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In 1960, the Massachusetts state legislature saw the need for a unified higher education institution on the SouthCoast – thus creating the Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute (SMTI) by merging the New Bedford Institute of Technology and the Bradford Durfee College of Technology. Halfway between New Bedford and Fall River, a 710-acre piece of land in North Dartmouth was chosen as the home of this new school. In 1964, a dramatic Brutalist campus was completed by architect Paul Rudolph, then dean of Yale’s school of Art and Architecture.

The institution soon began collaborations with partners in the region and specifically its hometown of Dartmouth. That sense of collaboration ran through the decades, culminating in a formal “Town-Gown” compact in 2019 between now UMass Dartmouth and the Town of Dartmouth.

This compact seeks to strengthen an already strong half-century relationship between the university and town. The agreement calls for UMassD and the Town to “work together to uphold the values of cooperation and civic responsibility, and to strengthen the educational, cultural, and economic fabric of the community.”

The compact established an active Town/Gown Task Force made up of members representing the interests of the Town and the University to implement mutually beneficial activities in the following areas:

  • Business and economic development
  • Health and wellness
  • Teaching, learning and research
  • Public safety and emergency management
  • Cultural and civic engagement
  • Land and facilities management

This sense of collaboration has been an important item in the historical relationship between the University and the Town and will continue to offer new opportunities for mutual growth.

UMass Dartmouth and the Town of Dartmouth already collaborate on many exciting initiatives:

  • Improving traffic and land use issues around the University
  • Broadcasting of sporting events, including the use of University fields by Town sports teams
  • Offering internships at Town Hall for UMassD students
  • Dartmouth Community Media’s coverage of University press conferences, academic symposiums, and cultural events
  • The production of “Welcome to Dartmouth,” a film about the Town that has been translated into Portuguese by the University’s Center for Portuguese Studies. This film has since traveled to Portugal to promote tourism.
  • Dartmouth Community Media, UMass Dartmouth, and the Dartmouth Council on Aging created an International Speaker Series that brought international students to the Dartmouth Senior Center to share their life’s journey and culture.
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