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UMass Lowell to Celebrate 125th Anniversary

125 Years Proud

University to Mark Milestone with Events throughout Academic Year

Lowell Normal School classroom
UMass Lowell began as Lowell Normal School, above, which trained teachers, and Lowell Textile School, which trained managers and technicians for the many mills that were located throughout the city during the American Industrial Revolution.


Contacts for media: Christine Gillette, 978-934-2209 or and Nancy Cicco, 978-934-4944 or

LOWELL, Mass. – The year was 1894 and the city of Lowell was a hub of the American Industrial Revolution. The many textile mills along the banks of the mighty Merrimack River needed skilled workers, managers and technicians and the children of those workers needed an education. 

To answer the demand for education and need for innovation to fuel the region’s economy, two institutions of higher learning – one on each side of the river – were founded: Lowell Normal School and Lowell Textile School. Although 125 years have passed since then, those demands remain, as do the institutions devoted to meeting them, united as a single institution, the University of Massachusetts Lowell. 

Today, more than 18,000 students are enrolled at UMass Lowell, which is ranked by the Chronicle of Higher Education among the top 10 fastest-growing public doctoral institutions in the nation for the fourth year in a row. The student body is the most diverse and academically qualified it has ever been, with the highest average high-school GPAs and SAT scores in campus’ history.

The university, which began in two buildings, has grown to 4.8 million square feet of academic, research, athletic and residential space across its three campuses in Lowell and at its satellite campus in Haverhill, all while maintaining a gold rating for campus sustainability. 

More than 120 undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificates are offered to students on campus and online and UMass Lowell is ranked among the top 80 public institutions in the nation on U.S. News & World Report’s Best National Universities list. 

Ninety-six percent of the Class of 2018 reported they were employed full-time or attending graduate school within a year and UMass Lowell graduates average the top starting and mid-career salaries among counterparts at all New England public research universities. 

The university annually delivers more than $900 million in positive economic impact to the region and students and faculty contribute more than 200,000 hours in the community each year.

These accomplishments and more will be celebrated throughout this academic year, which begins next week. 

“As we look back on our 125-year history, it is hard to overstate UMass Lowell’s impact across the Merrimack Valley and throughout the region. Through research and discovery, our faculty and students have created and innovated, and our alumni are national leaders in their fields. As we celebrate our proud tradition of achievement, it’s also clear that UMass Lowell’s best years remain in front of us,” said Chancellor Jacquie Moloney.

The 125th Anniversary Celebration gala and River Hawk Homecoming headline the events scheduled so far for the fall semester. 

The celebration on Thursday, Oct. 17 will look back at the history of the university, its growth from two institutions to its years as the University of Lowell and finally, as the University of Massachusetts Lowell, highly ranked for students’ return on investment, quality of teaching and programs, and as one of the nation’s fastest growing public research institutions. 

River Hawk Homecoming from Friday, Oct. 18 through Sunday, Oct. 20 will feature athletic competitions – including Division I women’s soccer and men’s ice hockey, as well as intramurals and the annual Jennifer D’Amour Scholarship 5K Memorial Run/Walk – as well the UMass Lowell Athletic Hall of Fame Induction, reunions, community service, pre-game festivities and more. 

The spring semester will feature the reopening of Coburn Hall – where Lowell Normal School was born and the home of UMass Lowell’s College of Education – after more than a year of renovations and the 50th anniversary of the Department of Civil Engineering, as well as reunions and Commencement ceremonies. 

More events will be added to the schedule for both semesters and details will be available at

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its more than 18,000 students bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in business, education, engineering, fine arts, health, humanities, sciences and social sciences. UMass Lowell delivers high-quality educational programs, vigorous hands-on learning and personal attention from leading faculty and staff, all of which prepare graduates to be leaders in their communities and around the globe.