A Growing Presence

President Barack Obama delivering the 2006 commencement address

Boston State’s long-established ties with the city’s public schools, police and fire departments, and local health care organizations created new opportunities for the university to strengthen its commitment to community outreach and service.

The 1980s and 1990s saw a growing university presence in the community and beyond. New centers, institutes, and degree programs promoted research and active engagement in Latino, African-American, and Asian-American community development; gerontology; labor studies; public affairs; harbor and environmental studies; and health care.

The university has also established community-based partnerships and initiatives that promote learning, such as:

President Bill Clinton on the UMass Boston campus in 1997.UMass Boston’s growing presence on the national stage—and its proximity to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, opened in 1979—has made the campus an attractive host for important civic events. These have included a community roundtable with President Bill Clinton in 1997; the first presidential debate between then-Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore in 2000; and the 2006 commencement address by then-U.S. Senator Barack Obama.

Then Chancellor Sherry Penney with Vice President Al Gore, 2000.

UMass Boston is also a regular host for political debates and other government and civic events. The Campus Center, which opened in 2004, provides a spectacular harborfront venue for a variety of these events.

Historical images courtesy of the University Archives and Special Collections