The Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell has been a key part of the University for years, hosting commencement, student activities and packed River Hawk hockey games. The arena became an official part of the campus three years ago thanks to the vision and hard work of numerous partners, including the Lowell State House Delegation of 2010.
The University community came together before the River Hawks’ final regular season home game to thank the delegation with a new plaque in the Tsongas Center foyer. The team worked with city, University and community partners to support the arena’s transition, including passing legislation to permit the acquisition.
Former state Sen. Steven Panagiotakos and state Reps. Thomas Golden ’93 ’01, Kevin Murphy and David Nangle spearheaded efforts to ensure proper approvals of the complex piece of legislation. Since then, having a world-class arena has dramatically increased the prestige of the University.
The Tsongas Center has undergone renovations
since the transfer and was recently ranked No. 13 in Venues Today Magazine's Mid-Year Top Stops Rankings
in its capacity category (5,001 to 10,000) for 2011-2012. Over its 18 reported events during the evaluation period, the venue saw a combined attendance of 71,144, an increase of more than 25,000 from the same time the previous year.
"We wouldn't have been able to go Division I in sports if it weren't for this building," said Chancellor Marty Meehan. "We wanted to build a hockey program that would make everyone in our community proud, make everyone in the university proud. Without this building, we wouldn't have been able to do it."
Many members of that community attended the dedication. Panagiotakos shared that he hoped the arena would foster city-University collaboration during its construction.
“This project became a real representation of the relationship between the University and the city,” said Panagiotakos. “Our hopes have been realized thanks to the Chancellor and his staff making this a world class arena.”