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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Wilson Walks Away

Wilson Walks Away

Jack M. Wilson, President of the University of Massachusetts system, has announced that he will step down in June 2011.   Wilson served as President since 2003, with the resignation marking eight years of servicde. During his time, Wilson focused his efforts on student education accessibility, research and innovation, and renovations and new facilities at the five UMass campuses.   In a press release, Wilson stated that “it has been an honor and privilege to serve as a steward of this University. It has been a joy to work on behalf of the students, faculty and staff of the University through the good times and through the challenges. But now it is time for me to prepare to hand the baton to the next President.”   A search committee will be assembled and a consultant hired to seek a replacement. The committee will narrow down to several finalists and UMass trustees will make the final selection.   The physicist, entrepreneur, and educator said he intends to remain in Massachusetts and work with students, emphasizing technology and innovation.   “At my core, I am an educator, and I look forward to being able to focus on teaching and to advancing research. I feel that it will soon be time to open a new chapter in my career,” Wilson said.   Among his achievements, Wilson particularly noted that out of the entire UMass system, 93 percent of the demonstrated financial needs of students were met this year.   In addition, student enrollment grew by 14 percent to 65,923. In the five-year period from fiscal years 2003 to 2008, UMass saw research funding grow by more than $100 million. During this time, Wilson made the decision to raise fees in order to sustain financial aid.   Wilson also faced criticism, including a pay increase by 15 percent despite the fee increase and salary freeze on UMass faculty and employees.   [QUOTE FROM UMASS BOSTON]   Wilson first came to UMass in 2001 after previously serving as a physics professor, interim provost, and dean of the engineering school at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. Once at UMass, Wilson also became the CEO of UMassOnline, a profitable venture that generates $47 million a year.   UMass Trustees then appointed Wilson after William M. Bulger’s resignation under pressure over his controversial relationship with fugitive brother, James “Whitey” Bulger. Subsequently, Wilson stepped into permanent presidency in March 2004.   Robert Manning, chairman of the UMass trustees, called Wilson a “visionary and a doer.”   “President Wilson has placed an unparalleled focus on the university’s role as an economic-development catalyst, understanding that it is brainpower and innovation that truly will move this state forward,” Manning concluded.