News 2021: Year in Review: Top 21 stories of 2021
Year in Review: Top 21 stories of 2021

A return to campus brought UMass Dartmouth together to achieve new heights

As 2022 approaches, it is worth taking a few minutes to look back at the incredible stories of accomplishment, scholarship, and perseverance that occurred on campus and in the community. The entire UMassD community returned to campus in the fall to continue the momentum built over the years. Even with the ongoing pandemic, students, faculty, staff, and alumni remained committed to academic, professional, and personal growth while positively impacting those around them.


COVID-19 Testing Center receives prestigious Massachusetts public service award

Governor Charlie Baker awarded the 2020 Manuel Carballo Governor's Award for Excellence in Public Service to Director of Health Services Marianne Sullivan and Director of the Fitness Center Greg Homol. Sullivan and Homol were recognized for their incredible work in designing, implementing, and executing the on-campus testing facility.

Nursing students assist in local COVID-19 vaccination efforts

In a unique clinical experience during an unprecedented worldwide pandemic, fifty nursing students and five College of Nursing & Health Sciences faculty members assisted local COVID-19 vaccination teams. "This gives us an opportunity to help out in the community, get our nursing skills, and be part of this historic moment," said Mark Gregg ('22). The CNHS also ranked among the top 14% of the nation's nursing schools, according to U.S. News & World Report.

Class of 2020 and 2021 honored during Commencement Weekend

Four in-person ceremonies praised the accomplishments of the UMassD and UMass Law Classes of 2020 and 2021 on Cressy Field. Due to the pandemic restricting an in-person ceremony for graduates in the spring of 2020, both classes were celebrated in 2021. "I am in complete awe of what you have accomplished. No generation of students can lay claim to an experience comparable to this unusual – unprecedented – conclusion to your time at UMass Dartmouth," said Chancellor Mark A. Fuller.

University receives grant to create innovative curriculum for a Transformative Justice Certification Program

The University received a $150,000 grant to research and gather evidence-based data toward creating a multi-campus curriculum for a Transformative Justice Certification Program. "We are amid the largest social movement in the history of the United States. Needs and demands for true justice are not going away. The Transformative Justice Practitioner's Certificate would offer an innovative response that Higher Education in this region can contribute towards meeting those needs," said Professor Viviane Saleh-Hanna (Crime & Justice Studies), who is the Principal Investigator.

Computer & Information Science Professor awarded University's first-ever R01 Grant

Associate Professor Dr. Hua Fang (Computer & Information Science) was awarded $2.7M as part of a prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Project Grant (R01). Fang's award for her research project titled "iPAT: Intelligent diet quality pattern analysis for harmonized MA-National trials" is the first R01 grant in the history of UMass Dartmouth and Fang's second such honor. The project will develop intelligent diet quality pattern analysis to help visualize distinctions among complex diet patterns and shed light on how patterns evolve health outcomes.

Students at Graduation
Proud UMassD grads

Mark Fuller named UMass Dartmouth Chancellor

Mark Fuller, who served as interim chancellor, was named permanent chancellor in August. Fuller served nine years as dean of the UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management, which rose to national prominence under his leadership, and three years as UMass Amherst Vice Chancellor for Advancement. "Over the last seven months I have been inspired by the students, faculty, and staff of UMass Dartmouth and by the people and civic leadership of the SouthCoast. I'm excited about the spirit of collaboration, inclusion, perseverance, and innovation that I have found in confronting the challenges posed by the pandemic and in creating new cultural and economic opportunity across the region," said Chancellor Fuller.

UMassD named a top performer in U.S. News & World Report student social mobility ranking

U.S. News & World Report once again named UMassD a "2022 Best College." The University also significantly jumped up the national student social mobility rankings. The University was ranked #59 in the nation, up from #76 in 2021, and remains #2 in Massachusetts and #3 in New England. The Top Performers on Social Mobility ranks institutions that are more successful than others at advancing social mobility by enrolling and graduating large proportions of low-income students awarded with Pell Grants.

Two faculty members named Fulbright Scholars

In 2021, Commonwealth Professor Anna M. Klobucka (Portuguese) and Associate Professor Dilshod Achilov (Political Science) - both from the College of Arts & Sciences – were named Fulbright Scholars. Klobucka's research will examine Portuguese women who were active during canonical Portuguese modernism in the early 20th century by focusing on structures of collaboration and sociability among them. Achilov's research will study the dynamics of democratization and civil society in Central Asia.

Charlton College of Business rankings continue to climb

The 2022 U.S. News & World Report showcased CCB undergraduate programs advancing through the ranks. Ranked at 166 in "Best Undergraduate Business Programs" among 514 undergraduate business programs accredited by AACSB International, CCB rose 14 places from the 2021 rankings. Notably, the program is the third highest-ranked undergraduate business program among public national universities in Massachusetts.

