UMass began life in 1863 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College. It took on its current name in 1947. It is the overarching body of the five noted campuses located in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and UMass Medical School in Worcester. It is the only public research system in Massachusetts and one of the most highly regarded public university systems in the world. UMass campuses contribute over $6 billion in Massachusetts economic activity annually.
Its flagship campus is at Amherst, the largest institution in the system consisting of around 30,000 of UMass’ more than 73,000 students. UMass Online, which was founded in 2001, gives the system a further presence in the online education world. The consortium features more than 1,500 online courses and 150 online certificate and degree programmes from the five campuses, and there have been just under 70,000 enrolments since its inception.
The system’s faculty is extremely varied and includes Nobel Laureate, Craig Mello at UMass’ medical school, who won the 2006 award for medicine, Pulitzer Prize winning journalism academic Madeleine Blais and former Poet Laureate Ted Hughes, from UMass Amherst, and novelist and National Book Award finalist Andre Dubus III, at UMass Lowell.
Marty Meehan, current president of the UMass system, is also a graduate of one of the campuses, gaining a degree in education and political science at UMass Lowell before serving as the institution’s chancellor from 2007-2015. He is the first UMass undergraduate alumnus to serve as president of the system.
Sport is a major part of the system, with the UMass Minutemen and Minutewomen, the River Hawks, Beacons and Corsairs, representing Amherst, Lowell, Boston and Dartmouth, respectively.