learn and grow at UMass Boston.

On Monday, September 13, at 9 a.m., I’ll share the stage with students, faculty, and administrators – and special keynote speaker Roger Ferguson of TIAA-CREF – during our annual Convocation, when we lay out our thoughts and aspirations for the upcoming academic year. This event is open to the public; for more information, please e-mail events@umb.edu.

I wish you a magnificent month of new beginnings, whether September holds the same promise for you as it does for me, or whether it’s just another page in the calendar. And I invite you to see for yourself what else is happening at Boston’s only public university by attending our fall open house on October 16 at UMass Boston, or by visiting www.umb.edu.