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History of UMass Dartmouth


1895New Bedford Textile School was incorporated under the Acts of 1895 to provide "instruction in the theory and practical art of textiles and kindred branches of industry." It was later renamed New Bedford Institute of Technology (NBIT), reflecting the shift in focus towards more generalized business and engineering degrees.

1899Bradford Durfee Textile School is incorporated by act of state legislature. It was later renamed Bradford Durfee Technical Institute, then again as Bradford Durfee College of Technology to distinguish itself as a degree-granting four-year college.


1904Bradford Durfee Textile School opens to students. Its main building is located on the corner of Durfee and Bank Street in Fall River. The first class consisted of five day and 163 evening students.


1918 - Textile students receiving instruction in weaving.jpg

1918New Bedford Textile School becomes a state institution.


1920 - Advanced Classroom

1920New Bedford Textile School and Bradford Durfee Textile School offered three-year diploma courses in general textile manufacturing, textiles designing, chemistry and knit goods manufacturing, as well as a two-year certificate courses in textile technology.


1936 - Slide Rule

1936Courses in English and economics are added to the Bradford Durfee Textile School’s curriculum.



1947Now known as New Bedford Institute of Technology, the institution is granted the power to award four-year Bachelor of Science degrees. Bradford Durfee soon followed with four-year degrees in 1948.


Business faculty and instructors at the New Bedford Institute of Technology

1956The new science and engineering hall is completed in the spring on the campus of New Bedford Institute of Technology. The addition cost $1 Million and provided modern engineering, science, research laboratories, classrooms, administrative offices, an amphitheater, and a gymnasium.


1958The name of Bradford Durfee Technical Institute changed again to the Bradford Durfee College of Technology to reflect its status as a college with a four-year curriculum


1960 - SMTI Board of Trustees meeting at the Capri Motel, Dartmouth, Massachuse

1960New Bedford Institute of Technology and Bradford Durfee College of Technology boards of trustees votes to approve a merger to form Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute (SMTI) on July 7, 1960. The next four years are spent finding a site, forming the SMTI board, and planning for the merger. Massachusetts General Court appropriates $1.5 million for acquisition of a campus site and development of architectural plans.

1964The formal merger and creation of SMTI is complete. Groundbreaking ceremony for the SMTI campus in North Dartmouth is held on June 14 for the construction of the first academic building, LARTS (formerly known as Group I).

1966 - SMTIs 1966 Commencement

1966The first commencement is held on campus on June 12.

1968College Now was established by a faculty task force led by Dr. Lura Teeter to facilitate access to higher education for local high school students who faced economic, educational, or cultural barriers.

1969 - commencement 1969

1969SMTI becomes Southeastern Massachusetts University (SMU). SMTI awards the first bachelor of arts degrees. Construction of the Science and Engineering Building, the Textile Technology Building, and the Research Building is completed.


1970 - School of Nursing Pinning Ceremony, 1972

1970College of Nursing is established. In 2019, it was renamed to the College of Nursing & Health Sciences to reflect its expanded offerings. The Women’s Referral Center is established, a program that would expand to today’s Center for Women, Gender, & Sexuality.

1971 - Campus Center 1977

1971Construction is completed on the Gymnasium-Natatorium and Campus Center.

1973 - Aerial view of Phase I, the Roberts Hall dormitories

1973Roberts Hall, the first residence hall complex, opens with over 300 beds.


Students in a weaving room

1988Swain School of Design in New Bedford merges with Southeastern Massachusetts University and is incorporated into the College of Visual and Performing Arts. Cedar Dell West student residence complex opens


1991 - Installation of the new University of Massachusetts Dartmouth sign, 1991

1991A new University of Massachusetts structure combines the Amherst, Boston and Worcester campuses with the Southeastern Massachusetts University and the University of Lowell. SMU becomes UMass Dartmouth.

Student in an electrical engineering lab

1994UMassD’s first independent doctoral program is approved for electrical engineering.

Research being conducted at the School for Marine Science & Technology (SMAST)

1996Center for Marine Science and Technology is established, located on 2.6 acres in New Bedford near Buzzards Bay.


Center for Marketing Research Student Client Reception

2000Center for Marketing Research is established.

2012 MFA Thesis Exhibition Opening at Star Store

2001The Star Store campus in New Bedford opens with visual arts studios, classrooms, and the University Art Gallery. The Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center, now known as the Center for Innovation & Entrepreneurship, opens in Fall River, offering laboratory and incubator space for start-up companies.

Charlton College of Business (CCB) building during spring

2004The new Charlton College of Business building opens. A second centrally located Center for Professional and Continuing Education opens in New Bedford. The university breaks ground on Woodland Commons residence halls to meet the increasing demand for on-campus housing.

Kaput Center International University guests tour the Ferreira- Mendes Portuguese American Archives

2009Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives opens.


Entrance of UMass Law

2010School of Law is established, creating the state's only public law school.

2018Groundbreaking takes place for a new first-year residence hall and dining complex.


2020The Grove grand-opening. The most modern living facility on campus. Split into two main residential buildings with a state-of-the-art dining facility as a connector.

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