The University

Welcome to a new academic year

The 2010-2011 academic year promises to be busy and exciting for the University of Massachusetts Boston, and I’m truly pleased to be starting it with each of you: our talented and dedicated faculty, staff, administrators, and students.

We kicked off Welcome Week Tuesday by greeting a record number of new and returning UMass Boston students. With over 15,000 students enrolled this year, we’ve found we need a lot of hands on deck to welcome them all! I’m grateful to Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Patrick Day and our many devoted staff and volunteers for helping to put together a series of events designed to make our students certain that they belong here on our campus – and that they are on a “route to success.” Visit the Welcome Week schedule of events for more information.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to welcome all our new faculty members, who include 32 with tenure-stream appointments. Thank you for joining us!

If you were with us on Columbia Point this summer, you enjoyed days of sunshine and warm sea breezes – a pleasant backdrop to a season of hard work. Well over 100 members of the UMass Boston community served as committee members during our planning process for 2010-2015, and many more took part indirectly. Their work will be the basis of a new strategic plan that will guide our university for the next five years; the plan will be completed and distributed this fall. I am most grateful for their generous contributions of time, information, and wisdom.

We also attended to our physical plant, making repairs and preparing our campus to accommodate the thousands who rely on us for a safe, clean, accessible environment. We launched University College, which incorporates our Division of Corporate, Continuing, and Distance Education, and we renamed the Graduate College of Education to better reflect its mission: It’s now the College of Education and Human Development. And we began to make real progress on our 25-year campus master plan. Construction is scheduled to begin soon on the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate, adjacent to the library that bears his brother’s name. Our plans for the Integrated Sciences Complex are being finalized for construction this spring, and we’ve completed the programming study for our new General Academic Building.

For more information on these and other milestones we’ll achieve this year, I hope you will attend our Convocation on Monday. At 9 a.m. in the Campus Center Ballroom, I will present my annual convocation address – always an important opportunity to review our accomplishments and look toward the future. This year’s address will be titled “The New Student-Centered Urban Public Research University: Research as an Approach to Life.” It will be followed at 11 a.m. by a talk by Roger Ferguson, president and chief executive officer of TIAA-CREF. Mr. Ferguson served on President Obama's economic transition team and was the vice chair of the Federal Reserve System; we are honored to have him as our guest speaker.

Convocation activities continue between noon and 4 p.m., as we host a student barbeque and festival on the Campus Center lawn. And in the evening, we will host a special reception for our friends and neighbors in the community, also to be held in the Campus Center.

At the University of Massachusetts Boston, we have so much to be proud of and so much more to look forward to. I am committed to working with every one of you to make this and every year even better than the last. Welcome back to campus, and welcome to the new academic year. I wish all of you the best for 2010-2011.