UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack today announced to area legislators and Dartmouth town officials that the Class of 2010---more than 1,500 students--arriving on campus this weekend will be the largest freshman cohort in the history of the campus.
UMass Dartmouth will begin the year with nearly 9,000 students, up from 7,500 just five years ago. "This growth is a direct result of the quality of our faculty and staff," Chancellor MacCormack said.
The university, meanwhile, is continuing to make major investments to serve students, support professors, and serve the southeastern Massachusetts region and has begun planning for a major renovation of the library.
"The centerpiece of university's near-term investment strategy is a $10 million library campaign to transform the intellectual heart of the campus," Dr. MacCormack said. "We envision bright, technology-rich areas that promote the lively exchange of ideas; a cafe on the lower level and comfortable and quiet study areas on the upper levels. We are planning a new glass-enclosed front entry that will add more than 5,000 square feet to the facility."
The official beginning of the campaign will be October 14 when the university stages its first Blue and Gold Gala, a $150 per plate fundraiser held in the library.
A focal point of the renovation will be the construction of the Ferreira Mendes Portuguese-American Archives. "This will be a national portal to the experience, contribution and culture of Portuguese immigrants and their descendants," Dr. MacCormack said.
Built in 1972, the library contains 460,000 books, journals and other materials. More than 300,000 people walk through the library every year, including 35,000 people who are not affiliated with the university.
Dr. MacCormack said the continued growth of the student body and the modernization of the library are emblematic of a university that is on the move, and she thanked the legislators and town officials in attendance for their support. "Your efforts, your advocacy, your partnership have allowed us to position our university and our region to compete in a global context," she said.
During the recently concluded legislative session, UMass received increases in its base operating budget, allowing the university to stabilize student charges; funding of employee contracts, allowing the university to recruit top-flight faculty talent; and capital funding allotments, allowing the university to upgrade public safety and academic facilities.
Initiatives for the 2006-2007 academic year include:
- More than 20 new faculty members will be hired.
- A 20,000 square foot research building, designed to promote inter-disciplinary discovery, will open next spring.
- Strategic planning will begin for a $10 million bio-manufacturing facility approved by the Legislature and governor. The facility, designed to accelerate the development of life science-related products, will be coupled the new research building an other UMass activity to create bio-technology foothold for southeastern Massachusetts.
- Equipping of lecture halls with multi-media tools for faculty to use.
- Student life improvements including a new and bigger health center; a modern dining commons built into the recently built residence halls; and "web food" program that allows students to order their meals online.
- Public safety improvements including the addition of two police officers, bringing the sworn force to 25; enhancements to campus transportation, emergency call boxes, and fire alarm systems; and safety education programs.
- The University is working to expand its student engagement in the Town of Dartmouth. Nine nursing students will be working with the Council on Aging on the development of "Files for Life" for senior citizens. These are medical histories that are readily available for EMTs when they arrive at a senior citizen's home to handle an emergency. Other nursing students will be working with Dartmouth school nurses.