Former Chancellors

Working under a title that has changed from farm superintendent to chancellor, in its nearly 150 years of existence, the position of campus leadership has been held 30 times. These leaders have been farmers, librarians, teachers, scientists, professional baseball players, and visionaries.

Robert C. Holub

Chancellor 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
2008-2012

holub

Robert Holub’s career has been devoted to public research universities. Most of his professional life was spent at the University of California, Berkeley, where he worked for 27 years. Prior to becoming chancellor of this campus, he served as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Tennessee’s flagship campus in Knoxville. A prolific writer, Holub’s academic interest is in 19th and 20th-century German intellectual, cultural, and literary history. As chancellor, he brought the university to new heights of recognition and competiveness, despite severe economic challenges.

Thomas W. Cole, Jr.

Chancellor 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
2007-2008

cole

The first president of Clark Atlanta University, a historically black, four-year liberal arts college, Thomas W. Cole Jr. was tapped to be interim chancellor of the Amherst campus. During his tenure, he was known for his quiet leadership style and for keeping the campus on track with new construction and hiring of faculty. He established Founders Day, a celebration of the history of UMass Amherst.

John Lombardi

Chancellor 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
2002-2007

A Latin American historian with a specialty in Venezuela, he quickly filled the chancellor's residence with his library of 20,000 books. He coined the phrase "New Dirt," his term for construction sites on campus. The charismatic leader broadened the fund-raising organization for the campus, including creating the UMass Amherst Foundation.

Marcellete G. Williams

Chancellor 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
2001-2002

williams

The first woman to serve as chancellor, Marcellete G. Williams had been deputy chancellor for seven-and-a-half years. She continued to upgrade the computer system, effectively bringing campus information technology into the 21st century.

David K. Scott

Chancellor 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
1993-2001

scott

Born in Scotland's Orkney Islands, Scott trained as a nuclear scientist. Infrastructure repairs, long neglected, were a focus of his tenure. This included network wiring across campus, and the formation of Commonwealth College.

Richard D. O'Brien

Chancellor 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
1991-1993

obrien

Richard O'Brien succeeded to the chancellorship from the provost's office, where he had served for seven years. In his tenure he established awards in Multiculturalism, and the Richard D. Mullins Center and Ice Rink opened.

Joseph Duffey

Chancellor 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
1982-1991

duffey

From March 1990 until July 1991, Joseph Duffey served as both chancellor of the Amherst campus and president of the University-wide system. In 1986 he, along with student volunteers and professional staff, renovated 23 stories of the University Library. The project was called "Mass Transformation."

Loren Baritz

Chancellor 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
1982

baritz

After Koffler retired, then-Provost Loren Baritz served as chancellor for several months before Joseph Duffey's arrival. A historian, Baritz had written about the Vietnam conflict and its effects on American culture.

Henry Koffler

Chancellor 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
1979-1982

koffler

Vienna-born scientist Henry Koffler initiated "The Year Toward Civility" and formed the Chancellor's Commission on Civility in Human Relations. For the first time in many years, no new buildings were added on campus. Degrees conferred now numbered 5,346.

Randolph W. Bromery

Chancellor 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
1971-1979

bromery

The university became more diverse under Bromery's leadership, the first black man to take the post. He hired numerous faculty of color and secured a home for the archives of W.E.B. Du Bois and Horace Mann Bond, making the library a leading repository for African-American thought.

Oswald Tippo

Chancellor 
University of Massachusetts Amherst
1970-1971

tippo

The first chancellor of UMass Amherst, Oswald Tippo '32, '54Hon, was a botanist. Under his tutelege, classes in Asian and African-American Studies were begun. Namesake of the Oswald Tippo Library Courtyard and Sculpture Garden, Tippo taught until 1984.

John W. Lederle

President 
University of Massachusetts
1960-1970

lederle

Leading the charge for UMass Amherst to become a nationally respected research university, Lederle played a large role in shaping the campus as it looks today, adding 45 new buildings. Under Lederle, student enrollment tripled to 18,378, faculty salaries nearly doubled, and the instructional budget grew by 700 percent, to more than $100 million.

Jean P. Mather

President 
University of Massachusetts
1954-1960

mather

Appointed acting president when President Van Meter became ill, John Paul Mather became, at age 39, the youngest president of his generation to lead a land-grant university. He ushered in a construction boom, adding more than 40 new buildings during his tenure.

