WORCESTER – University of Massachusetts President Martin Meehan noted that in-state enrollment at the state’s elite private colleges has been declining for 30 years.
Before giving a talk at the Worcester Economic Club’s 554th meeting Wednesday night at the College of the Holy Cross, the UMass president and former congressman from Lowell said he believes that at the same time, 70 percent of UMass graduates stay in the state after they graduate.
Those graduates, Mr. Meehan said, make up the backbone of the state’s highly educated workforce.
Mr. Meehan was elected president of the UMass system in 2015; he previously served as chancellor at UMass Lowell for eight years. Himself a UMass Lowell grad, Mr. Meehan said that when he became president of the 75,000-student system, he brought with him a unique perspective.
“I would look at students on a UMass campus and I would feel that was me,” Mr. Meehan said.
In today’s competitive college and job markets, UMass, with its commitment to research and expanding internship and co-op experiences, is well-positioned, Mr. Meehan said.
And in cities like Worcester, the university plays a role in the community, too, Mr. Meehan said. He said he can remember the days in Lowell when UMass would direct students through Chelmsford to get to campus. There was a feeling that the school wasn’t part of the city.