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$30M State Investment in UMass Lowell Will Ramp up STEM Graduate Numbers

Funds will assist in the renovation of Olney Hall

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker with UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney Photo by Courtesy
UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney poses with Gov. Charlie Baker after the announcement that the state will invest $30 million in the university to build out campus infrastructure to support STEM education.


Contacts for media: Emily Gowdey-Backus, and Nancy Cicco,

An investment of $30 million in UMass Lowell announced yesterday by Gov. Charlie Baker will help build out the university’s educational infrastructure to accelerate the pipeline of science and engineering graduates as Massachusetts’ demand for STEM graduates grows.

UMass Lowell will invest an additional $45 million in the renovation of instructional labs in Olney Hall, totaling a $75 million modernization project for the 232,600 square foot building constructed on campus in the early 1970s. 

“We could graduate more scientists, engineers and other students prepared for high-tech careers today, but we simply don’t have the instructional space to expand admissions for some of our most popular, in-demand majors,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney. “I want to thank Gov. Baker, Lt. Gov. Polito and the entire administration for their support of this project.”

Moloney said UMass Lowell STEM graduates in the Kennedy College of Sciences, the Francis College of Engineering and the Zuckerberg College of Health Sciences are in particularly high demand due to the university’s close partnerships with businesses across the Commonwealth and its effort to align university curriculum with industry needs.

“Most of our students in STEM majors graduate with co-ops, internships and other experiential learning experiences on their resumes,” Moloney said. “Our job placement rates are so high because businesses know many of our students may already have the equivalent of a year on the job by the time they graduate.”

“The investments we are announcing today will help our public colleges and universities better educate and train the workforce of tomorrow,” said Governor Charlie Baker in a news release Wednesday afternoon. “The overarching goal of these investments is to modernize campus facilities to support STEM instruction, ensuring students graduate from college with skills to be ready to compete in high-demand fields.”

Among the new facilities to be added to the largest science building on campus are: 

  • Technology-rich active learning physics labs
  • New advanced computational labs for chemistry and physics
  • An active learning lecture room, equipped for distance education
  • New flexible interdisciplinary instructional labs that can support rapidly evolving educational needs
  • Fully modernized physics teaching labs and labs to support life sciences and environmental sciences
  • A new instruction suite that will provide tutoring and study support to improve academic success, particularly for students enrolling from disadvantaged high schools

This project will also reduce the building’s carbon footprint and modernize its ventilation systems.

Moloney said the investment in Olney is closely aligned with the university’s efforts to develop East Campus with new space for co-location programs as startup and established companies continue to partner with UMass Lowell faculty, researchers and students. It’s a model the university has pursued successfully evidenced by the Raytheon UMass Lowell Research Institute in the Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center on North Campus, our expanding Core Research Facilities that provide external access to state-of-the-art technical equipment, as well as high-tech and medical device business incubators.

“We’ve had numerous conversations with high-tech firms who would love to have a presence on campus to work closely with our faculty and students,” Moloney said. “Thanks to these Olney investments, as companies locate on East Campus to partner with us, we’ll have a growing supply of STEM students eager to take advantage of experiential learning opportunities.

Earlier this year, Moloney and her husband, Ed, increased their lifetime giving to UMass Lowell to more than $1 million with a six-figure pledge creating the Moloney Student Fellowships fund designed expressly to advance experiential learning opportunities.

UMass Lowell is a national research university located on a high-energy campus in the heart of a global community. The university offers its 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.