Jun 14, 2024  
2009-2010 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog 
2009-2010 UMass Dartmouth Undergraduate Catalog [Archived Catalog]

Introduction to the University

The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth


A vibrant public university actively engaged in personalized teaching and innovative research, UMass Dartmouth is an intellectual catalyst for regional economic, social, and cultural development.

UMass Dartmouth traces its roots to 1895. In that year the legislature chartered the New Bedford Textile School and the Bradford Durfee Textile School in Fall River.

As the region’s economic base shifted from textiles to more diverse manufacturing and service industries, these colleges changed too. They diversified their curricula, responding to the needs of new generations of students. By the middle of the twentieth century they were growing rapidly, spurred by such forces as the GI Bill and the clear economic and social advantages of a well-educated citizenry. They had become multipurpose institutions, preparing engineers, health care workers, teachers and business leaders.

In 1962 the state legislature created Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute by merging the New Bedford Textile School and the Bradford Durfee Textile School. Dr Joseph Leo Driscoll was the new institution’s first President. Construction of the first building on the 710 acre campus in North Dartmouth, part way between New Bedford and Fall River, began in 1964. The dramatic campus design was the work of architect Paul Rudolph, then dean of Yale’s School of Art and Architecture.

There was a clear public demand for a comprehensive university, and in 1969 SMTI became Southeastern Massachusetts University.

Dr Donald Ezzell Walker was named President in 1972. The university continued to grow through the 1970s when its residence halls were finished and through the ’80s as research and studio facilities came into being. Dr William Curran Wild served as President in 1983-1984. In 1984, Dr. John Russell Brazil became President of SMU. Continuing campus expansion, in 1988 the Dion Science and Engineering Building was opened, as was the Cedar Dell Townhouse Complex. Also in 1988, the Swain School of Design merged with the university’s College of Visual and Performing Arts, strengthening programs in art and artisanry. The Swain merger brought additional art facilities in New Bedford to the university.

In 1991 a new University of Massachusetts structure combined the Amherst, Boston, and Worcester campuses with Southeastern Massachusetts University and the University of Lowell. Thus Southeastern Massachusetts University became the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. (John Brazil served briefly as the first Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth.) Dr Joseph C Deck was named interim Chancellor in 1991.

In 1993, Dr Peter Hollon Cressy became Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth. In 1994 UMass Dartmouth received approval to offer its first PhD degree, in Electrical Engineering. Since that time five additional PhD programs have been added. In 1997 construction was completed of the building for housing the School for Marine Science and Technology, located on 2.6 acres in New Bedford near Buzzards Bay. This waterside facility supports a full program of research and development. Starting in 1997, student/faculty teams have engaged in landscaping beautification projects across campus.

In 1999, Dr Jean F MacCormack became Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth.

Three buildings have been renovated to serve as UMass Dartmouth campuses, one in downtown New Bedford, opening 2001; one in downtown Fall River, opening in 2002; and one in downtown New Bedford, opening in 2004. The Star Store campus in New Bedford houses UMass Dartmouth’s fine arts and artisanry programs with studios, classrooms, offices and art galleries. The Professional and Continuing Education Center, located in the former Cherry and Webb Building in Fall River, offers undergraduate, graduate and professional training. The new Professional and Continuing Education Center in New Bedford offers undergraduate, graduate and professional courses; and youth educational programs, job training and skills development opportunities. Each site is serving as a catalyst for downtown renewal.

Two new student residence buildings, Oak Glen Hall and Pine Dale Hall, were completed in 2002. Also in 2002, the university opened the Professional and Continuing Education Center in Fall River in the fully renovated Cherry and Webb building. A second centrally located Center for Professional and Continuing Education opened in New Bedford in 2004.

In fall 2004, the university opened a new building for the Charlton College of Business on the Dartmouth campus. It also broke ground for another two new student residence buildings, to meet the increasing demand for on-campus housing.

Six new residence halls, part of the Woodlands Community, opened their doors to upperclassmen in 2005, offering fully furnished, apartment-style living for the 21+ student population. Located near the Tripp Athletic Center, Woodlands Community also has a commons building that offers a 3,000 square foot function room that can seat up to 300 people, six smaller meeting rooms and a café.

In 2007, the university opened a 22,000 square foot Research Building that focuses on science and houses the Botulinum Research Center. The building, the first at UMass Dartmouth devoted entirely to research, strengthens an “Innovation Triangle” in southeastern Massachusetts that includes major research and development centers in New Bedford and Fall River .


The University of Massachusetts

The University of Massachusetts has been providing high quality educational opportunities for Massachusetts residents and for students and faculty from all over the world for more than 140 years.



The University’s mission is to provide an affordable and accessible education of high quality and to conduct programs of research and public service that advance knowledge and improve the lives of the people of the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world.



The University was established in 1863 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College, located in Amherst. It became known as the Massachusetts State College in 1932 and in 1947 became the University of Massachusetts. The Worcester and Boston campuses were established in 1962 and 1964, respectively. The Lowell and Dartmouth campuses (previously the University of Lowell and Southeastern Massachusetts University, respectively) were consolidated into the University under Chapter 142 of the acts of 1991.


The University of Massachusetts is governed by: