Speaking at the John F. Kennedy Library in Boston at his inauguration as President of the University of Massachusetts system, Robert L. Caret quoted the late U.S. President: “Our progress as a nation can be no swifter than our progress in education. The human mind is our fundamental resource.”
Caret, who has a strong record of collaboration with the business community in his previous presidencies, clearly views UMass as a key economic resource for the commonwealth. In his address he spoke of seeing its broad impact:
- Visits with business leaders in Springfield, and to the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center in Holyoke;
- A visit to the medical school in Worcester;
- A visit to the Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center in Lowell, a $70 million facility for nanotechnology, plastics engineering, biomedicine and electro-optics research;
- A visit to Fall River and the SouthCoast Life Science and Technology Park, the region’s first biopark; and
- Participation in a roundtable with emerging companies at UMass Boston’s Venture Development Center.
The University of Massachusetts, he noted, has “70,000 students, 16,000 faculty and staff, 400,000+ alumni, 13,000 new graduates each year – we are a force in Massachusetts. In many ways we power Massachusetts.”
Above all, Caret emphasized the role of UMass as a portal to opportunity for Massachusetts students. Himself “the son of a man who was never able to go beyond the eighth grade,” he offered his personal commitment “to let all students know: We are here to fight for you and to provide you with the education you want and need. We are here to help you be successful.”
AIM applauds Robert L. Caret on his vision for the university he now leads. There are many ways to help him realize that vision. A place to start might be a bill before the Legislature (H.3563), endorsed by AIM and other business groups, that invests $100 million in a matching grant fund to help UMass capture more external research support.
What role do you think the University of Massachusetts should play in the commonwealth’s economy? Please share your ideas in the comments section.