UMass Special Section
A Globe Magazine special celebrating UMass' 150th anniversary
To celebrate UMass' 150th anniversary, we wrote an article for every letter of the alphabet. Here's a quick definition guide to help you navigate this UMass A-to-Z celebration.
Agriculture has been an essential part of UMass since the very beginning. In fact, agricultural studies were the very beginning. The Massachusetts Agricultural College became Massachusetts State College in 1931, which in turn became the University of Massachusetts in 1947.
UMass men’s basketball
got its official start on Jan. 10, 1899, when the school, then known as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, beat the Northampton YMCA, 14-9. More than 1,000 victories have followed, many of them involving famous names.
Kenyon L. Butterfield may have been one of the longest serving presidents in UMass history — steering the ship from 1906 to 1924, when the university was still known as Massachusetts Agricultural College — but he had a bit of Renaissance man in him too.
(krē-ˈā-tiv, ˈkrē- ˈrīt-ing)
Those who know the UMass program well prefer to focus on its atmosphere of creativity and the faculty’s ability to draw the best out of the approximately 20 new aspiring poets and fiction writers who come to Amherst each fall.
Two former UMass
researchers, James Robl and Steven Stice, made a worldwide splash in 1998 by announcing that they had successfully cloned transgenic calves. Scientists now genetically engineering animals for new breakthroughs are due in large part to their pioneering work.
It’s hard to imagine a UMass graduate who has caused more people to curse, throw things, or break a pencil in frustration than Geoffrey Cornish. And even after his death at age 97 in 2012, he will continue to torment people — not everyone mind you. Just golfers.
UMass Amherst has the most graduate and undergraduate students out of all the five University of Massachusetts locations. In the fall of 2012, 28,236 students attended the Amherst location, almost the size of a small city. Check out the enrollment break down in this graphic.
With upcoming games
against Michigan, Wisconsin, Penn State, Notre Dame, and Florida in a five-year span, the future of UMass football includes some of the sport’s biggest programs. Whether the Minutemen will be talented enough to make those games competitive remains to be seen.
(grād ˈpȯint ˈa-v(ə-)rij)
UMass may not be the school you attended a few decades ago or even a few years ago. It’s become so surprisingly selective that the alumni magazine ran a story recently titled “Could You Still Get In?” The answer may be no, says Kevin Kelly, the director of admissions.
The possibility of a state medical school in Massachusetts was seriously discussed as early as the 1940s, yet UMass Medical School didn’t officially open until 1970. The holdup?
(Isen-ˈbərg, yü-ˈjēn, ˈyü-)
The Chelsea native-turned-Texas-oilman gave his alma mater $6 million in 1996 — the largest donation in the school’s history at the time — and UMass repaid the favor by affixing his name to its school of management.
Craisins are product
of UMass-Amherst’s partnership with Ocean Spray, continuing the long line of food preservation breakthroughs at the former agricultural college. Recent development were made in climate change, “Qmicrobes,” and fire-safe polymers.
When Jeff Taylor got his bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst in 2001, one of the speakers at his graduation was an inspirational entrepreneur, the head of one of the most successful Internet companies going. The speaker was, well, Jeff Taylor, the founder of Monster.com.
“ ‘The world is a text and your job is to read it deeply,’ ” journalism professor Ralph Whitehead remembers the founding chairman of the program, Howard Ziff, advising students. Ziff made sure the program required students to take courses in history, law, and ethics along with writing and reporting.
Today, the big kitchen buzzwords are “fresh” and “local,” but a hundred years ago, the action was in preservation: finding ways to make fruits and vegetables last longer. The department of horticulture established in the early 20th century claims a role in the development of federal food standards.
Name the college that has the tallest library in the country and the tallest academic library in the world. It isn’t Harvard. It isn’t Stanford. It’s UMass Amherst. At 27 stories, the W.E.B. Du Bois Library looms over the sprawling campus.
