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University of Massachusetts

Seal of the University of Massachusetts
Motto Ense petit placidam sub libertate quietem
Motto in English By the sword we seek peace; but peace only under liberty
Established 1863
Type Public
Endowment US $348,100,000
Chancellor Dr. Robert C. Holub
Provost James Staros
Staff 1,180 full-time, 190 part-time[1]
Students 26,360
Undergraduates 20,540
Postgraduates 5,820
Location Amherst, Massachusetts, United States
(42°23′20″N 72°31′40″W / 42.38889°N 72.52778°W / 42.38889; -72.52778)
Campus 1,463 acres (5.87 km²)
Former names Massachusetts Agricultural College, Massachusetts State College
Athletics Official site
Sports Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Field Hockey, Football, Ice Hockey, Lacrosse, Rowing, Skiing, Soccer, Softball, Swimming & Diving, Tennis, Track & Field
Colors Maroon and White
Nickname Minutemen and Minutewomen
Mascot Sam the Minuteman
UMassAmherst logo.png

The University of Massachusetts Amherst (otherwise known as UMass or UMass Amherst or Massachusetts) is a public research and land-grant university in Amherst, Massachusetts and the flagship of the University of Massachusetts system. With more than 1,370 faculty members and more than 26,000 students, UMass Amherst is the largest public university in New England.[2]

The university offers bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in over 90 undergraduate and 65 graduate areas of study, through 9 schools and colleges.[3] The main campus is situated north of downtown Amherst, Massachusetts.

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is categorized as an RU/VH Research University (very high research activity) in the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.[4] In 2009, UMass Amherst had research expenditures of $130 million.[5]

UMass Amherst sports teams are called the Minutemen and Minutewomen, the colors being maroon and white; the school mascot is Sam the Minuteman. All teams participate in the NCAA's Division I. The university is a member of the Atlantic Ten Conference, while playing ice hockey in the Hockey East Association. For football, UMass competes in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).




Foundation and early years

The university was founded in 1863 under the provisions of the Federal Morrill Land-Grant Colleges Act to provide instruction to Massachusetts citizens in the "agricultural, mechanical, and military arts." Accordingly, the university was initially named the Massachusetts Agricultural College, popularly referred to as "Mass Aggie" or "M.A.C." In 1867, the college had yet to admit any students, had been through two Presidents, and still had not completed any college buildings. In that year, William S. Clark was appointed President of the college and Professor of Botany. He quickly appointed a faculty, completed the construction plan, and in the fall of 1867 admitted the first class of approximately 50 students. Clark became the first functioning President and arguably the primary founding father of the college.[6]

Goodell Hall at UMass Amherst.

The original buildings consisted of Old South College (a dormitory located on the site of the present South College), North College (a second dormitory once located just south of today's Machmer Hall), the Chemistry Laboratory, also known as College Hall (once located on the present site of Machmer Hall), the Boarding House (a small dining hall located just north of the present Campus Parking Garage), the Botanic Museum (located on the north side of the intersection of Stockbridge Road and Chancellor's Hill Drive) and the Durfee Plant House (located on the site of the new Durfee Conservatory).[7]

Although enrollment was slow during the 1870s, the fledgling college built momentum under the leadership of President Henry Hill Goodell. In the 1880s, Goodell implemented an expansion plan, adding the College Drill Hall in 1883 (the first gymnasium), the Old Chapel Library in 1885 (one of the oldest extant buildings on campus and an important symbol of the University), and the East and West Experiment Stations in 1886 and 1890. The Campus Pond, now the central focus of the University Campus, was created in 1893 by damming a small brook.

A picture looking north from the W.E.B. DuBois Library at UMass Amherst. Lederle Graduate Research Tower can be seen in the background and the Campus Center and Hotel in the foreground.

The early 20th century saw great expansion in terms of enrollment and the scope of the curriculum. The first female student was admitted in 1875 on a part time basis. The first full-time female student was admitted in 1894. The first female students graduated with the class of 1905. In 1903, Draper Hall was constructed for the dual purpose of a dining hall and female housing. The first dedicated female dormitory, the Abigail Adams House (on the site of today Lederle Tower) was built in 1920.[8]

By the turn of the century, the college was thriving and quickly expanded its curriculum to include liberal arts. In recognition of the higher enrollment and broader curriculum, the college was renamed, "Massachusetts State College" in 1931.

Following World War II, the G.I. Bill, facilitating financial aid for veterans, led to an explosion of applicants. The college population soared and Presidents Hugh Potter Baker and Ralph Van Meter labored to push through major construction projects in the 1940s and 50s, particularly with regard to dormitories (now Northeast and Central Residential Areas). Accordingly, the name of the college was changed in 1947 to the "University of Massachusetts."


