University of Massachusetts Boston

University of Massachusetts Boston
Type Public
Established 1852 Boston State College
1964 UMass Boston
Endowment $78.9 million (2015)[1]
Chancellor J. Keith Motley
President Marty Meehan
Provost Winston Langley
Academic staff
Students 16,756
Undergraduates 12,700
Postgraduates 4,056
Location Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
42°18′48″N 71°02′18″W / 42.313432°N 71.038445°W / 42.313432; -71.038445Coordinates: 42°18′48″N 71°02′18″W / 42.313432°N 71.038445°W / 42.313432; -71.038445
Campus Urban, 175 acres (0.7 km²)
Newspaper The Mass Media
Colors      UMass Boston Blue[2]
Athletics NCAA Division IIILittle East, ECAC East
Nickname Beacons
Mascot Bobby Beacon
Affiliations UMass System
Urban 13/GCU

The University of Massachusetts Boston, also known as UMass Boston, is an urban public research university and the third-largest campus in the five-campus University of Massachusetts system.[3]

The university is located on 177 acres (0.72 km2) on the Columbia Point peninsula in the city of Boston, Massachusetts, United States. UMass Boston is the only public university in Boston.[note 1] Students are primarily from Massachusetts but some are from other parts of the U.S. or different countries.


The John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum is located on Columbia Point next to UMass Boston.

The University of Massachusetts Boston was established by vote of the state legislature in 1964. Freshman classes started for 1,227 undergraduate students in September 1965 at a renovated building in the Park Square area of downtown Boston. The Founding Day Convocation was held December 10, 1966, at the Prudential Center in Boston. John W. Ryan was installed as the university's first chancellor.[4] UMass Boston is part of the Greater Boston Urban Education Collaborative,[5] In 1982 it merged with Boston State College (est. 1852).

In 1974, it opened its new campus at the Columbia Point peninsula on Dorchester Bay. The university originally occupied five buildings: McCormack Hall, Wheatley Hall, the Science Center, Healey Library, and the Quinn Administration Building.

The original Harbor Campus buildings were said to have had sparse and unattractive interiors, with odd mazes of hallways; the campus was known as "the fortress" or "the prison" colloquially.[6] They were rumored to have been designed by architects who were primarily familiar with prisons, although the library had been designed by the Chicago modernist architect Harry Mohr Weese.[7] At one point in his career, Weese had designed the Metropolitan Correction Center in Chicago.

McKee-Berger-Mansueto, Inc. (MBM), the company contracted to supervise construction of the new campus, came under fire after its contract with the Commonwealth was criticized in a series of newspaper articles for being abnormally favorable towards MBM. A special legislative committee was formed to investigative the contract. A scandal erupted after it was learned that MBM paid State Senators Joseph DiCarlo and Ronald MacKenzie $40,000 in exchange for a favorable report from the committee. DiCarlo and MacKenzie were convicted of extortion.[8][9][10]

The Clark Athletic Center was added later, including an ice hockey arena, swimming pool, and basketball courts. It also hosted the first presidential debate between then Texas Governor George W. Bush and Vice President Al Gore in 2000. The cancellation of two days of classes in order to create security for the debate resulted in a protest by UMass Boston students, faculty, and staff members at the UMass President's office in downtown Boston.

The original buildings fell into disrepair, and there are plans for replacement. Allegations of shoddy construction surfaced again in 2006 when the underground parking garage had to be closed because it had become structurally unsound. All parking is now outdoors, except for the Campus Center garage.

In 2004, a new Campus Center was opened, designed by the Boston-based architectural firm of Kallmann McKinnell & Wood[11] and built by Suffolk Construction at a cost of $80 million. It houses offices, restaurants in a food court, event space, student clubs, and activities space. It also serves as the new entrance for the campus and was the first major building erected since the original Harbor Campus was built in the 1970s.

