Jack Wilson receives Chancellor’s Medal at campus farewell

‘A world class university with a world class leader’

By Mark Shelton

UMass Medical School Communications

June 16, 2011

At a program and reception honoring the leadership and achievements of University of Massachusetts President Jack M. Wilson, Chancellor Michael F. Collins offered words of praise for the retiring leader and presented him with a Chancellor’s Medal. 

“Throughout your distinguished tenure as our president, you have been an ardent supporter of UMass Worcester,” said Chancellor Collins. “Your interest in science and medicine and your encouragement and confidence have advanced our campus to its position of national distinction. Our growth and accomplishments during your presidency have garnered us worldwide recognition and have been enabled by your steadfast leadership.” 

Others offering congratulatory remarks included Dean Terence R. Flotte, the Celia and Isaac Haidak Professor in Medicine, provost and executive deputy chancellor; Michael Czech, PhD, the Isadore and Fannie Foxman Chair in Medical Research, chair and professor of molecular medicine and professor of biochemistry & molecular pharmacology; and 2006 Nobel Laureate Craig C. Mello, PhD, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator,Blais University Chair in Molecular Medicine and distinguished professor of molecular medicine and cell biology, who told President Wilson to keep in touch with the campus and not to “be a stranger!” 

Wilson, who has led the five-campus University of Massachusetts since Sept. 2, 2003, was joined at the reception by his wife, Judi, who received special recognition as well for her many years of support. Wilson will be succeeded as president by Robert L. Caret, PhD, the president of Towson University in Maryland, on July 1. 

"It has been an honor and privilege to serve as a steward of this University. It has been a joy to work on behalf of the students, faculty and staff of the University through the good times and through the challenges,” said Wilson. 

During his tenure as president, Wilson emphasized access and affordability for students, focused on research and innovation, and championed a capital program that focused on new facilities and much-needed renovations on all five campuses. “Unmistakably propelling many of your actions is your clear and unyielding desire to keep higher education affordable for those of lesser means,” noted Collins. “By dramatically boosting spending on financial aid, you have made it possible for many more of the state’s economically disadvantaged students to fulfill their dreams of receiving an outstanding education and to experience more rewarding lives as a result. 

“Every world class university has a world class leader,” said Collins. “For the University of Massachusetts, that leader has been Jack Wilson.” 

Wilson concluded his remarks by noting, “I get by with a little help from my friends, and I have gotten by with a little help from a lot of friends here, and it has been my great honor and a great privilege to lead this University.” 

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View a video of Wilson's farewell