The school has several buildings (constructed in the 1960s and 70s) of importance in the modernist style, including the campus center designed by Marcel Breuer, the Southwest Residential Area designed by Hugh Stubbins Jr of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill, The Fine Arts Center by Kevin Roche, the W.E.B. DuBois Library by Edward Durell Stone, and the Mullins Center by Gordon Bunshaft. The eclectic mix of building styles draws mixed reactions from students and visitors. The Lederle Graduate Research Center is currently undergoing an exterior renovation. Newly completed construction projects on campus include the Studio Arts Building and the Integrated Sciences Center.

Recent expansion project

In 2004, former Governor Mitt Romney proposed an ambitious expansion project in which the size and population of the university would almost double as it took over the role of the state's community college system which Romney has begun to consolidate and dismantle. While this proposal received the support of the student government, town residents are exceedingly resistant to any such plan as it would increase the already critical traffic congestion in the center of town.

Following Mitt Romney's mandate, the UMass Amherst administration has pushed for admission of more students than there are residences. A large construction initiative, known as "New Dirt" is currently underway, in renovating and building new residential and academic facilities.

Designation as flagship campus

In 2003, for the first time, UMass Amherst was legally designated by the state legislature as a research university and the "flagship campus of the UMass system.[9]

Construction on a George H. Bush tower ill begin on September 20, 2010.


Buildings and layout

The campus extends about a mile from the Campus Center in all directions. The university owns significant amounts of land in the nearby towns of Sunderland and Hadley. (Campus Map)

The campus may be thought of as a series of concentric rings. In the outermost ring are parking lots, the admissions center, playing fields and barns for the animal science program. In the middle ring there are the six residential areas and dining commons. (There are four dinning commons on campus, Franklin, Worcester, Berkshire and Hampshire. Though Berkshire was most recently renovated and is considered the premier dining hall, Worcester sees the highest volume of diners.) The innermost ring has most of the classroom buildings and research labs.

South Campus

The center of the UMass Amherst campus. To the left is the Old Chapel, and to the right the W. E. B. Du Bois Library

The Isenberg School of Management has its buildings in the southernmost part of campus near the Visitors Center and the Newman Center, the Catholic student center. In addition to being the site of the main administration building, Whitmore, the southeast side of campus has buildings mainly dedicated to the humanities and fine arts. Buildings include Herter, Bartlett, Mahar and the Fine Arts Center (FAC). Between Whitmore, the FAC and Isenberg lies the Haigis Mall, a local stop on both the PVTA and Peter Pan bus lines. The buildings on the southwest side of campus house the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences. These include Dickinson Hall and Tobin Hall.

Student Union

The Student Union Building houses most of the University's RSOs and it is the home of the Student Government Association. Other facilities include a convenience store, a ball room, and a student lounge. Several student-run businesses and co-ops are also present including a copy services center called Campus Design and Copy (CD&C), Tickets Unlimited (Tix), Bike Coop, the Fair trade convenience store, bagel shop People's Market and a vegan/vegetarian eatery Earthfoods Cafe.

South College

South College is the home of UMass' world renowned linguistics department. The DuBois library was intended to be an annex to South College.

Campus Center Designed by famed architect Marcel Breuer, the Murray D. Lincoln Campus Center is located adjacent to the Student Union and is accessible via passageways from both the Student Union as well as from the main level of the parking garage.

On the concourse level are the campus store, restrooms, graduate student lounge, which serves beer, and the Bluewall, which contains a cafe, a smoothie stand and a fair trade coffee stand. This level is a high-traffic area throughout most of the day with students and faculty not only using it as a 'pass through' from one building to another, but also as the central hub of on-campus life. Many people often pass the time between classes on this level and it is common to find vendors and organizations operating from fold-out tables along either side.

The lower level of the campus center has multiple conference rooms and a large auditorium. Within the central space of the lower level are telephones, ATMs, vending, as well as couches and television. The offices of the University newspaper, The Daily Collegian, can be found at the far end of the level, along with the University radio station, WMUA, and its offices. One of the basement rooms is home to the UMass Science Fiction Society's library which is the second largest Science Fiction library on the east coast.

The top floor of the Campus Center, "The Top of the Campus" recently underwent a complete renovation. It is home to a state of the art teaching kitchen, beverage lab and dining room facility.

Campus Center Hotel Above the concourse level is the Campus Center Hotel, a five-level full service facility with 116 rooms, including two suites located in the Campus Center. The Campus Center Hotel is the training ground for the university's Hospitality and Tourism Management students.