In January 2015 the university opened its first new academic building since the original campus was built, a research facility named the Integrated Sciences Complex.[12] A second new academic building, University Hall, is expected to open in 2016, and the first residential halls on campus are in the planning stage.[13]

On June 2, 2006, Barack Obama addressed his commencement speech at UMass Boston to the graduating students. In his address, among other topics, he discussed his speech at the Democratic National Convention in Boston in 2004.[14]

In 2007, the university proposed a plan to change the nature of the campus from primarily a commuter campus with many parking lots for cars to a more residential campus with dormitory-style living.[15][16][17]

J. Keith Motley is the university's first African American chancellor.

In 2009, the nearby Bayside Expo Center property was lost in a foreclosure to a Florida-based real estate firm, LNR/CMAT. The University of Massachusetts Boston has acquired the property for future campus facilities.[18][19]

In 2014 and 2015, UMass Boston celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and published its first history of the founding and growth of the university, entitled UMass Boston at 50.[20]


(from UMass Boston website,[21] note that this also contains the history of Boston State College)



UMass Boston is located off Interstate 93, sited within walking distance of the JFK/UMass MBTA stop on the Red Line and the Old Colony Lines of the Commuter Rail . Free shuttles run frequently between the JFK/UMass station and campus. The MBTA also operates bus stops on campus.


Distribution of UMass Boston undergraduate student body by college (2014-2015)[22][23]
College Undergraduate Major Bachelor's Degrees Conferred
Liberal Arts 4,963 (39.27%) 1,127 (44.06%)
Science & Mathematics 3,142 (24.86%) 335 (13.10%)
Management 2,197 (17.38%) 553 (21.62%)
Nursing & Health Sciences 1,852 (14.65%) 454 (17.75%)
Public & Community Service 188 (1.49%) 53 (2.07%)
Education & Human Development 277 (2.19%) 36 (1.41%)
Advancing & Professional Studies 19 (0.15%) N/A
University Totals 12,638 (100.00%) 2,558 (100.00%)

The university confers bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees, and also operates certificate programs and a corporate, continuing, and distance learning program.

There are eleven schools and colleges at UMass Boston: the College of Liberal Arts, College of Science and Mathematics, School for the Environment, College of Management, College of Nursing and Health Sciences, College of Public and Community Service, College of Education and Human Development, John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies and Global Studies, School for Global Inclusion and Social Development, Honors College, and College of Advancing and Professional Studies (CAPS) .

The university is a member of the Urban 13 universities, alongside schools like Temple University and the University of Pittsburgh.

University rankings
Forbes[24] 525 [25]
U.S. News & World Report[26] 220 [27]
Washington Monthly[28] 210 [29]
QS[30] 551-600
U.S. News & World Report[31] 553 [32]

According to the UMass Boston Office of Institutional Research and Policy Studies, in the 2014-2015 academic year, the five most popular majors at the university were Biology, Psychology, Management, Exercise and Health Sciences, and Nursing. Within the College of Liberal Arts, the five most popular majors were Psychology, Criminal Justice, Economics, English, and Communication Studies. Within the College of Science and Mathematics, the five most popular majors were Biology, Computer Science, Information Technology, Biochemistry, and Environmental Sciences. Within the College of Management, the five most popular concentrations were No Concentration, Finance, Accounting, Marketing, and Leadership and Organizational Change.[22] The five most popular minors at the university were Psychology, Criminal Justice, Sociology, Biology, and Economics.[33]

Institutes and centers

The following free-standing institutes and centers are administered by the Office of the Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.


UMass Boston is accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. Additionally, the College of Management is accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), and the College of Nursing and Health Services hold accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Board of Registration in Nursing. The Family Therapy Program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation of Marital and Family Therapy Education (COAMFTE). UMass Boston is a member of the Council of Graduate Schools and the Northeastern Association of Graduate Schools


UMass Boston's faculty of more than 1000 consists of roughly half tenure-track and half non-tenure-track professors. It includes Lloyd Schwartz, who was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Criticism in 1994, Monet expert Paul Tucker, and physicist Benjamin Mollow, discoverer of the Mollow Triplet. Ninety-six percent of the faculty hold the highest degree in their fields. The student-teacher ratio is 14:1.


