Martin Meehan photo

Martin T. Meehan is the second chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and the 14th leader of the institution, founded in the 1890s as the Lowell Normal and Lowell Textile schools.

Since assuming the chancellorship on July 1, 2007, Meehan has propelled UMass Lowell forward by every important measure of higher education: recruitment, retention, diversity, campus life, academics, research, fundraising and the condition and range of the facilities.  He also has enhanced the image of the campus and sharpened its vision for its future.

Meehan, who graduated cum laude from UMass Lowell in 1978 with a degree in education and political science, has helped advance his alma mater to new levels of excellence.

As a public university in the land-grant tradition, the core mission of UMass Lowell is threefold: to educate; to conduct innovative research to bolster the region’s economy; and to focus resources on partnerships that make the community a better place to live and work.

Meehan and his leadership team have established bold initiatives that have transformed the campus across all three mission points.  

UMass Lowell, for example, is educating more students who are more successful than ever.  Over the last two years, the campus has had a 21 percent increase in new undergraduates, whose average SAT rose 12 points.

With more student housing on line in the past two years, more students than ever are living on campus, an important factor because residential students are more successful academically.

New programs to support learning, along with a dramatically invigorated campus life, have increased freshman retention from 76 to 81 percent between 2007 and 2009, an important measure of a school’s effectiveness.

New academic initiatives include a master’s degree in Innovation and Technological Entrepreneurship, the establishment of learning communities for all first-year students, a pilot co-operative education program for undergraduate and graduate students, enhanced professional master’s degrees, and new academic and research partnerships with colleges in Europe, Asia and India.

The campus has undergone a spectacular physical transformation since Meehan became chancellor. In 2009, the University purchased the Doubletree Hotel, located in downtown Lowell, and transformed it into the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center.  The facility houses 400 upper-class students, providing a positive economic impact for downtown businesses and cultural venues, while providing impressive recreational and learning opportunities for students. 
Two new academic buildings – the first in 35 years - are in the works.  The Emerging Technology and Innovation Center will break ground in June 2010 and house interdisciplinary research labs.  Construction of another new building to house classrooms and laboratories on south campus will begin in the fall.

UMass Lowell also has taken over management of the Bellegarde Boathouse and made $1 million in renovations for a beautifully upgraded facility that is home to University, local and community rowing and educational program on the banks of the Merrimack River.  In January 2010, UMass Lowell purchased the 6,500-seat Tsongas Arena, which is greatly enhancing campus life.

The campus this year will unveil UMass Lowell 2020, an ambitious strategic plan that calls for continued dramatic improvements in academic, research and campus life for years to come.  

Meehan represented the Fifth Congressional District of Massachusetts in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1993 to 2007. He served on the House Armed Services and Judiciary committees. Widely respected as a reformer, he established a national reputation for his legislative leadership in reforming campaign finance laws and protecting people against the health risks in tobacco use. Among his priorities were maintaining a balanced federal budget, preserving Medicare and Social Security, advocating for equality in the armed services and supporting economic growth that is worker- and environment-friendly.

In addition to his UMass Lowell undergraduate degree, Meehan received a master’s degree in public administration from Suffolk University in 1981 and a Juris Doctor from Suffolk University Law School in 1986. He holds honorary degrees from Suffolk and Green Mountain College in Vermont. Meehan served as an adjunct faculty member in political science at UMass Lowell in the late 1980s.

Meehan served as Massachusetts deputy secretary of state for securities and corporations from 1986 to 1990. In the early 1990s, Meehan was the first assistant district attorney of Middlesex County. 

Meehan is married to Ellen T. Murphy, a health-care consultant and former vice president at Lawrence General Hospital. They are the parents of Robert Francis and Daniel Martin Meehan.