Fletcher's Cafe Fletcher's Café is a student run business on campus at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. It is located in Flint Lab, the Hospitality and Tourism Management building, which is next to the campus center parking garage. Students that are part of the Hospitality and Tourism Management major take on full managerial responsibilities and are required to hire employees, order food and drinks, take care of accounting and hopefully make a profit by the end of the semester. Fletcher's Cafe is currently run by Jamie Tooley and Dan Shaw.

North Campus

The north side of campus is mostly dedicated to science and engineering, and many buildings there are newer than their counterparts in the humanities. The Physics Department primarily uses Hasbrouck Lab, located at 666 North Pleasant Street. The Lederle Graduate Research Tower is the largest building on the north side, housing the Math department on its sixteenth floor. As the Math Department headquarters, the sixteenth floor is prominently labeled 4². The Silvio Conte Polymer Research facility is located in North campus.

Computer science

The Computer Science department recently moved into an airy new building built for them on the edge of campus, though classes are often taught elsewhere, especially for lower division classes. Between the imposing concrete LGRT, the second-story walkway from it to its sister structure the LGRC, the glass-and-aluminum Computer Science building, and other new buildings for the Engineering and Polymer Science departments, North Campus looks more "high-tech" than the rest of campus.

Sports, recreation, and exercise

Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium.

Major sporting events, such as UMass's hockey and basketball team games, are held in the Mullins Center, amidst the fields to the west. Other locales for sporting events include Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium (where UMass holds its football games) and Garber Field, which is an artificial-turf field adjacent to Boyden Gym used for lacrosse, field hockey, and various team practices.

In fall 2007, ground was broken across the street from the Mullins Center on a new $50 million recreation complex. The Recreation Center was completed in spring 2009 and spans three floors, including weight and cardio equipment, a basketball court and jogging/running track, activity rooms, locker facilities, and a juice bar. Use of the Rec Center will be free for undergraduates and available for a fee to graduate students and faculty/staff. The building was originally scheduled to open in early September, but was delayed due to problems with fire safety and security systems. The Rec Center opened to the public on October 30, 2009.

On campus there are two other gyms: Totman (adjacent to the North Apartments) and Boyden (near the Southwest residential area). Prior to 2009, both gyms held fitness centers which have been replaced by the Rec Center. Both buildings also hold basketball courts (although the Totman court has remained closed in the fall 2009 semester), locker room facilities, and pools. Both buildings also hold classrooms and offices; Totman in particular is home to the kinesiology department and has a student-run Body Shop. There are four small in-dorm gyms that are available for a fee as part of the Wellness program; in Lewis (in Northeast), John Quincy Adams and Washington towers (in Southwest), and Webster (in Orchard Hill). To the west of campus are numerous fields used for recreation and intramural sports. There is also a set of tennis courts located north of Boyden.

The baseball team plays its home games at Earl Lorden Field, adjacent to the Mullins Center practice rink. Down the street, near Southwest, is the UMass Softball Complex as well as Rudd Field, home of the UMass men's and women's soccer teams.

In addition to Totman and Boyden, there is Curry Hicks Cage, which hosts a small indoor track, pool, and basketball court. It is also occasionally used as a venue for guest speakers (such as the fall 2006 visit from comedian Bob Saget) and for the Western Mass high school basketball championships and other similar sporting events. The Cage was the home of the UMass men's and women's basketball teams before the Mullins Center was built.

Campus bus system

UMass and the PVTA, employing student workers, provide campus bus service throughout both the UMass Amherst campuses and the northern region of the PVTA service area.

The campus bus system was established in 1969 as the Student Senate Transit Services (now UMass Transit). In 1973 a demonstration grant secured money to set up a fare-free transit system. This coupled with increased parking fees and strict parking regulations used to alleviate vehicular congestion and parking problems on campus. In 1976 the University of Massachusetts Transit Services became contractor for PVTA. UMass Transit (or UMTS) introduced an honor-based system in which any potential rider (not including students with valid UCards) during certain reduced service periods times of the year or PVTA employees at any time of year) will be expected to have in his or her possession a ticket purchased locally in Amherst that grants either single or multiple rides, or a days or weeks pass. UMass Transit, or UMTS is a contractor for the PVTA, and runs its Amherst based routes. It serves not only the University of Massachusetts campus, but also the surrounding colleges and communities. This bus system is run primarily by University students and is free for students, which allows them to easily get to classes at the other four colleges.

Bus schedules vary depending on whether they are running semester service, summer, winter, etc. Make sure you are looking at the correct schedule. Routes 34, 35, 38, 39 and M40 do not run during summer session. For summer service, check out UMass Transit Summer Schedule. For more details you can view the bus service calendar or google trip planner.

