Be Revolutionary Brand Launch

Chancellor's Remarks
Be Revolutionary Brand Launch
October 8, 2019

Hello and thank you everyone for joining us.

In recent years, we have made incredible strides. We are now the destination of choice for the highest academically achieving students from across the commonwealth and around the world. The strength of our students is reflected in the dramatic rise in our graduation rates, putting us on par with any leading public university in the country. And the national and international reputation of our research enterprise continues to grow, as our faculty lead the way with a commitment to bold, pioneering discovery and creativity across disciplines.

I am proud but not surprised by our success.  I have been at land-grant universities almost my entire career, and am familiar with their shared culture and mission, and I can tell you there is a unique energy at UMass Amherst. An undercurrent of resilience and a determination to be free runs through this campus. Free to explore. Free to challenge. Free to create.

This unique energy propels us forward, and as we have worked together to successfully compete on the national stage, I have come to understand and appreciate the energy that drives our campus.

Like other land-grant institutions, this university took root over 150 years ago with a radical movement to democratize higher education.

But unlike other land-grants institutions, from its inception, this public university, was juxtaposed with well-established Massachusetts private colleges who served the elite and who questioned the necessity of our existence.

The public university began in the birth place of the American Revolution, and it was that quest for freedom that helped determine the future of our country.  

So, when this university put down its roots in 1863, it arrived with some attitude.

For more than 150 years, with each passing decade, our revolutionary roots have grown deeper, stronger, and more mature.

Just as inspiring stories of our innovation and resilience surround us in this room today, so our revolutionary spirit envelopes us as we push through boundaries in learning, discovery, and engagement with society.

Our revolutionary spirit shines when Daniel Ellsberg says he’s grateful his papers are going to, "an institution that is dedicated to the values of openness, equity and social justice."

Our revolutionary spirit is evident when The Washington Post, writes, we have “developed a reputation as perhaps the single most important heterodox economics department in the country…”

Our revolutionary spirit inspires us to fight racism and bigotry, fueling the determination that founded the W.E.B. Du Bois Afro-American Studies department in the early 1970s, one of the first in the country. Fueling the determination that opened the Stonewall Center in 1985, then just the third center for LGB students on a U.S. campus.

Our revolutionary spirit is present when we’re named a STARS Gold University, the highest possible ranking by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, placing us in the top 10 doctorate granting institutions nationally.

Our revolutionary spirit is clear for all to see when our faculty lead the way in pioneering new treatments for disease; help discover a black hole in the universe; are inducted into the National Academy of Sciences; and receive a MacArthur “Genius Grant.”

Our revolutionary spirit has always been part of our DNA, and today, with this launch, we embrace the role it plays in our success.

We’re not just rolling out a campaign slogan, we are inviting the world to experience the unique energy that defines the University of Massachusetts Amherst.   

As we face challenges ahead, from reduced funding to changing demographics, we need to tell our compelling story with authenticity if we are to continue our upward trajectory. Framing the university through the lens of our unique revolutionary spirit truly expresses everything we stand for: past, present and future.

We have made incredible progress in recent years, and as we build on our success, continuing to push through boundaries, our revolutionary spirit is holding out a hand, ready to lead the way as we take on the challenges of tomorrow. Thank you!