Intercollegiate athletics, intramurals, and recreation for the students, staff, and faculty are the primary programs of the UMass Boston Department of Athletics. The department offers 18 varsity sports and is a member of the NCAA's Division III. UMass Boston, known by their nickname: the Beacons, has teams competing in the ECAC, the Little East Conference, and ECAC East Ice Hockey. The Beacons have been named All-Americans 93 times in seven sports. The women's indoor and outdoor track & field teams have won four NCAA team championships and 38 NCAA individual championships.[34] In the years 1999 through 2006 the National Consortium for Academics and Sports named the Department of Athletics at UMass Boston first in the country for community service.

Student activities

The UMass Boston campus

UMass Boston's independent, student run and financed newspaper is The Mass Media. Other student publications include the yearbook,[35] Watermark[36] arts and literary magazine, and The Beacon monthly humor magazine.

UMass Boston's undergraduates are represented by the Undergraduate Student Government, which consists of the Undergraduate Student Senate, the executive office of the USG President, and the office of the USG Chief Justice. UMass Boston's graduate students are represented by the Graduate Student Assembly. UMass Boston's graduate student employees (teaching assistants, research assistants, and administrative assistants) are represented by the Graduate Employee Organization/UAW Local 1596—UMass Boston Chapter.

The university also has a large waterfront recreation program. The Division of Marine Operations operates the Universities waterfront which supports recreational and Environmental education programs. Full-Time Umass Boston students are offered free sailing lessons and boat rentals, paddleboards, kayaks and harbor cruises. Marine Operations recently developed the U-Sea Fund Grant for UMass Boston Faculty who are interested in developing a classroom component around our ocean environment. Starting Summer 2011 Marine Operations will work in conjunction with B&G, Boating in Boston, to offer a sailing camp for youth up to age 18. Boating in Boston has operated for years in other locations and have shown considerable interest in UMass Boston's grand waterfront.

