University of Massachusetts-Lowell

1 University Ave 
Lowell MA 01854 

(978) 934-4000

University of Massachusetts Lowell

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
University of Massachusetts Lowell
Former names
Lowell Normal School
Lowell State College
Type Public
Established 1894 (1894)
Endowment US$ 78 million (2014)[1]
Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney
Provost Donald Pierson
Academic staff
1,043 (FT & PT) (2014)[2]
Administrative staff
1,028 (FT & PT) (2014)[2]
Students 17,500 (2015)[2]
Location Lowell, Massachusetts, U.S.
42°38'34?N 71°20'04?W? / ?42.642716°N 71.334530°W? / 42.642716; -71.334530Coordinates: 42°38'34?N 71°20'04?W? / ?42.642716°N 71.334530°W? / 42.642716; -71.334530
Campus Urban
150 acres
Colors Blue and Black[3]
Athletics NCAA Division I
America East, Hockey East
Nickname River Hawks
Mascot Rowdy the River Hawk
Affiliations UMass System

The University of Massachusetts Lowell (also known as UMass Lowell) is an urban public research university in Lowell, Massachusetts, United States, and part of the University of Massachusetts system. With nearly 1,200 faculty members and 17,500 students, it is the largest university in the Merrimack Valley and the second-largest public institution in the state behind UMass Amherst.[4]

The university offers 120 bachelor's, 39 master's and 33 doctoral degree programs, including nationally recognized programs in engineering, criminal justice, education, music, science and technology.[2] Academically, UMass Lowell is organized into six schools and colleges: College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; College of Health Sciences; College of Sciences; the Francis College of Engineering; the Graduate School of Education; and the Manning School of Business.[5]


Coburn Hall in 1899

The University of Massachusetts Lowell owes its origins to two institutions founded in the 1890s: Lowell State College on the south side of the Merrimack River, and Lowell Technological Institute on the north side. Each would follow its own path of expansion through the 20th century.[6]

Lowell State College

Lowell State College got its start as the Lowell Normal School, which was chartered in 1894 as a teacher training institution for women. The 10th and final normal school to be established in Massachusetts, it opened in 1898 with 108 students and five faculty members. The original classroom building opened the next year at the corner of Broadway and Wilder streets, and quickly became a landmark in the city.[7] Designed by local firm Stickney & Austin, it reflects the fashion of the time: high-style Beaux Arts with classical symmetry, arches, cast-iron lampposts and yellow brick. Its design was influenced in part by Lowell High School, which was also designed by Lowell native Frederick W. Stickney. Frank Coburn, for whom the hall was later named, served as the school's first principal until 1908.[8]

After being threatened with closure during the Great Depression, school administrators rallied local support to help keep it open. A delegation of prominent individuals representing Lowell's powerful interest groups traveled to Boston and convinced state officials of the school's importance. The result was that the school not only survived but continued to grow and expand. In 1950, Dr. Daniel O'Leary assumed the presidency and initiated an ambitious building program. The physical plant of the campus expanded during post-war era from a single structure to a multi-building complex, forming an area now known as UMass Lowell's South Campus.[9]

As the demand for more qualified teachers grew, the legislature reorganized the Normal School into Lowell State College in 1960 with a curriculum that expanded beyond education to include baccalaureate degrees in other fields including nursing and music. Beginning in 1967, the college was authorized to confer two more degrees: Master of Education and Master of Music Education.[10]

Lowell Technological Institute

Southwick Hall in 1903
World War I era photo of Southwick and Kitson Hall

Established in 1895 as the Lowell Textile School, the institution was founded to train technicians and managers for work in Lowell’s booming textile industry. Modeled after the now-defunct Polytechnic College of Pennsylvania, Lowell Textile was the combined effort of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and corporations eager to form a school dedicated to textile education. Under the guidance of founder James T. Smith, Lowell Textile opened its doors in February 1897 in the upper floors of a downtown commercial block located on Middle Street. The school offered three-year training programs in cotton and wool manufacturing, design, textile chemistry and dyeing.[11]

