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A Man With Momentum

Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy’s legacy was defined by growth, excellence—and community

After more than a decade at the helm of UMass’s flagship university, it is difficult to imagine the Amherst campus without Kumble R. Subbaswamy’s near-ubiquitous presence—and we’ve got the Swamy selfies to prove it. This summer, the beloved chancellor bids a fond farewell. He leaves behind a staggering legacy of institutional accomplishments and growth, and a trove of fond personal memories. Saying goodbye seems too hard, Swamy, so we’ll simply say: We couldn’t have done it without you.

A World-Class University, by Design

In 2018, UMass launched a five-year strategic plan, with a north star of joining the top public research universities in the country by 2023. As the plan reaches its completion, our university is considered a top choice for prospective students, an innovation leader by our peers, and a diverse and desirable employer for faculty.

Rising Through the Ranks

During Chancellor Subbaswamy’s tenure, UMass rose from No. 52 in the 2012 U.S. News & World Report list of the nation’s top public universities to No. 26 in 2022, marking a 26-step increase in just over 10 years.

A Campus Transformed

Students and faculty witnessed a dramatic expansion in campus resources and infrastructure over the past decade, including a new Integrative Learning Center, state-of-the-art Life Science Laboratories, the Martin Jacobson Football Performance Center, and the renovated Student Union building—just a few of the many facilities launched under the chancellor’s leadership.

Setting Our Sights on Carbon Zero

Last year, the university unveiled UMass Carbon Zero, an ambitious vision for powering the 1,450-acre campus with 100% renewable energy by 2032.

A University of Diversity

The class of 2026 marked one of UMass’s most diverse groups of incoming students in university history, with 36% students of color and 54% women.

Meeting the Moment With UMass Flex

Several years before the pandemic made online and hybrid learning a fact of academic life, UMass introduced UMass Flex, a program offering students greater flexibility in when, where, and how they learn with courses in three modes: in person, live online, and asynchronous online.

Doing the Work of Inclusion

The university held its first Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Conference in 2022, where Chancellor Subbaswamy noted that “a research university, by definition … must be a place where everyone feels enabled to speak freely.”

Responsible Divestment

Leading the way in sustainability, UMass became the first major university to divest its endowment from direct holdings in fossil fuels in 2016 (see more in this story).

Walking the Sustainable Walk

The 130-year-old environmental organization the Sierra Club named UMass one of 2021’s “Top 20 Coolest Schools” thanks to its commitment to sustainable practices.

Listen First, Act Together

In 2016 and again in 2021, the UMass Office of Equity and Inclusion asked students, staff, and faculty to describe their connectedness to the university—and each other—in a Campus Climate Survey. The university designed and conducted the survey to better understand the challenges in creating a respectful and inclusive campus environment, and then held “Climate Conversations” and funded many initiatives for improvement based on the results.