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UMass System Launches Presidential Search

DARTMOUTH — UMass trustees formally launched the system’s search for a new president by creating a 21-member presidential search committee to oversee what it said would be a wide-ranging and comprehensive search process. The committee was created at a special board of trustees meeting held at the UMass School of Law.

“We will ask this committee to conduct a national search that is open and thorough — a process that will give any and all candidates the opportunity to come forward and offer their ideas and make their case,” said Victor Woolridge, board of trustees chairman. “This board is wholeheartedly committed to conducting a search that is inclusive and transparent, with the goal of attracting the outstanding candidates that a top-tier university like UMass deserves.”

Woolridge described the committee as “distinguished and diverse,” adding, “I believe we’ve found the right people at the right time to handle the very important task of finding an outstanding new leader for the university system that means so much to the Commonwealth and its people.”

The search committee includes faculty members from all five UMass campuses, three students, community and business leaders, and members of the UMass board of trustees, including state Secretary of Education James Peyser. The presidential search committee will be chaired by Robert Manning, chairman of MFS Investment Management and former Chairman of the UMass board of trustees.

“It is my goal and the search committee’s goal to conduct a search that is thorough and wide-ranging,” said Manning, who is a graduate of UMass Lowell. “We will seek to attract and assess the very best candidates and are confident that our committee will meet its charge, which is to recommend outstanding finalist candidates.”

The search committee will make its recommendations to the UMass board of trustees, which hopes to make the final selection of a new president by July 1.

“As a UMass system graduate, I take great pride in the fact that our university has enjoyed such significant progress in recent years and is now recognized as the top public university in New England and as one of the 100 best universities in the world,” Manning said. “Many factors feed into this surge of success, and strong presidential leadership certainly plays a prominent role — and, thus, we must find a leader who can keep us on our upward trajectory. As I am confident we will.”

The new president will succeed current UMass President Robert Caret, who has announced he will assume the chancellorship of the university system of Maryland on July 1. Caret has served as president of the five-campus UMass system since July 1, 2011.

“Under President Caret’s leadership, the University of Massachusetts has achieved increased national and international recognition and has made significant progress in many key areas,” Woolridge said, adding that Caret’s tenure at UMass has been marked by his strong advocacy for the university, a focus on controlling student cost, and an emphasis on accountability and efficiency.

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