In 1903, the school moved from downtown to its permanent location just northwest of the Merrimack River. The yellow brick mill-like Southwick Hall was dedicated to Royal and Dierexa Southwick. Grandparents of the wealthy businessman Frederick Ayer, the Southwicks were Quakers and abolitionists who came to Lowell in the 1820s to help establish the Lowell Carpet Company. Ten years later, the school granted its first bachelor's degrees in textile dyeing and textile engineering.[12]

In 1953, President Martin Lydon expanded the curriculum to include programs in plastics, leather, paper, and electronics technology, increased the liberal arts offerings and renamed the school the Lowell Technological Institute.[13] He moved the institute decisively toward general engineering, setting up a bachelor’s program in 1956. The textile program was closed in 1971, reflecting the closure of most of the mills in the city.[14]


In 1972, a feasibility study was conducted on merging Lowell State College with Lowell Technological Institute.[15] Lowell State and Lowell Tech merged in 1975 as the University of Lowell. In 1991, the Lowell campus joined the University of Massachusetts system under its current name.[16] Under Chapter 142, the UMass system was restructured to combine the Amherst, Boston, and Worcester campuses with the University of Lowell and Southeastern Massachusetts University (now UMass Dartmouth).[17]


Cumnock Hall - University of Massachusetts Lowell

The University of Massachusetts Lowell has an acceptance rate of 63.9%,[18] a freshman retention rate of 86 percent, a four-year graduation rate of 30 percent, and a six-year graduation rate of 54 percent.[19] The average combined SAT score (Critical Reading and Math) for incoming freshmen for fall 2015 was 1179, up more than 100 points since 2007 and 22 points since fall 2014, and the average entering GPA was a 3.54, up from 3.18 eight years ago.[19]

The University of Massachusetts Lowell offers more than 150 fully accredited academic programs — 122 undergraduate, 43 master's and 36 doctoral—in nine schools and colleges. It is one of a few public universities in the United States to offer accredited undergraduate degrees in meteorology, sound recording technology, nuclear engineering, and plastics engineering. It was the first to offer a degree in music education.

Manning School of Business

The Robert J. Manning School of Business offers bachelor's, graduate certificate, master's, and PhD programs in a variety of disciplines, including accounting, entrepreneurship, finance, international business, management, management information systems, marketing and supply chain and operations management.[20] The school has more than 1,900 undergraduate students, more than 700 graduate students and more than 80 full-time faculty members.[21] The school is fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB).[22]

The Manning School of Business is named after Robert J. Manning, the chairman and CEO of MFS Investment Management.[23] The school was named after Manning, a 1984 graduate of UMass Lowell, after he and his wife donated $5 million in 2011.[24] A new home for the Manning School, the Pulichino Tong Business Building, is under construction and is scheduled to open in 2017.[25] The building is named after alumnus John Pulichino and his wife, Joy Tong, who contributed $4 million in 2012 for student scholarships.[26] The school is housed in Falmouth Hall and Pasteur Hall on the university's North Campus.

The Manning School of Business houses multiple, nationally ranked degree programs, including the part-time and online MBA programs.[27] The school's undergraduate program is also nationally ranked by U.S. News & World Report. The Princeton Review lists the Manning School of Business as one of their best 296 business schools.[28]

Southwick Hall - University of Massachusetts Lowell

Francis College of Engineering

The Francis College of Engineering is internationally recognized for applied research and for several programs focused on "on the rise" technologies (e.g., the field of nanotechnology). UMass Lowell has a radiation laboratory with a research reactor and Van de Graaff accelerator that provides students with real-world experience in particle physics, nuclear engineering and health physics. The college also boasts a baseball research center that is the official testing center for Major League Baseball.

