Monday, January 28, 2013

UMass History in the words of our current chancellor

We just got our usual "welcome to the new semester...." from the university chancellor. There are some interesting tidbits about UMass history in here so I thought I'd share it.:

Dear Campus Community,

Welcome to spring semester!

I invite you to share in my enthusiasm as we kick-off our 

For those of you who may not be familiar with the significance of our 
sesquicentennial, I offer a very short history lesson. 

In the midst of the Civil War, President Lincoln signed the Morrill Land 
Grant Act of 1862.  States were given federal land and the proceeds from 
the sale of that land were used to fund public colleges of agriculture 
and mechanical arts. These public institutions had what was then a 
radical vision: any deserving citizen, regardless of wealth or social 
status, should have access to a college degree.

One year later, the Massachusetts Agricultural College (MAC) opened its 
doors. The campus boasted 4 faculty members, 4 wooden buildings, and 56 
students. Like the other land-grant universities opening across the 
country, “Mass Aggie” would be guided by the core principles of teaching, 
research and engagement (service to the community).

Over the years, the campus continued to educate the citizenry of the 
Commonwealth, and to evolve and grow. In 1931, “Mass Aggie” became 
Massachusetts State College. By 1947, “Mass State” had become the 
University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Today, UMass Amherst is a nationally recognized public research 
university with an internationally renowned faculty.  Our student body, 
the brightest in our history, embarks on a journey defined by personal 
and intellectual growth across every discipline – and then some. Our 
campus of over 1,450 acres is undergoing a facilities renaissance.
Our emphasis on innovation is far reaching and has brought the university 
to heights beyond anything our founders could have anticipated 150 years 
ago: we are undeniably an engine for change. 

In the coming months, as we participate in sesquicentennial events on 
campus and learn more about our history, we will no doubt find that we 
have much to be proud of – and we will build on this pride as we move 
this great university into its next era. 

Best wishes for a productive semester and I look forward to seeing you 
about campus as we celebrate our 150th anniversary.


Kumble R. Subbaswamy