Appointment of Robert Johnson as chancellor earns praise

Governor Baker and other leaders from across Massachusetts cite Dr. Johnson's innovative leadership, energy, and vision

The following statements concerning the appointment of Dr. Robert Jones as chancellor of UMass Dartmouth were released today:

Governor Charlie Baker:

“Robert Johnson has worked tirelessly to bring about change and improvements to the institutions he has served as a leader in higher education. We recognized his commitment to excellence in education in appointing him to the Board of Higher Education and commend President Meehan and the UMass trustees for their choice today.”

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito:                                                                       

“Robert Johnson’s influential leadership at Becker College and throughout his career has been an inspiration to many in the greater Worcester area who have seen his dedication to strengthening ties between our economy and education system and connecting students with emerging Massachusetts’ industries. Robert understands the powerful impact education has on our students, and I look forward to him bringing the same enthusiasm, energy and commitment to his new role as the leader of UMass Dartmouth.”

Timothy P. Murray, president and CEO, Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce and former lieutenant governor:

“Robert Johnson is a dynamic leader who, through hard work and collaboration, has transformed Becker College into a national leader on several fronts. Robert’s brand of can do leadership has had a profound and positive impact on Worcester and Central Massachusetts – including as chair of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce board of directors. While he will be missed, I know he will be an incredible asset for UMass Dartmouth, its students and faculty, and the entire SouthCoast.”

 James J. Karam, former chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees and member of the UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Search Committee:

“As a search committee, we were fortunate to have a very deep and diverse pool of candidates, which speaks highly of UMass Dartmouth and its future. Within that excellent pool, Dr. Johnson stood out as a leader of high energy and entrepreneurial spirit. He also recognizes the critical role that UMass Dartmouth must play in the socio-economic development of the Commonwealth and especially the region.”

 Margaret D. Xifaras, former UMass trustee:

“As a resident of the region, former trustee and an alumna of UMass Dartmouth, I congratulate President Meehan and the Board of Trustees on the selection of Dr. Johnson. He will come to the region with great experience at diverse levels of higher education and with a passion for empowering people and communities through education. Welcome to the South Coast, Dr. Johnson. I look forward to working with you.”

 Laurie A. Leshin, president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI): 

“UMass Dartmouth is to be commended for their brilliant selection of Robert Johnson as Chancellor. Since my arrival at WPI, Chancellor-designate Johnson has been my close colleague, and I can personally attest to his vision, commitment and capability to advance an institution during a time of transformational change in higher education. Although I will miss him as my neighborly collaborator, I'm so pleased we will keep his great talent in our Commonwealth.”

 David Angel, president of Clark University:

“President Johnson has been a visionary leader at Becker College and in the Worcester community. With a strong focus on student success, President Johnson’s many accomplishments are a testimony to what can be achieved through effective university leadership in today’s knowledge-based economy. He is a dynamic, collaborative leader who embraces the responsibility of service to students, faculty and staff and to the many diverse communities of which we are a part.”

 Peyton R. Helm, interim chancellor of UMass Dartmouth:

“I welcome Robert Johnson to UMass Dartmouth, a university distinguished by a deep commitment to students, an exciting research agenda and an unparalleled connection to the community. His breadth of leadership experience and demonstrated belief in education as the primary driver of individual and community success will help UMass Dartmouth build on more than a century of service to the Commonwealth and region.”

 Michael F. Collins, chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Medical School:

“I applaud the University’s President and Board of Trustees on their selection of Robert E. Johnson as the next chancellor of the Dartmouth campus. Johnson’s tenure in Worcester’s robust community of higher education institutions has been marked by exceptional leadership, high standards, service to the greater Worcester community and a collaborative spirit. We at the medical school are confident that his talents and leadership will benefit the Dartmouth community in the years to come, and we look forward to partnering with him as he undertakes these new responsibilities.”

 Jacqueline F. Moloney, chancellor of UMass Lowell:

“I am pleased to welcome Robert Johnson to the UMass system and look forward to working with him and his team at UMass Dartmouth to advance public higher education, research and economic development.”

 J. Keith Motley, chancellor of UMass Boston:
“I am so pleased that President Meehan and the UMass Board of Trustees have selected Robert Johnson to lead our sister campus in Dartmouth. Robert brings the deep experience and forward-looking leadership that will reinvigorate UMass Dartmouth and help to make our entire system an even stronger institution of higher education.”

Jean MacCormack, former UMass Dartmouth Chancellor and president of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate:

“Dr. Johnson is innovative and entrepreneurial, and with his leadership I am confident that UMass Dartmouth will write an exciting new chapter in its history. The university's ascension to research university status, national Tier One designation, recognition as one of the top civic engagement universities in the country and ABA accreditation of the law school provide strong cornerstones to build upon.”

 Arthur P. (Jay) DiGeronimo Jr., chair, Becker College Board of Trustees:

“Under Dr. Johnson’s leadership, Becker College has grown, thrived and proven itself as an institution that has realized exceptional outcomes. Dr. Johnson’s future-oriented leadership, energy and full embrace of his office have inspired the entire Board of Trustees, and the entire Becker community, and have made the charge of helping ensure Becker’s future an exciting one. We thank him for his exceptional commitment and service to Becker College and congratulate him on this wonderful new opportunity to lead a world-class institution.”

 Michael Angelini, chairman, Bowditch & Dewey, LLP, Worcester:

“This is a superb selection. The Board has chosen a smart, proven leader who is extremely able and who is passionately committed to educational excellence. Dr. Johnson's impact at Becker College has been transformational and his engagement as a leader of the Worcester community reflects a broad commitment to improvement at every level. Without any doubt, the Commonwealth will be very well served.”

 Susan M. Mailman, owner and president of Coghlin Electrical Contractors, Inc. and Coghlin Network Services, Inc., Worcester, and chair, Quinsigamond Community College Board of Trustees:

“I have been very fortunate to work closely with Dr. Johnson during his tenure at Becker College. He has been a tremendous asset to our community. UMass Dartmouth students, the region and the UMass system will benefit from his vision and passion. I'm glad he won't be too far away.”      

Mark W. Fuller, chairman and treasurer of the George F. and Sybil H. Fuller Foundation, and vice president, Benefit Development Group:

“As a transformational leader, Robert E. Johnson has proven a tremendous asset to our region, and I congratulate him on his new position. I expect that UMass Dartmouth, the University of Massachusetts and the SouthCoast region will reap the many rewards of his able leadership.”


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