UMass Amherst
Office of the Chancellor, University of Massachusetts Amherst
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  Past Chancellors & Presidents on the Amherst Campus

The Campus

Number of students:

Number of degrees awarded:

Instate undergraduate tuition:

New buildings:
Chadbourne (1947)
Draper Annex (1947)
Berkshire (1948)
Hampshire (1948)
Middlesex (1948)
New Africa House (1948)
Skinner (1948)
Brooks (1949)
Gunness (1949)
Hamlin (1949)
Knowlton (1949)
University Apartments (1949)
Hasbrouck Lab (1950)
Marston (1950)
Paige Lab (1950)
Baker (1952)
Crabtree (1953)
Leach (1953)
Worcester Dining Hall (1953)
Arnold (1954)


Ralph Van Meter, 1947- 54

Ralph Van Meter was the first president of the University of Massachusetts. (Its name changed from Massachusetts State College in 1947, the year Van Meter became Acting President.)

Van Meter spent nearly 40 years learning, teaching, and leading on the Amherst campus. He attended The Ohio State University as an undergraduate, earning his B.S. in 1917. He came to the then Massachusetts Agricultural College as a specialist in Food Conservation in 1917. Later he served in the Pomology Department as a professor, becoming the head of the department from 1936 to 1948.

The Board of Trustees appointed Van Meter as Acting President in 1947 and then President in 1948.† He was responsible for a number of innovations, including the creation of the position of Provost (first held by John Paul Mather) and the establishment of new schools of business administration and engineering.† The Universityís physical plant expanded substantially under Van Meterís leadership, with 20 new buildings.


Profiles compiled from historical documentation located in Special Collections and Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts and from Cary, H. (1962). The University of Massachusetts: A History of 100 Years. Amherst: University of Massachusetts.

Image provided by Special Collections and Archives, W.E.B. Du Bois Library, University of Massachusetts Amherst.

This page last updated June 14, 2004

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