Marty Meehan’s Biography
Chancellor's Vitae (pdf)
Marty Meehan is the second chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the 15th leader of the institution, founded in the 1890s as the Lowell Normal and Lowell Textile schools.
Since assuming the chancellorship in 2007, Meehan has propelled UMass Lowell forward by every important measure of higher education. The institution has achieved record growth in enrollment, student retention, research and scholarship funding. The campus also has undergone a stunning physical transformation with new buildings, upgraded academic and research facilities, and enhanced student residence and activity spaces.
While strongly focusing on academics and student success, Chancellor Meehan has made access, affordability and diversity a keystone of his vision to raise UMass Lowell’s image and impact on the region.
Meehan has sought innovative and entrepreneurial means to obtain resources. Understanding that philanthropic support is vital to sustain the progress that has been made, the chancellor has overseen the largest fundraising years in the history of the institution resulting in an 84 percent increase in fundraising, with over $65 million raised, and culminating with this year’s record total of $17.2 million.
Meehan and his leadership team charged the campus with creating a strategic plan, UMass Lowell 2020 which is the blueprint that has guided the campus toward national and international recognition as a world-class institution. This plan established bold initiatives that have transformed the campus across five pillars: Transformational Education, Global Engagement & Inclusive Culture, Innovative Research & Entrepreneurship, Entrepreneurial Stewardship, and Leverage our Legacy and our Place.
Enrollment has increased by a dramatic 40 percent over the past five years, and despite that rapid enrollment growth, student quality is also on the rise. The average SAT of incoming freshmen, math and verbal combined, was 1127 – an increase of 56 points in four years. Today, UMass Lowell has over 16,000 bright, energetic and motivated undergraduate and graduate students.
Freshman retention is increasing and UMass Lowell leads New England public research institutions in increasing the percentage of students who successfully complete their degrees.
All incoming freshmen are placed in learning communities and cooperative and internship programs have been expanded in the areas of engineering, science and management. One-hundred percent of the University’s classrooms have been upgraded with state-of-the-art technology and are now “smart classrooms.”
Additionally, new academic and recreational programs, a focus on interdisciplinary curricula and a surge in global academic and research partnerships have helped invigorate the campus and provide students with the tools they need to succeed in the classroom and in the workplace.
UMass Lowell has academic partnerships with more than 90 universities in 40 countries in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, North America and Australia with more planned. These partnerships feature learning through experience, team-taught courses, student exchanges and research partnerships. On campus, we are increasing diversity to ensure that all populations are prepared to succeed in today’s economy. Total new undergraduate student diversity is up 34 percent in the last five years, including an 84 percent increase in new students of color.
Research expenditures in FY11 reached $60 million, a 66 percent increase in four years and a record for the University.
The campus has undergone a stunning physical transformation since Meehan became chancellor. In 2009, the University purchased an underused downtown hotel and converted it into the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, providing housing for 500 students as well as conference space and lodging for the community.
In 2010, the University acquired the 6,500-seat Tsongas Arena (now the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell) and also assumed management of the UMass Lowell Bellegarde Boathouse, home to University, local and community rowing programs.
Two new academic buildings—the first in 35 years—have been constructed. The Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center on North Campus opened in October 2012 as the hub of industry partnerships and new manufacturing technologies. The Health and Social Science Building on South Campus will house classrooms and laboratories and will open in Spring 2013.
University Suites, a 472-bed residence hall, is under construction and will open in the fall of 2013, along with another new residence hall adjacent to South Campus.
External validation proves that the campus is on the right track. UMass Lowell was rated a top-tier national university by U.S. News and World Report for the first time two years ago. In 2012, the campus advanced in the ranking of national universities to 170 out of 270 schools, which is a 13 spot gain in two years, and is rated among the top 100 public universities nationwide.
Payscale.com says UMass Lowell graduates earn the highest mid-career median salary among public institutions in New England for two of the last three years.
UMass Lowell has been named for three years in a row, the last two “with distinction,” to President’s Obama’s Honor Roll for community service and community engagement, due to the many service learning and partnership initiatives.
The Online and Continuing Education division provides a steady stream of revenue to the campus. Enrollments are up 20 percent over the past five years and the division is expected to exceed $38 million in revenue received this year.
New spin-off companies have been created by the Commercial Ventures and Intellectual Properties Office and licensing revenues increased three times between FY10 and FY11, alone.
Meehan was honored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) at the annual District I program in early 2012 when he received the Chief Executive Leadership Award, established to honor institutional leaders for outstanding contributions to their campus communities, for efforts promoting public understanding of education and for support of advancement at their campuses.
Meehan was named by Irish Voice Magazine in 2009 and 2012 as one of the top 100 Irish Americans in positions of leadership in higher education in the United States.
Meehan represented the fifth congressional district of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2007. He served on the House Armed Services and Judiciary committees. Widely respected as a reformer, he established a national reputation for his legislative leadership in transforming campaign finance laws and protecting people against the health risks in tobacco use. Previously, he served as Massachusetts deputy secretary of state for securities and corporations, and he was the first assistant district attorney of Middlesex County. Meehan was also an adjunct faculty member in political science at UMass Lowell in the late 1980’s.
Meehan graduated cum laude from UMass Lowell in 1978 with a degree in education and political science. He earned a master’s degree in public administration from Suffolk University in 1981 and a juris doctor from Suffolk University Law School in 1986. He holds honorary degrees from Suffolk University, Green Mountain College in Vermont and Shenkar College of Engineering & Design in Israel.
He is on the board of directors at Lowell Cooperative Bank and Natixis as well as the board of governors at Lowell General Hospital.
Previously, he served on the board of directors of Qteros (formerly SunEthanol) and D'Youville Foundation and was a member of the board of trustees of Suffolk University.
Meehan is married to Ellen T. Murphy, a health-care consultant and former vice president at Lawrence General Hospital. They are the parents of Robert Francis and Daniel Martin Meehan.