Victor Woolridge to serve as chair of UMass Board of Trustees

By Marie MacCune

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Last month, Henry Thomas III officially resigned as chair of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees to give Gov. Charlie Baker the option to make his own appointment.

The new governor has just done exactly that recently appointing Victor Woolridge to chair. Thomas, a trustee since 2007, will continue to serve on the board.

“Victor brings strong business and financial experience to this important job, along with a deep-seated commitment to the success of UMass and a personal understanding of its potential to transform live,” Baker said in a news release from the governor’s office. “He brings a clear strategic vision for leveraging the entire UMass system to fulfill its promise for academic excellence, affordability and economic impact.”

In his own statement, University president Robert Caret, said, “Trustee Woolridge has been a vital member of the BOT for many years, most recently chairing the Committee on Administration and Finance, a key committee in the stewardship of the University’s resources and capital projects.”

Added Caret: “I am confident he will provide great leadership of the University system at this time of transition.”

Caret also had words of thanks for Thomas, saying, “On a personal note, I want to thank Chairman Thomas for his advice, guidance and friendship as well as the grace and good humor he has exhibited in his service to the Commonwealth.”

Sarah Freudson, the student trustee representing UMass on the board, supports Woolridge’s appointment.

“I am very excited about Victor Woolridge’s appointment to chair,” she said. “I have full confidence in the governor’s decision in selecting him and I’m excited to see any big plans Woolridge has in store for UMass.”

Freudson added that Woolridge has an interest in students here at UMass, saying “I feel as though Woolridge is a strong advocate for the Amherst campus – his relaxed and approachable nature is a positive trait for students and our campus.”

Woolridge is an alumnus of UMass, having received his Bachelor’s degree in legal studies in 1979.

According to a news release, he had previously chaired the Board’s Committee on Administration and Finance since 2011. His term expires in 2019.

One of Woolridge’s first responsibilities as chairman will be to establish a search committee for a new system president. President Caret leaves UMass July 1 to become president of the University System of Maryland.

Marie MacCune can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @MarieMacCune.