The college is named after James B. Francis, a world-renowned hydraulic engineer who began his career in Lowell during the Industrial Revolution.[29] The college is home to more than 100 full-time faculty members and 14 research centers [30] The college is ranked No. 129 by U.S. News and World Report.[31]

College of Health Sciences

The College of Health Sciences is a leader in fields such as work environment and clinical lab sciences. The School of Nursing, elevated from a department as of June 1, 2013, and the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, approved in 2015, are housed within College of Health Sciences. The college has more than 2,100 undergraduate students, 409 graduate students, 82 faculty members and six research centers.[32] The college offers seven signature degree and certificate programs, including the only doctorate of physical therapy degree program (DPT) offered by a public institution in Massachusetts. The new School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences will offer the only programs of their kind at a public institution in the Commonwealth. The graduate nursing program is ranked No. 127 while the graduate physical therapy program is ranked No. 99 in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report.[33]

College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences

The College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences includes the School of Criminology and Justice Studies, as well as signature programs including sound recording technology, music business, peace and conflict studies, security studies and more. The College of Fine Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences is largest college at UMass Lowell and offers 24 undergraduate and graduate degree programs and houses seven centers and institutes, including the Kerouac Center for Public Humanities.[34]

Graduate School of Education

The Graduate School of Education offers master's and doctoral degree programs and an undergraduate minor. The school includes 13 tenure-track faculty members and four clinical faculty members.[35] The school has a 100 percent pass rate on the Massachusetts Tests for Educator Licensure. The online graduate education program is ranked No. 68 in the nation according to U.S. News and World Report.[33]

William J. and John F. Kennedy College of Sciences

The William J. and John F. Kennedy College of Sciences offers degree and certificate programs in biological sciences, bio-chem informatics, chemistry, computer science, environmental, earth and atmospheric sciences, mathematical sciences, physics and applied physics and robotics. The college's faculty numbers more than 100. Research centers associated with the college include the New England Robotics Validation and Testing Center (NERVE), one of the most advanced robotics testing facilities in the nation.[36] The graduate chemistry program is ranked No. 148 and the graduate Physics program is ranked No. 131 in the nation by U.S. News and World Report.[33]


University rankings
Forbes[38] 465
U.S. News & World Report[39] 156
Washington Monthly[40] 170[37]
Times[41] 91

U.S. News & World Report ranks UMass Lowell No. 156 on its top-tier National Universities list in the Best Colleges of 2015. UMass Lowell is one of only six institutions to advance in the standings every year since 2010 and the university's four-year, 27-spot gain in the ranking is the second-fastest in the nation.[42] U.S. News & World Report also named UMass Lowell No. 84 in the top public universities and second among public universities in Massachusetts.[42] Washington Monthly ranked UMass Lowell No. 170 nationally for 2014, representing a 24-spot jump from 2013.[43][44] Forbes ranked UMass Lowell No. 176 among research universities and No. 465 overall. The Times Higher Education World University Rankings placed the entire University of Massachusetts system at No. 91 in the world.[45]

UMass Lowell is known for having one of the highest returns on investment (ROI)in the country for its graduates. Forbes ranked UMass Lowell as the 10th best value amongst all universities and colleges nationwide for 2013 and fourth best value among non-military academies.[46] UMass Lowell is one of just 75 institutions in the nation whose graduates have a 30-year net ROI of more than $1 million. The university is in the top 1 percent in the United States for ROI, according to Affordable Colleges Online, which also placed UMass Lowell at No. 10 nationally.[47] Similarly, found that UMass Lowell provides the 10th best ROI among 437 public universities in the U.S. and 50th out of 1,060 colleges and universities for 2013.[48] PayScale also ranked UMass Lowell 40th in the Northeast Region for highest mid-career salary among graduates of state universities ($95,100) and 80th overall (tied with Boston College).[46]

UMass Lowell's Francis College of Engineering is ranked No. 140 in the country for graduate engineering programs, No. 122 in electrical engineering and No. 85 in computer engineering.

