"In a rural corner of southeastern Massachusetts, tall concrete pillars rose from the fields of a former dairy farm, taken by eminent domain a few years earlier. The year was 1965, one year after a ground-breaking ceremony that brought the governor of Massachusetts and regional leaders together in this unlikely spot. That the concrete pillars and modern design clashed with their rural New England surroundings was, for some, exactly the point. The architecture of the new campus carried the message that something bold and significant was underway in this part of the State. Thus began the first phase of a process which led ultimately to the creation of UMass Dartmouth."
-- Dr. Frederick Gifun, professor of history emeritus
So begins the preface of "UMass Dartmouth 1960-2006: Trials and Triumph," a history of the UMass Dartmouth campus written and edited by History Professor Emeritus Frederick Gifun to be officially unveiled on Wednesday, November 14 at 4:30 p.m. at the Claire T. Carney Library on the campus.
The 400-plus page, 500-photograph volume, three years in the making, is the centerpiece of the University History Project which chronicles the physical, academic and social evolution of the Paul Rudolph-designed campus through photographs, video, audio and the written word. At the November 14 book release, Dr. Gifun will discuss the process of writing the history of such a fast-evolving institution and welcome comments from audience members who have been big and small parts of that evolution. The public is invited to attend.
"Looking back at the hopes, dreams and accomplishments of those who have shaped this institution establishes the firm ground for boldly imagining and creating its future," Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack wrote in her introduction to the book. "My vision in commissioning this work was to provide the opportunity for many people to experience through words and pictures the vibrant life of an institution's birth and growth over 40-plus years. The story is compelling. It speaks of the region's desire to be empowered to succeed."
"The history project was very timely for me, and, I believe, for the institution," Dr. Gifun said. "We solicited first-hand accounts in recorded interviews of faculty, alumni, and community members, which are now available in the University Archives as historical resources for anyone to consult. The history book itself is a benchmark reference to the first 46 years of UMass Dartmouth completed during an important transitional phase in the history of the university. It was a privilege to lead this effort in highlighting important issues and individuals, many of whom spent their professional lives helping build the institution we know today."
The book is being launched just as the campus is completing an update of its strategic plan which began seven years ago with the goal of increasing the size of the student body, research enterprise and impact on the region. During this time, enrollment has grown from 6,500 to 9,000; research has grown from $7 million to more than $20 million; and the campus has become a model of engagement with its region.
The UMass Dartmouth History Project was begun at the request of Chancellor MacCormack in 2004, a year which marked the 40th anniversary of the ground breaking for the campus of Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute in North Dartmouth.
The history project involves three aspects: the production and printing of this book, the creation of an oral history archive of individuals involved in the history of UMass Dartmouth, and the development of a website to serve as a guide and follow-up to the project (www.umassd.edu/umdhistory
). With the completion of this book, the website becomes a forum and active resource for ongoing discussion of the history of the University.