The University

History of UMass Boston

Shot of UMass Boston from above

University Roots

Reacting to social upheaval, urban unrest, and a rapidly increasing demand for higher education, the Massachusetts Legislature established the University of Massachusetts Boston in 1964.

The second university in the UMass system, UMass Boston opened its doors in 1965 at a renovated building in Park Square downtown. The university moved to its present campus on Columbia Point in Dorchester in 1974. >> Read More

A Growing Presence

In 1982, Boston State College was incorporated into UMass Boston, eliminating duplicate programs. The university took over Boston State’s remaining graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as its evening division. These additions created momentum for UMass Boston to expand both its degree offerings (including doctoral programs) and its presence in the community.

That expansion continues today with a growing number of degree programs, research centers and institutes, and community-based partnerships and initiatives that promote learning. Recent highlights include:

  • UMass Boston’s partnership with the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, which provides opportunities for faculty and students to engage in research on health disparities within underserved populations.
  • The Venture Development Center, UMass Boston’s business incubator for technology and life sciences startup companies—plus a learning, internship, and career resource for entrepreneurial students.

As UMass Boston has grown, the campus has become an increasingly attractive venue for significant local and national events. In 2000, for example, the university hosted a presidential candidates’ debate between George W. Bush and Al Gore.

The UMass Boston Campus Center, which opened in 2004, has created new space for offices and student activities, as well a spectacular harborfront presence for civic events. >> Read More

A "Pathway to Excellence"

As part of its 25-year master plan to renew and redevelop the campus, the university has started construction on the Integrated Sciences Complex and General Academic Building No. 1. Development on the site of the former Bayside Exposition Center and construction of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate (next to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum) will complete the “Pathway to Excellence” envisioned for Columbia Point by UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley. >> Read More

Looking Ahead to 2025

UMass Boston, serving more than 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students in 11 colleges, continues striving toward fulfilling its potential as a great student-centered urban public research university. UMass Boston has embarked on a new strategic plan calling for academic and enrollment growth, heightened student success, and a physically transformed campus consistent with the master plan. One important constant is our founders’ commitment “to see that the opportunities we offer … are indeed equal to the best that private schools have to offer.” >> Read More