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President Caret begins statewide bus tour

Matt Modica/Collegian

Matt Modica/Collegian

In his effort to improve the University of Massachusetts in several facets, recently appointed President Robert Caret launched a statewide tour yesterday that is the first of its kind in the school’s history.

Beginning yesterday and making its conclusion on Thursday, Caret will be traveling all over the Commonwealth, making stops at 24 locations and meeting with business and community leaders to promote the University as well as take suggestions on how to improve the quality of UMass.

“He’s seeing it as an opportunity to travel and talk to people of various walks of life about ways in which UMass is serving Massachusetts,” said Robert Connolly, the spokesperson for the UMass President’s office. “What it can do to be a better service, but also ask anyone from business leaders, community leaders, building officials, educators from other universities and ask a variety of contingencies for their support for [UMass].”

The tour kicked off on Monday, as Caret traveled to Berkshire County to meet with President Mary Grant at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Adams, from which they took the bus to Pittsfield where they met with MCLA staff, state-elected officials and local officials and representatives before spending the evening in Springfield.

Today, Caret will depart Springfield and arrive in Holyoke, before coming to Amherst to visit UMass in the afternoon, where he will take a tour of the engineering research center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (CASA).

On Wednesday, Caret will make a trip to the UMass Medical School in Worcester to discuss industry and economic issues facing the city with business leaders before embarking on an afternoon visit to UMass Lowell. There, he will tour the Emerging Technologies & Innovation Center (ETIC) with business partners before sitting down with students for a Student Leader Network dinner at Campus Town Hall.

And finally, on Thursday, Caret will make his trips to the last two UMass campuses in Dartmouth and Boston. In the morning, he’ll visit New Bedford and Fall River to stop by various sites at UMass Dartmouth before heading north to UMass Boston, where he will complete his journey with a Harbor Tour, a roundtable discussion at Venture Development Center and a reception in the evening.

“My purpose in traveling the state is to meet with key partners to discuss how we are working together and to pledge to do all we can at the University of Massachusetts to make the Commonwealth’s future as bright and as prosperous as it can be,” said Caret in a UMass press release.

“After three years of difficult economic times, people are wondering whether Massachusetts is going to remain the state that it has been – a global cultural, educational and economic leader,” added Caret. “Will the name Massachusetts continue to be synonymous with accomplishment and success?

“My answer is that we can certainly achieve a future that is as distinguished and as vibrant as what has come before, but that is going to take all of us working together.”

The bus tour is themed “On the Road Together,” as Caret believes it relates to the relationship between UMass and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, in which the quality of the school depends on the two working together.

Caret – who assumed the President’s office on July 1 – has bright plans for the University, which includes making UMass a top 25 ranked public research university, improving retention and graduation rates, as well as economic development and social well-being across all of the campuses.

Stephen Hewitt can be reached at shewitt@student.umass.edu.

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