The life and legacy of former chancellor Randolph W. Bromery were remembered May 17 at a memorial gathering hosted by the Chancellor’s Office at the Marriott Center for Hospitality Management in the Campus Center.
Bromery, who served as chancellor from 1971-79, died Feb. 26 at the age of 87.
The remembrance drew 150 people, including the Bromery family, administrators, faculty, friends and colleagues from other institutions that Bromery led during his long career as a geophysicist and stints as chancellor of Board of Higher Education, interim president of Westfield State College and president of Springfield College and Roxbury Community College.
In his remarks, Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy paid tribute to the “transformative effect” Bromery had on the campus during his administration during an era of expansion.
“Most importantly, and thanks in large part to Chancellor Bromery’s leadership, the character of the campus was transformed during his tenure at its helm,” said Subbaswamy. “A modest and homogenous campus in a sleepy little town in the middle of farm country had begun to emerge as a vibrant, diverse, and lively research university that would transform the region in which it resided, as well as the lives of tens of thousands of students for whom it provided previously unimagined opportunities, and would take its place among the leading public research universities in the nation.”
Subbaswamy noted the leadership role Bromery played in acquiring the papers of W.E.B. Du Bois, the creation of the Jazz Studies Program and Afro-American Studies Department, and the development of the Five College consortium.
“Isaac Newton once wrote, ‘If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,’” said Subbaswamy. “I am honored to follow in the footsteps of Dr. Randolph Bromery and confident that we all owe him a considerable debt for anything we may accomplish here because we are able to stand on the shoulders of a giant.”
Senate Majority Leader Stan Rosenberg and Rep. Ellen Story presented a legislative proclamation recognizing Bromery’s “distinguished service to the University of Massachusetts Amherst as chancellor and to higher education in the Commonwealth.”
Other speakers included former chancellors David Scott, John Lombardi and Richard O’Brien, Senior Vice President Marcellette Williams and Judge James Collins, who served as state representative from Amherst when Bromery was chancellor.
Also offering remarks were Esther M.A. Terry, former head of Afro-American Studies and a longtime campus administrator, Donald St. Mary, former head of Mathematics and Statistics, former associate chancellor Zina Tillona, professor emeritus Stearns Morse, a colleague of Bromery in the Geosciences Department, Libraries director Jay Schafer and William Darity, professor emeritus and former dean of Public Health.
Bromery’s sons, Dennis and David, also addressed the gathering.