Ralph Van Meter

President 
University of Massachusetts
1947-1954

vanmeter

Van Meter's tenure was the period of greatest growth. Twenty new buildings came on line, as well as new schools of business administration and engineering. "Tall, straight and broad of shoulder," people judged that "leadership came naturally to this imposing figure."

Hugh P. Baker

President 
Massachusetts State College
1932-1946

baker

A forester by training, Baker is best known for his building programs-five dormitories, Goodell Library, and others-and a near doubling of the student enrollment, to 2,407, in 1947, with 324 degrees granted.

Roscoe W. Thatcher

President 
Massachusetts State College
1927-1932

thatcher

During his tenure, the Ohio-born Thatcher expanded the farm program into the Stockbridge School of Agriculture, but resisted student-led demands for the granting of an arts degree.

Edward M. Lewis

President 
Massachusetts Agricultural College
1924-1927

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Born in Wales, upon graduation from Williams College he played professional baseball-four years for the Boston Nationals, now the Atlanta Braves, and one for the Boston Americans, now the Red Sox. At MAC he joined the English faculty, served as dean, then president. Proving too liberal for the trustees, he resigned.

Kenyon L. Butterfield

President 
Massachusetts Agricultural College
1906-1924

butterfield

Raised on a Michigan farm, he was 38 years old when he became MAC's leader. His tenure divides into two halves: pre- and post-WWI. He resigned in 1924, saying, "I was driven out of this whole business of State House control."

William P. Brooks

President 
Massachusetts Agricultural College
1905-1906

brooks

William P. Brooks, a 1875 graduate of the Massachusetts Agricultural College, spent several years in Japan where he helped establish the Sapporo Agricultural School. William S. Clark, a former president of Massachusetts Agricultural College and teacher to Brooks, was invited to Japan to begin the school. In honor of Brooks’ work, the Japanese government bestowed on him the Fourth Order of Merit, the Cordon of the Rising Sun, and a degree of Doctor of Agriculture.

Henry H. Goodell

President 
Massachusetts Agricultural College
1883 and 1886-1905

goodell

Born in Constantinople and an Amherst College grad, he joined the faculty in its first year, 1867, teaching modern languages and English literature. He was also the first college librarian. The longest-serving president, he brought many changes to the campus and the curriculum, among them: the admission of women in 1892, the first PhD program (entomology in 1902), and building of the campus pond.

James C. Greenough

President 
Massachusetts Agricultural College
1883-1886

greenough

A Williams College grad, James C. Greenough had extensive teaching experience before coming to MAC as president. During his tenure, students numbered 108, faculty 12, and in-state tuition was $36. Old Chapel, South College, and West Experiment Station, were added during his tenure, all in 1885. In 1886 after his presidency, he returned to the principalship at Westfield Normal School.

Levi Stockbridge

President 
Massachusetts Agricultural College
1879 and 1880-1882

stockbridge

Hadley farmer, founding father, first employee (farm superintendent), and professor of agriculture, Levi Stockbridge had two main ambitions in life: agriculture and founding MAC. His brief presidency was less successful than his teaching. Revered by students, he often lent money to them, and the college, during hard times.

Charles L. Flint

President 
Massachusetts Agricultural College
1879-1880

flint

Upon President Clark's resignation and in the middle of a budget crisis, a not uncommon occurrence in the early days of the college, Charles L. Flint, one of the school's founders, agreed to serve without a salary. In 1880, there were 93 students and seven degrees awarded.

William S. Clark

President 
Massachusetts Agricultural College
1867-1879

clark

An Amherst College grad, a Civil War veteran and a teacher of botany and horticulture at the fledging MAC, Colonel William Smith Clark served the college well during difficult times. He is best known as one of the founders of Hokkaido University in Sapporo, Japan, where in the course of an eight-month leave of absence from MAC, he introduced American plant species and in turn brought many Japanese specimens here. His parting words to students, "Boys, be ambitious," make him famous in Japan, still.

Paul Chadbourne

President 
Massachusetts Agricultural College
1867 and 1882-1883

chadbourne

Because of poor pulmonary health, President Chadbourne resigned before the first class was admitted in 1867. When offered the MAC presidency in 1882, 15 years after his first term, he at first hesitated, saying he "could not afford it," a reference to his poor head for business and losses in a number of ventures. He finally accepted the post but died just a year later.

Henry F. French

President 
Massachusetts Agricultural College
1864-1866

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When his plans for the new college were rejected, the New Hampshire-born lawyer and casual farmer resigned. His better-known son, Daniel Chester French, sculptor of the Minuteman statue in Concord and the seated Lincoln in Washington, D.C., worked on the college farm as a teen.