UMass Lowell's Manning School of Business is ranked No. 86 for its part-time MBA program while the undergraduate program is ranked in the top 100, according to U.S. News & World Report.[49]

UMass Lowell's Graduate School of Education is ranked No. 103 in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report. [50]

UMass Lowell's online program ranked sixth in the U.S. overall among online colleges on Guide to Online Schools’ 2013 Online College Rankings.[51] The university's Division of Online and Continuing Education has been recognized by the Online Learning Consortium (formerly the Sloan Consortium) for the quality in teaching and academics for its online programs. UMass Lowell offers 45 fully online graduate and undergraduate degree and certificate programs.[52]

UMass Lowell has been listed as one of the most underrated colleges in America on multiple occasions. In 2013, Business Insider named UMass Lowell as the "Most Underrated College in America." The 2015 edition has named UMass Lowell as the second most underrated college in the U.S. behind NJIT.[53][54]

Student life

Student activities

UMass Lowell mellophone player

UMass Lowell has more than 200 student-run organizations.[55] Of those, the seven largest are funded directly from the student activities fee (other registered student organizations have budgets granted through the Student Government Association). They are:

Greek life




Tsongas Center - University of Massachusetts Lowell
LeLacheur Park, with the Merrimack River in the background, taken from the top of Fox Hall

UMass Lowell athletic teams compete in a variety of men's and women's sports in Division I. Men's sports include baseball, basketball, cross country, golf, ice hockey, track and field, and soccer. Women's sports are basketball, cross country, track and field, field hockey, soccer, rowing, softball, and volleyball. The university will add men's and women's lacrosse next year.[56] As of July 1, 2013, 14 of UMass Lowell's Division II teams moved up to Division I, joining the America East Conference. The River Hawks formerly competed in the Northeast-10 Conference at the Division II level. Past champions include the 1988 men's basketball team, the 1991 men's cross country team, the ice hockey team (three times) and the field hockey team twice (2005, 2010). The 2010 field hockey team finished its season with a perfect 24-0 record.

The university's men's ice hockey team plays in the Hockey East Association and plays its home games at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell. In 2013, the men's hockey team won the Hockey East regular-season and tournament championships and advanced to the NCAA Division I Championship "Frozen Four," all for the first time in the university's history.[57] The men's hockey team repeated as Hockey East champions in 2014 while advancing to the NCAA Division I Men's Ice Hockey Championship for the third straight year and sixth time overall. Goalie Connor Hellebuyck is the only Hockey East player to receive the league tournament's Most Valuable Player Award in two consecutive years, earning the honor in 2013 and 2014.[58]

The nickname "River Hawks" came about during the school's transition from the University of Lowell to UMass Lowell and was inspired by the campus's location along the Merrimack River. The University of Lowell's nickname was the Chiefs, which was abandoned in favor of the current name. A campus-wide poll was conducted for student input and final candidates included the Ospreys and the Raging Rapids, according to the Connector student newspaper.

University demographics

Total enrollment for the 2014-2015 academic year is 17,184.[2] In-state enrollment represents 87.6 percent of undergraduates and 58.4 percent of graduate students. International students make up 2.8 percent of the undergraduate population and 21.7 percent of the graduate population. Students of color represent 27 percent of the total undergraduate population and 18 percent of the graduate population. The male-female ratio, in 2012, was 61/39 for undergraduates[59] and 52/48 for the graduate population. The total enrollment has increased 48 percent since 2007 and UMass Lowell is now the second-largest campus in the University of Massachusetts system.

Located in the historic industrial city of Lowell, 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Boston, the campus is located on both sides of 150 acres (0.61 km2) the Merrimack River. UMass Lowell has three campus clusters: North, South and East. The university has increased student housing by more than 1,800 beds in the last four years, including opening two new, all-suites residence halls in August 2013.