It was Abraham Lincoln who paved the way for the Bay State’s university system. In June 1862, both houses of the US Congress passed the Morrill Act, a bill sponsored by Vermont congressman Justin Smith Morrill, calling for the creation of public land-grant colleges and universities.
The almost 400-member
ensemble, known as “The Power and Class of New England,” has performed in three presidential inaugural ceremonies, several Bands of America Grand Nationals, and with the Boston Pops. Next up? The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade.
Rock, pop, blues , jazz, and even punk music all have some surprising UMass connections, and yes, UMass has been represented at the Grammy Awards. More than once. Perhaps you’ve heard of Natalie Cole?
Joseph Hooton Taylor
Jr. credited the “extremely stimulating” intellectual environment at UMass Amherst for providing the backdrop for his Nobel Prize-winning research. He received the award for a discovery that demonstrated which Albert Einstein prediction?
Price is one of the reasons applications to UMass Amherst are up nearly 70 percent since 2005. Tuition, room, and board at BU costs $56,184; at Northeastern, $53,226. The same prices added up to a comparatively cheap $23,167 at UMass Amherst.
As long as Massachusetts is home to the likes of Harvard, MIT, Boston College, Boston University, Emerson, Northeastern, Brandeis, Amherst College, Williams, and so many others, UMass Amherst may always stay in the shadow of private schools.
QTV may or may not have been the first fraternity at UMass, but it definitely wasn’t Greek. Founded in 1869, the local frat was Latin. It won a prize in the 1963 Homecoming Parade. And then. . . who knows?
If you believe
the tell-all message boards on CollegeConfidential.com, the cluster of UMass dorms known as Southwest are . . . well, let’s do it Zagatstyle. “Very lively.” Then you won’t believe what some specific floors have to offer.
Not as well
known as its football and basketball counterparts, baseball at UMass might just be the most successful of the school’s three major men’s sports. And one of the biggest recipients of UMass baseball is none other than the Boston Red Sox.
American Flight 11 cruised over the Pioneer Valley at 29,000 feet on that placid Sept. 11 morning about half an hour before it wrought its horror. But it was in the wake of the 2001 terrorist attacks that three UMass Amherst alumni stepped up to deliver leadership and healing.
“All the while I kept thinking my plain English and good writing would secure for me some modest position,” writes poet Natasha Trethewey in the 2002 poem “Letter Home.” Trethewey, a 1995 graduate, she recently achieved a position no one could consider “modest.”
The public institution's tuition, fees, and room and board are on the low end compared to private colleges and universities. However both tuition and room and board has increased since the class of 1949.
UMass’s expansion is why today its five campuses dwarf its competition around the state in current students, a record 70,874 total, and alumni, 259,000 in-state UMass alums, double the number of Boston University. And each campus has carved out its own niche.
It doesn’t have the star-power alumni list of the private colleges across the state, but look closely and you’ll find some impressive thinkers to come out of UMass, beyond the most repeated names of Bill Cosby and Jack Welch.
When it comes
to climate change, University of Massachusetts researchers are always looking forward, but they’re also looking back. Way back. “We have some people looking at warming that happened 30 million years ago,” says Michael Rawlins, an associate profess of geosciences.
UMass Amherst has a stronger reputation abroad in many fields than it might at home. Some 1,800 international students from 100 countries go there to study, almost all of them at the graduate level, where they make up about half of the annual applicants and 30 percent of the enrollment.
(xen·o·phile // (zn-fl, zn-))
Professor of English and Judaic studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and director of the university’s Institute for Holocaust, Genocide, and Memory Studies, Young is a scholar of memorials to tragedies whose work is as influential as it is low-profile.
Newsflash: college students
have been known to drink beer. UMass Amherst is no exception, but is it really deserving of that “ZooMass” nickname? UMass didn’t even crack the top-20 list of party schools in last year’s Princeton Review.
Art by Larry Buchanan, definitions by Alexa McMahon