Notable alumni


  1. "2015 REPORT ON ANNUAL INDICATORS University Performance Measurement System July 2015" (PDF). University of Massachusetts.
  2. "The UMass Boston Brand Manual". Retrieved May 22, 2014.
  3. Moore, Galen, "The 10 biggest colleges and universities in Mass.", Boston Business Journal, Wednesday, May 30, 2012
  4. "UMB Founding Day Convocation", The Mass Media newspaper, v. 1, issue 1, November 16, 1966.
  5. Davidson, Patricia S., "The Greater Boston Urban Education Collaborative", Education, Spring 1998
  6. "UMass starts design on new science building", The Dorchester Reporter, August 14, 2008. "Now that Gov. Deval Patrick has signed the $2.2 billion higher education bond bill - $125 million of which will go for improvements at the UMass Boston campus - college administrators are hot to trot to begin transforming the 70s-era Columbia Point campus that is often referred to as a 'fortress' or a 'prison.'"
  7. Cf. "Statements from The Library at University of Massachusetts Boston Harbor Campus published in 1974 when the library opened". "Healey Library -- Opened Spring 1974 -- Architect: Harry Weese. Statements from The Library at University of Massachusetts Boston Harbor Campus published in 1974 when the library opened. Harry Weese, Architect: "The library at the University of Massachusetts' Dorchester campus manages to occupy the central position, not at the end of the axis, but between two structural building continiuums linked by second-story access, facing a plaza. It remains the nexus, the place of quiet, redolent of knowledge."
  8. Viser, Matt; and Phillips, Frank, "Waves of scandal rattle Beacon Hill", The Boston Globe, November 2, 2008. "The State House was engulfed in scandal in the 1970's over bribes given to legislators by the contractor building the University of Massachusetts' Boston campus. The Senate majority leader, Joseph J.C. DiCarlo of Revere; a ranking Senate Republican leader, Ronald A. MacKenzie; and James A. Kelly Jr., the Senate Ways and Means chairman, all were convicted in federal court and sentenced to jail time."
  9. Farrell, David (February 20, 1977). "Two senators on trial". The Boston Globe.
  10. Hogarty, Richard A. (2002). Massachusetts Politics and Public Policy: Studies in Power and Leadership. University of Massachusetts Press. pp. 242–246.
  11. Kallmann McKinnell & Wood, Architects, Inc., "University of Massachusetts, Boston Campus Center" - architect's description
  12. Dan, Adams (January 5, 2015). "UMass Boston hopes new facility highlights academics, Boston Globe".
  13. Leung, Shirley (October 2, 2015). ""Even without Olympics, UMass Boston should still build dorms," Boston Globe".
  14. Transcript of Barack Obama commencement remarks at UMASS/Boston - University of Massachusetts Boston, June 2, 2006, Boston, Massachusetts
  15. "Developing a Strategic Plan for UMass Boston", UMASS Boston website, 2008
  16. "Alternative Campus Concepts", UMass Boston, Master Plan, Needs & Opportunities, Campus Master Plan Workshop, September 24, 2007
  17. "UMass Boston Campus Master Plan", Master Plan Subcommittee Review, July 12, 2007.
  18. Forry, Ed, "UMass-Boston seeks to buy Bayside Expo; Motley says no plans for dorms", The Dorchester Reporter, December 16, 2009
  19. Anderson, Hil, "Boston’s Bayside Expo Site Sold to University", Trade Show Executive News, January 2010.
  20. Feldberg, Michael (2015). UMass Boston at 50. Boston: University of Massachusetts Boston. ISBN 978-1-62534-169-3.
  21. "History of the University of Massachusetts Boston - University of Massachusetts Boston".
  22. 1 2 Trends in Undergraduate Majors, Fall Terms (PDF), Office of Institutional Research and Policy Studies, UMass Boston, 2015, retrieved January 24, 2016
  23. Baccalaureate Degree Completion Trends (PDF), Office of Institutional Research and Policy Studies, UMass Boston, 2015, retrieved January 24, 2016
  24. "America's Top Colleges". Forbes. July 5, 2016.
  25. "America's Top Colleges".
  26. "Best Colleges 2017: National Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. September 12, 2016.
  27. "How Does UMass Boston Rank Among America's Best Colleges?".
  28. "2016 Rankings - National Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  29. "2016 College Guide and Rankings".
  30. "QS World University Rankings® 2016/17". Quacquarelli Symonds Limited. 2016. Retrieved September 6, 2016.
  31. "Best Global Universities Rankings: 2017". U.S. News & World Report LP. Retrieved October 25, 2016.
  32. "Search Top World Universities - US News Best Global Universities".
  33. Enrollment Trends in Undergraduate Minors, Fall Terms (PDF), Office of Institutional Research and Policy Studies, UMass Boston, 2015, retrieved June 15, 2016
  34. UMass Boston Athletics home page
  35. University of Massachusetts Boston: Yearbooks, 1969-2010
  36. The Watermark,
  37. Cory Atkins page - State Representative in Massachusetts
  38. "Litton and Brann Scholarships", UMASS/Boston
  39. Christine E. Canavan page - State Representative in Massachusetts
  40. Greenhouse, Steve. "Tim Costello, Trucker-Author Who Fought Globalization, Dies at 64", The New York Times, December 26, 2009. Accessed December 28, 2009.
  41. "GardaWorld Appoints Former Boston Police Commissioner Paul Evans as Managing Director", Reuters, Mon Oct 6, 2008
  42. "Sally Kelly, Anne Speakman", The New York Times, July 9, 2006
  43. Harrison, Judy, "Janet Mills takes oath as Maine’s first female AG", Bangor Daily News, January 06, 2009
  44. "Debra J. Saunders".
  45. "How Do You Start a Tradition?", Mass Media, UMASS/Boston, June 12, 1969
  46. "Bio: John Warner",


  1. There are three other public educational institutions in the city of Boston: Roxbury Community College, Bunker Hill Community College, and the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. There are also many private colleges and universities in and around the city.
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