UMass Amherst Looks to the Past and the Future at Founders Day
The start of the University of Massachusetts began 145 years ago. on April 29, 1863, when governor John A. Andrew signed a bill creating an agricultural college for farmers in the small western Massachusetts town of Amherst. Its primary mission as the Massachusetts Agricultural College and now as a national research institution is to support the transfer of knowledge for the common good.
The governor’s bill proclaimed the University’s mission “to teach such branches of learning as are related to agriculture and the mechanic arts, in order to promote … liberal and practical education … in the several pursuits and professions of life…”
In the 145 years since, what is now UMass Amherst has become the flagship of a five-campus statewide system with acclaimed programs in every area of academic pursuit. Thousands of students have had been given opportunities to succeed in life and contribute to the world from the start they received on the campus and in the classrooms at UMass Amherst.
UMass Amherst has transformed the lives of endless men, women and children and both urban and rural centers with its commitment to education, research, and outreach. Meanwhile, the campus continues to be the gateway to the American Dream with 25 percent of the student body the first in their families to attend college.
On April 29, 2008, UMass Amherst celebrated its founding and its future with the first Founders Day, an opportunity to pay tribute to those whose vision and foresight the campus benefits from today. Music and dance performances by UMass Amherst student groups as well high school students from Worcester, Amherst and Springfield filled the Fine Arts Center in the morning. After an all-campus lunch, Chancellor Thomas W. Cole Jr., and UMass System President Jack Wilson introduced Governor Deval Patrick who spoke about his commitment to higher education and to UMass Amherst. The day was capped off by the cutting of a ceremonial birthday cake in the shape of the Old Chapel, with musical accompaniment by the rousing Minuteman Marching Band.
As UMass Amherst marks its history, make a gift to ensure that the campus remains an institution full of promise and service. Invest in merit and needs based student scholarships. Invest in endowed professorships to attract scholars of the highest caliber. Invest in cutting-edge programs that solve social, environmental, and economic problems. Invest in new facilities to make state-of-the-art research and teaching a reality.Partner with UMass Amherst and keep the progress moving.