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Jacqueline Moloney Elected Chancellor of UMass Lowell

First Woman in the 121-year History to Lead the Campus

First Woman in the 121-year History to Lead the Campus


Contacts for media: Jan Brogan, UMass President's Office, 781-467-9900 and Ann Scales, UMass President's Office, 617-287-4084

BOSTON – Jacquie Moloney, lauded as a pioneer in online education and for her leadership, entrepreneurial skills and impressive record of achievement, today was named the new chancellor of UMass Lowell.

Moloney, who becomes the first woman to serve as chancellor of UMass Lowell, was the unanimous choice of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees. She was recommended for the position by UMass President Marty Meehan, who led the Lowell campus for eight years before becoming president of the UMass system last month.

A graduate of UMass Lowell, the new chancellor had been serving as executive vice chancellor of the campus. Her appointment takes effect immediately.

“Jacqueline Moloney is an innovator in education and a dynamic leader with a proven track record. She has the skills, experience and passion that this job requires along with the bonus of local knowledge,’’ President Meehan said, noting that Moloney played a major role in the transformation and achievements that UMass Lowell has experienced in recent years.

“She is one of the reasons UMass Lowell became a top-tier university. Why it is highly regarded internationally and is the second-fastest rising school on the US News &World Report national top-tier universities list,” he said. “I would not be recommending anyone to this position of the institution that I love so much if they weren’t the best qualified candidate.”

Moloney, who earned her undergraduate and doctoral degrees at UMass Lowell, said she was honored to be selected.

“I want to start by thanking the trustees for the vote of confidence that you’ve given me today in naming me as the next chancellor of my alma mater, UMass Lowell. It means the world to me, I’m very excited about leading this great institution and our remarkable faculty, staff and students,” said Moloney.

Moloney said that as the new chancellor of UMass Lowell, she was inheriting from President Meehan, “a university charged with momentum and perfectly poised to become one of the top public research universities in the country.”

Victor Woolridge, chairman of the Board of Trustees, said: “We are eager to see UMass Lowell not only maintain its momentum, but to build on it. And we are confident that the end result of this search puts the campus in that position.”


Moloney was the unanimous choice of the 24-member chancellor search committee, which praised her combination of skills, leadership and fit, and pointed to the strong support she enjoyed on campus and from the community.

Trustee R. Norman Peters, co-chair of the chancellor search committee, said, “In a pool of extremely qualified candidates, she rose to the top with a record of high achievement, proven leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, collaboration and campus experience. She had the overwhelming support of students, faculty and the local community.”

Also speaking on Moloney’s behalf was Charles J. Hoff, a UMass Lowell graduate, former UMass trustee and major University donor. Hoff, the creator of a fund that provides scholarships to students on all five of the UMass campuses, described her as a “visionary leader.”

UMass Lowell Student Trustee Amanda Robinson, also a member of the search committee, called Moloney a role model for all women on campus. She said of Moloney, “Her commitment to student life has resulted in a transformative campus community that makes students proud to attend UMass Lowell.”

As part of the search process, the Boston search firm Isaacson, Miller saw 273 individuals explore the UMass Lowell posting on its website, communicated with 40 prospective candidates, interviewed 20 candidates and presented the credentials of those candidates to the search committee.  The committee interviewed the top five candidates July 22 in Boston.

In two public forums held as part of the search process, participants from the local and campus communities urged the selection of a chancellor who would maintain the spirit of entrepreneurism and collaboration that has led to UMass Lowell’s tremendous success. 

The campus forum revealed strong support for Moloney, who subsequently received an official endorsement from the UMass Lowell Faculty Senate Executive Committee.

In its endorsement, the Faculty Senate Executive Committee said: “We feel confident that the consistently sound strategic judgment and inclusive inspirational leadership Jacqueline Moloney has demonstrated throughout her career at UMass Lowell, together with her understanding of the academic and business challenges faced by a campus anxious to rise in national rankings in an era of diminished state support will guide this campus to new heights in the next decade.’’


As executive vice chancellor, Moloney led and implemented the campus’s strategic plan, which is credited with the remarkable achievements of UMass Lowell in the last eight years, which include opening 10 new buildings and impressive growth in enrollment, selectivity, diversity, research expenditures and standings in national academic rankings.

 Moloney also led the campus’s engagement in economic development and entrepreneurial activities while overseeing the Division of Student Affairs and the Division of Online and Continuing Education.

Moloney oversaw a comprehensive restructuring aimed at making the campus more student-focused and entrepreneurial.  She created UMass Lowell’s Office of Entrepreneurship and Economic Development, which attracted more than $10 million in external funding and created partnerships with numerous public and private organizations, including the Massachusetts Life Science’s Center.  She established the DifferenceMaker Program, which engages more than 6,000 students annually in creative problem solving through entrepreneurship, and she co-chairs the Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Higher Education.

The restructuring plan included financial management, and under Moloney’s guidance, operating revenues rose by 103 percent, a structural deficit was eliminated and a sustainable financial plan implemented. As second in command at UMass Lowell, Moloney personally oversaw divisions that comprised one third of the operating budget, including key revenue-generating functions such as the Division of Student Affairs and the Division of Online and Continuing Education.

Considered a national online education expert, she is the architect of the forerunner to UMassOnline, the University’s highly successful distance-learning program, which is now a $43 million operation at UMass Lowell.  She served as dean of the Division of Online and Continuing Education for 13 years and, in 2010, she was named to the inaugural class of Sloan-C Fellows for her distinguished service and leadership in the field of online education.  Previously, she had been recognized with the organization’s equivalent of a lifetime achievement award.

Moloney also managed the restructuring of the Office of University Advancement and was a key fundraiser, securing major gifts and contributing to the more than doubling of the campus’s endowment.

Moloney, an active scholar and a national leader in innovation in higher education, has won numerous awards for her contributions to the community and is a much sought-after speaker nationally, particularly for her presentations on innovation, entrepreneurship, women’s leadership and online education.

She began her career at UMass Lowell in 1984 and has worked as a professor, developer of innovative programs and as an administrator.  A “double River Hawk,” a term given to those with more than one degree from UMass Lowell, Moloney received both her undergraduate degree in sociology and her doctorate degree in education from UMass Lowell. She also holds a master’s degree in social psychology from Goddard College.  She grew up Tewksbury, one of seven girls and one boy, and was the first in her family to attend college.


  • UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy: “UMass Lowell is fortunate to have an experienced, knowledgeable leader in Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney. Her understanding of the University system and the Commonwealth is a tremendous asset, and I look forward to working with her in the years ahead.”
  • UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley:  “We at the University of Massachusetts Boston extend hearty congratulations to the University of Massachusetts Lowell on the naming of Jacqueline Moloney as chancellor. This announcement recognizes her talents and commitment to public higher education and marks an exciting opportunity not only for the River Hawks community but also for our UMass system as a whole.”
  • UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman: “Having already been the first woman to serve as an executive vice chancellor at UMass Lowell, it is with great pride that we see her set a new mark as the first female chancellor of the university.  I know that she will be a tremendous Chancellor and a strong partner and advocate for UMass Lowell and the UMass system.”
  • UMass Medical Chancellor Michael F. Collins: “I would like to commend the search committee and the Board for its selection of Jacqueline Moloney as the next Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell. With this new role, her imprint on the Lowell campus is sure to grow even stronger and we wish Chancellor Moloney great success. There is a long history of collaboration between UMass Medical School and the Lowell campus, and Chancellor Moloney has been instrumental in the success of these efforts.”

Follow Chancellor Moloney on Facebook.