May 17, 2007 — Vol. 42, No. 40
Send this page to a friend!


Motley to become first black chancellor at UMass

Howard Manly

In a move considered to be a win-win for the University of Massachusetts college system, J. Keith Motley is expected to become chancellor of the Boston campus while Michael Collins, the school’s present chancellor, moves over to the UMass medical school in Worcester as its senior vice president for health sciences.

Motley served as interim chancellor of the Boston campus for a year before losing the job in June 2005 to Collins. The decision by University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson touched off a wave of protests as scores of Boston community activist and politicians, including Mayor Thomas M. Menino, demanded the hiring of Motley in Boston.

The protest was muted after Motley decided to accept the job as the university’s vice president for business, marketing and public affairs.

If approved next month by the University of Massachusetts Board of Regents, Motley would become the school’s first African American chancellor.

The new personnel move comes days after Wilson announced his decision to shuffle leadership roles at three of the university’s five colleges. Part of the shuffling was the result of the retirement two months ago of Aaron Lazere as medical school chancellor. To fill that gap, Collins, the former president of the Caritas Christi hospital network, will serve as interim chancellor as well.

Also under Wilson’s plan, John Lombardi will step down as chancellor of the Amherst campus at the end of the next school year. After a one-year sabbatical, he’ll return to teaching while serving as a “special adviser” to Wilson.

Wilson’s reshuffling comes two months after Rep. Martin Meehan, D-Mass., was named chancellor of the Lowell campus.

During his time at UMass-Boston, Motley was extremely popular. As interim chancellor, Motley oversaw a campus that had about 12,500 students, a faculty of about 800 full- and part-time professors and a budget of $176.5 million. Motley has said that he understands the mission of an urban university and that his role in leading the school will combine a mission of affordability with academic excellence. He replaced outgoing chancellor Jo Ann Gora, who left to run Ball State University.

Before UMass-Boston, Motley spent 20 years at Northeastern, where he worked primarily in student-services positions. He left Northeastern in August 2003 to become UMass-Boston’s vice chancellor for student affairs. Motley earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from Northeastern University and a doctorate in education from Boston College.

Motley currently serves as the Vice President for Business, Marketing and Public Affairs for the UMass system. Collins will take on the role of Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. (Harry Brett photo)

Outgoing UMass Boston Chancellor Michael F. Collins, MD, UMass Board of Trustees Chairman Steve Tocco, UMass President Jack M. Wilson and UMass Boston Chancellor-designate J. Keith Motley. (Harry Brett photo)

Click here to send a letter to the editor

Back to Top