Date: February 2, 2010
Department: News & Public Information
We know that for all of you, today presents a bittersweet moment. Because of the bold action of your Board of Trustees in "giving themselves away" in order to bring SNESL's mission and goals forward, an excellent, effective, "best practice" public law school serving the region and the Commonwealth is coming to life. Just a few minutes ago the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education unanimously approved our proposal to offer the Juris Doctor degree at UMass Dartmouth's School of Law.
For all of you who helped us make this happen, you should know how grateful the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth is for your confidence in us, your willingness to take a risk in partnership, and how pleased we are to welcome you into the UMass family.
We know after the elation of accomplishing our shared goal passes, you will also have some concerns and worry about what you might be losing. A small close knit community determined to succeed has created some important bonds and some significant history that should not be disregarded or forgotten. We assure you that we want to honor the foundation years of our new law school and will work with all of you and your alumni to understand how to do that most effectively. SNESL and its legacy will not fade from our collective memory.
This has been a very long and difficult approval process because it is a "first" and because of the opposition of some private law schools. I know that the rhetoric has sometimes been painful and difficult for you and I am very sorry that you had to experience that. We want you to know that we are excited about the expertise and experience the faculty and staff bring to our new enterprise and we are eager to unleash all the potential that we see to keep moving forward toward the quality goals that we share.
There are many transition tasks to get underway- the transfer of assets, people, students, etc., and a lot of paperwork. In a week or so we will begin to make all of this more personal so that you can experience this transition without regret or worry but with hope and enthusiasm -- more as an extension of our respective families rather than a loss. We should all be grateful for the tenacious leadership at all levels that got us here, and all be willing to contribute to shaping our new opportunity.
The work is just beginning, but today marks an historic moment for all of us and we should be proud that once again we have the opportunity to "break new ground" in the service of the Commonwealth and the nation. Let's celebrate this milestone achievement and then get to work making the University of Massachusetts School of Law - Dartmouth something we all take great pride in.
Chancellor Jean MacCormack