Recent developments

UMass Lowell and the city reached an agreement in 2009 for the school to acquire the Tsongas Arena and the 3 acres (12,000 m2) of land adjacent to it. The transfer was finalized in February 2010 and the venue was renamed the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.[60]

The university bought the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Lowell in 2009. Now called the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, the building includes student housing, year-round lodging for the public and is home to events for the university and community, a restaurant called 50 Warren that is open to the public year-round, business and cultural programs, conferences and more.[61]

The university broke ground in June 2010 on the Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, the first new academic building built from the ground up on campus in 30 years. The building—originally called just the "Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center" or "ETIC," is located on the former site of Smith Hall (demolished in July 2010) -- cost $80 million to construct with funding from a variety of sources including the state, federal government, alumni and other private donors. On March 30, 2011, the university held a topping-off ceremony marking the completion of the ETIC's steel frame. The ceremony also included the opening of a time capsule that was placed in the cornerstone of Smith Hall during its 1947 construction, as well as the compilation of a new time capsule to be included in the Saab Center. The building's grand opening was on Oct. 11, 2012.[62] The center was renamed as the Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center in December 2012 in honor of the Lowell couple's generous support for the building and the university overall.[63]

In January 2011, the university announced that it had acquired the former St. Joseph's Hospital in Lowell for $6.3 million. The complex, renamed University Crossing, consisted of approximately 300,000 square feet (28,000 m2) of developable space. In the summer of 2014, the university completed the construction of a new student center at the site that includes a cafe and bookstore open to the public and a single location for all student services and activities. The University Police and most administrative functions are located in an existing, renovated building at University Crossing. The complex is located near the university's North, South and East campuses and serves as a central point uniting all three.[64]

The university broke ground in April 2011 on the new Health and Social Sciences Building on South Campus. Construction of the building was completed in spring 2013 and it officially opened with a ceremony on April 18, 2013. The 69,000-square-foot (6,400 m2) building, construction of which was funded by the state's Higher Education Bond Bill of 2008, is home to the School of Criminology and Justice Studies, School of Nursing and Department of Psychology, which include some of the university's most popular majors.[65]

In November 2011, the university broke ground on a $16 million parking garage on North Campus. The garage is a six-story, 650-space parking facility that opened in Fall 2012.[66] A second new garage was built on South Campus and opened for the Fall 2013 semester.

In January 2012, construction of a new residence hall on East Campus, later named University Suites, began with the demolition of the former Institute for Plastics Innovation Building. The suite-style residence hall opened in August 2013 and houses 472 students. It also features the Hawk's Nest, a cafe that is open to the public; a multipurpose room; learning commons and other amenities. An apartment-style residence hall, Riverview Suites, also opened for the fall 2013 semester and was constructed by a developer on private property adjacent to the university's South Campus. The second phase of Riverview Suites, which features traditional suite-style housing, opened for the fall 2015 semester and includes a wing with academic and research space for students in health-related majors.

In May 2012, it was announced that a new building to house the Manning School of Business will be erected in the name of alumnus John Pulichino '67 and his wife, Joy Tong, who donated $4 million for student scholarships. The new Pulichino Tong Business Building will offer students a world-class business education with top facilities, including a state-of-the-art trading room. A ceremony to break ground on the building was held in May 2014. The building is expected to be completed in 2017.[67]

On October 26, 2015 the 'Lowell Sun newspaper reported that the city of Lowell and the University of Massachusetts Lowell reached an agreement that secured a $13.4 million federal grant allowing for the repair and replacement of eight small bridges essential for the betterment of campus transportation efficiency. Buses connecting South campus to both North and East campuses have historically taken long detours due to weight requirements or traffic constraints on those bridges, which have been privately owned.[68]

Notable alumni

Current UMass President, former UMass Lowell Chancellor and former U.S. Rep. Marty Meehan
Former NHL player and current GM and coach Craig MacTavish
Comedian John Pinette

Notable faculty

Sources: Google Maps, The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), Wikipedia, Yahoo! Answers

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