Robert and Jeanne Leduc gift $1M to support community engagement

The gift will support three new programs through the Leduc Center for Civic Engagement that focuses on the region's needs while creating learning opportunities for students. "The leadership of the Center has leveraged our initial investment to change the lives of students and our community. UMass Dartmouth is now known nationally for its work in community service and service-learning. They are making a difference every day and we are happy to be a part of it," said Robert Leduc ('78).

Blue & Gold Weekend brings the Corsair family together on campus

Students, families, alumni, faculty, staff, and the community celebrated UMassD with a weekend full of activities during the Blue & Gold Weekend Homecoming festival. The event featured Arnie and his local mascot friends, including Pat Patriot, ax throwing, a bouncy house, and a petting zoo with pony rides. The action then moved down to Cressy Field to watch the Football team while enjoying the Corsair Beer Garden.

UMassD Family posing
A UMassD family enjoying Blue & Gold Weekend

Partnership with Dell Technologies continues to provide opportunities for students of color

When Dell Technologies initially introduced its "Changing the Face of Tech" strategic mission to increase diversity and inclusion, they chose to partner with UMass Dartmouth as one of only four higher education institutions in the country. As a result, more than 500 UMassD students have heard directly from Dell leaders about their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion and learned about the tech industry and corporate possibilities. Students also engaged with young professionals of color.

Brutalist architecture across the UMass System lauded

Members of the UMass community gathered in Dartmouth to celebrate the past, present, and future of Brutalist architecture on the UMass Dartmouth and UMass Amherst campuses. The UMassBrut symposium provided a unique platform that brought together a team of distinguished scholars, industry professionals, artists, and passionate citizens interested in preserving mid to late twentieth-century architecture.

Student voting reaches new heights

UMassD students were part of a dramatic rise in voting participation during the 2020 Presidential Election, according to a report by the National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement. For UMassD, increases occurred across all metrics. During the 2020 election, 65% of eligible students voted, up 14% from 2016. The University also saw a significant increase in students registering to vote. In 2016, 78% of students were registered to vote, which grew to 85% in 2020.

University named one of the nation's most environmentally responsible colleges for 10th year in a row

The Princeton Review applauded a decade's worth of institutional sustainability efforts on campus in its 2022 rankings. "UMass Dartmouth continues our efforts to support a broad portfolio of sustainable activities across the campus. We are honored to be recognized for the 10th year running and invite any prospective student who wants to attend a campus that is leading by example on sustainability, to check us out," said Jamie Jacquart, Assistant Director of Campus Sustainability.

UMass Law celebrates ten years of success with inspiring Arc of Justice Atrium unveiling

The newly renovated Arc of Justice Atrium was dedicated to Chancellor Emerita Jean MacCormack, the late Margaret "MarDee" Xifaras ('78), and all those who worked to create an excellent, inclusive, and affordable public law school. Another reason for celebration was UMass Law's fall 2021 incoming class, which increased the law school's enrollment to its largest ever while continuing to raise its academic stature with the highest median LSAT score and UGPAs in the school's history. In addition, the class was selected from a record number of applicants, which represented a 60% increase over the past four years.

Public and private investment launches new Biodegradable Plastics Lab

A $739,936 award from the Baker-Polito Administration's Mass Tech Collaborative and $450,000 investment from private industry partner PrimaLoft, run by Mike Joyce ('85), will support the development of a new research and development laboratory in New Bedford to study biodegradable and ocean-safe plastics. The lab allows researchers to efficiently test plastic biodegradation, helping address the significant waste caused by traditional plastics used in textiles, packaging, and other products that accumulate in the ocean and other water resources.

Football team New England Bowl champions

The Corsairs become bowl champions for the second time in program history after defeating Alfred State, 42-16, in the New England Bowl held on campus at Cressy Field. The win marks the ninth win of the season, which ties the 2003 squad for the second-most victories in the 34-year history of UMass Dartmouth football. The game's highlight came when sophomore offensive lineman Tyler Gmyr caught a lateral for a dominant 11-yard touchdown run which went viral.

Gracie the dog wearing safety goggles
Gracie sporting her "doggles" to comply with lab safety guidelines

Honors College names new Director

Long-time faculty member and a former associate and interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, Professor Amy Shapiro (Psychology), took the helm of the two-year-old Honors College. Shapiro sees much potential for the Honors College and its students. "I want the college to serve as an engine of economic and social mobility for our students, especially those who have been traditionally underserved," she said.

Laboratory Labrador plays important role spreading joy on campus

Perhaps the most important story of 2021 was Gracie, the "Lab Lab." Gracie is a two-year-old, therapy-certified, Yellow Labrador Retriever that works with students in the STEM Learning Lab. "Research has shown that therapy dogs can help to reduce students' anxiety and blood pressure, especially before exams," said Chris Peter, Assistant Director of the STEM Learning Lab and Gracie's owner.

Partnership with Portugal formed to support Blue Economy research

UMassD and the Portuguese Republic signed an agreement that focuses on promoting and developing academic, research, and economic collaborations within the coastal and ocean science and technology disciplines. The Portuguese Republic Minister of the Sea Ricardo Serrão Santos visited campus to celebrate the new international partnership.