Three finalists named for UMass Boston chancellor

The library building on the campus of UMass Boston in Dorchester.
The library building on the campus of UMass Boston in Dorchester.

The committee charged with finding a permanent new leader for the University of Massachusetts Boston named three finalists on Friday in a search process aiming to have someone in place for the fall.

The finalists are Kathy Humphrey, a senior vice president at the University of Pittsburgh; Peter Lyons, a vice provost and dean at Georgia State University; and Jack Thomas, president of Western Illinois University.

The three candidates are expected to visit UMass Boston next week to meet with officials on the campus. System President Martin T. Meehan will ultimately select one finalist to recommend to the board of trustees to hire.


Henry M. Thomas III, a UMass trustee and chairman of the search committee, said the goal is to find a leader who can commit to the campus’s urban mission and engage with the community.

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“Our charge was to find strong, passionate leaders who can articulate and follow through on a vision for UMass Boston that positions the campus to carry out its mission of excellence, access and opportunity,” said Thomas in a statement released Friday by Meehan’s office.

The 15-member search committee has been working under a tight time frame. The university’s temporary chancellor, Barry Mills, announced last fall that he plans to leave this summer, and trustees want a leader in place as soon as possible.

The campus has been without a permanent leader for the past year after longtime chancellor J. Keith Motley was ousted in the midst of a major financial crisis on campus. The school is still struggling to emerge from debt, and the next leader will continue to face major infrastructure challenges.

The executive search firm Isaacson, Miller has helped with the search along with Freeman A. Hrabowski III, president of University of Maryland, Baltimore County, who has been a consultant to the process.


In the statement from Meehan’s office, trustee chairman Robert J. Manning called each candidate “excellent” and capable of making the university thrive.

UMass Boston is a majority-minority university in Dorchester with about 16,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Laura Krantz can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @laurakrantz.