First woman to lead UMass Lowell confirmed by trustees

BOSTON, AUG. 3, 2015…..Hailed as “someone with skills to take UMass Lowell to the next level,” the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees on Monday unanimously appointed Jacqueline Moloney chancellor of the Lowell university.

Moloney, a UMass-Lowell alumna who most recently served as the university’s executive vice chancellor, is the first female chancellor in the 121-year history of UMass Lowell and its preceding institutions, according to the university.

“It means the world to me. I am very excited about leading this great institution and our remarkable faculty, staff and students,” Moloney said after the board voted on her appointment.

Moloney, who grew up in Tewksbury and now lives in Chelmsford, was the first person selected by former UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan for his executive team and and “oversaw a comprehensive restructuring of the organization, making it more student-focused and entrepreneurial,” according to a biography on the university’s website.

In June, the UMass Board of Trustees created a 24-member panel tasked with finding a successor to Meehan, who left his post at UMass Lowell to become president of the public university system.

Meehan, a former Massachusetts congressman, started as UMass president on July 1. Meehan had held the Lowell chancellorship since July 2007 and worked closely with Moloney during his tenure in Lowell.

“To say that Jacquie Moloney has the support and good wishes of the campus and the Lowell community would be an understatement,” Meehan said Monday in recommending the board appoint Moloney. “Jacquie Moloney has played a major role in the transformation of UMass-Lowell and in so many of its accomplishments.”

Moloney said her experience working with Meehan and as the driving force behind the university’s latest strategic plan will allow her to “hit the ground running” as its chancellor.

“I helped write the strategic plan, I know it inside out, I know the university top to bottom and, of course, I have a lot of experience working with the new president,” she said. “I feel like it’s going to be very easy for me to take a toll and get started right away with the opening of school in the fall.”

Moloney was the sole candidate out of five interviewed by the search committee to be put forward as a finalist, and members of the search committee said Monday that she stood out in a field of well-qualified candidates.

“We basically saw many people who were hugely qualified and probably could have stepped up, but each one had a little bit of a gap here or a little bit of a gap there,” trsutee Margaret D. Xifaras said. “When Jacquie came before us, it was exciting to be able to say unequivocally that there are no gaps … she’s done it all.”

The president of the university’s faculty senate, Michael Carter, said Moloney has “excelled at everything she has done” at the school.

“What Jacquie brings to the table that no one else has is a strong, unique vision of what makes UMass Lowell works,” Carter, a professor of economics, said. “That vision is one driven by a passion that is as strong as Marty’s … it’s informed by a knowledge second to none of the strengths of UMass Lowell on the ground, the strengths of its people, and it is supported by the widespread respect of those people.”

The Lowell campus currently has 17,184 students and employs 2,071 faculty members and staff. UMass Lowell started as a teaching college known as the Lowell Normal School in 1894.

Copyright 2015 State House News Service

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