With Ed Moloney, husband of outgoing Chancellor Jacquie Moloney

Jacquie and Ed Moloney dance at her gala

By Ed Brennen

Ed and Jacquie (Fidler) Moloney met through mutual friends in the early 1970s, when he was a student at UMass Amherst and she was a student at UMass Lowell. They celebrated their 45th anniversary in June. We asked Ed, an attorney, what it’s been like to have a front-row seat to her chancellorship.   

Q. What does Jacquie worry about behind the scenes?

A. I wouldn’t say she worries about things, but she has spent a lot of time thinking about what’s very important to her. She’s always wanted to make sure student enrollment is vigorous and healthy, and that the school is attracting people from all walks of life and all backgrounds. She thinks a lot about fundraising and how to continually increase private philanthropy. She’s also been very interested in funding new buildings and renovating old ones — especially buildings close to her heart like Coburn Hall.

Q. Of all her accomplishment, what are you most proud of? 

A. I’m proud of how Jacquie set out 38 years ago, when she started at the university, to create a vibrant culture for faculty, students and staff, to be more engaged, to be more innovative — and to make a difference on campus. I think that she’s accomplished that, and the campus has embraced that.

Q. What do you think her legacy will be?

A. Her legacy will be about all the innovative programs and experienced she spearheaded for students, like DifferenceMaker, the Honors College and, of course, the online education program. I also think the increased enrollment, up to 18,000 now, is part of her legacy. Growing the alumni network, and also growing friends of the university throughout the community, that’s part of her legacy. And growing the endowment to $165 million, and launching the university’s first two endowed institutes, the Rist Institute for Sustainability and the Donahue Center for Ethics — that’s all part of her legacy.

Q. What is something about her that would surprise people?

A. What might surprise some people is that she’s an excellent dancer; what might not surprise people is that she likes to lead. She can do a mean Cha-cha-cha, and we’re working on learning how to do the Jitterbug — the kinds of dancing that we grew up with. We haven’t taken classes yet, but that might come after she retires.

Q. How else will you be spending your increasing free time?  

A. I’m working on a few cases now, but when those are done, I might be done. Probably by the end of this year. I think we want to do a lot of travel that we’ve postponed for the last three or four years. We want to spend more time in Florida during the winter, and we want to spend more time with family and friends. And we might find a hobby or two to take up some time — although I’m not going to take up painting like she has. I don’t want to get started because there is no greater burden than unlimited potential.