Residential areas

At UMass Amherst, first and second year students are required to live on campus. Housing is open to all full-time undergraduate students, regardless of year. Upper-class students who have continuously lived on campus during their first and sophomore years are guaranteed housing as long as they choose to live on campus. If, however, a student is admitted after their sophomore year, or moves off campus, and wants to move back onto campus, they are not guaranteed housing, but instead must go through a housing lottery, since demand outstrips supply. Building and room selection is accomplished by a complex system that takes into account building seniority as well as class year; those choosing to move from their building are subject to a lottery system. There are approximately 12,000 students living on-campus.

North Residential Area

Recently completed, the newest residence halls on campus opened in the Fall of 2006. Located between Sylvan and Northeast, these apartment-style dormitories house approximately 850 undergraduates in four buildings.

Sylvan Residential Area

Sylvan is adjacent to the North Residential Area, and before the opening of North in 2006, was the newest residential area on campus, construction having been completed in the early 1970s. Sylvan contains three, eight-story towers: McNamara, Brown, and Cashin. Sylvan is distinctive for offering suite-style living in a shady wooded area. Sylvan derives from Latin silva, "a wood or grove." Each residence hall contains 64 suites and each suite is either all-male or all-female.

Northeast Residential Area

Northeast, is across the street from North and diagonal to Sylvan. The residential area consists of nine buildings assembled in a rectangle surrounding a grassy quad. Northeast is one of the oldest residential areas on campus and has what one might call classic academic architecture, consisting of red brick buildings and gabled/shingled roofs.

Northeast is also home to Worcester Dining Common, which contains a separate dining room called the Oak Room, primarily offering Asian-style food during the lunch and dinner hours. Worcester's basement is also home to a large, grocery-style convenience store as well as one of the four Pita Pit locations on campus.

Central Residential Area

Central is unique because it has three academic buildings in addition to nine residence halls located along a hill on the east side of campus.

University Health Services is located next to Brett and Brooks halls, on Infirmary Way. Central is serviced by Franklin Dining Common, across the street from Brett and Wheeler. Franklin contains kosher and vegan dining options as well as a convenience store.

Orchard Hill Residential Area

Completed in 1964, the Orchard Hill residence area is located in an old apple orchard which still blooms every spring. It is located to the north of the Central residential area, and to the east of the main academic campus. Orchard Hill is composed of four residence halls: Dickinson, Webster, Grayson and Field.

Southwest Residential Area

Southwest is the largest residential area on the UMass campus. It was built in the 1960s, and all the buildings are built in the brutalist structure.

Parking on-campus

Parking at UMass is open to all students via Parking Services for a fee. Cost varies depending on seniority and location. The most typical student parking permits range from $60 to $300 for the year. It is a color coded system with Green, Purple and Yellow Lots available to students. Purple Lots are typically closest to the dorm/housing areas; Yellow Lots are the cheapest but the farthest away; Green lots are for commuter students[10]. Parking is also available in the campus garage for a fee of $1.50 per hour during the day. In the evening there is a night rate of $3.00. Payment options include cash or ucard. Meter parking is also available at select locations through out campus. The meters accept nickels, dimes, and quarters only.


The number of applications to UMass Amherst has almost doubled from 16,500 to 29,500 in just five years, increasing for the seventh consecutive year. In 2009, 64% percent of applicants were accepted to the University, and 2% to the Commonwealth College (14% of those accepted). The class of 2012 had an average high school GPA of 3.55, compared to previous year's 3.48 average high school GPA.[11]

The incoming class of 2013 had an average high school GPA of 3.6 out of 4 and more than 50% of students were in the top 20% class rank making the school more competitive for the 7th consecutive year.[12]

Acceptance to the Commonwealth honors college of Umass amherst is more selective with an average SAT score of 1330 (math and critical reading) and an average high school class rank of top 8%.[13]


Schools and colleges

UMass Amherst offers bachelor's degrees, master's degrees, and doctoral degrees in over 90 undergraduate and 65 graduate areas of study. The university is organized into 9 schools and colleges:[14]

Ranking and reputation

Skyline of the university from the South Athletic Fields

U.S. News and World Report's 2010 edition of America's Best Colleges ranked UMass Amherst 106th on their list of "Best National Universities", and 46th among public universities.[15] The computer science program is ranked 20th, tied with Rice, Duke and UPenn.[16] The artificial intelligence program is ranked 10th, while computer systems is ranked at 18th.[17] US News and World Report ranks UMass Amherst 50th among graduate engineering schools, 51st among graduate education schools, 54th among nursing programs, and in the graduate arts and sciences, 30th for speech-language pathology, 31st for sociology, 46th for English, 48th for physics, 49th for earth sciences, 50th for psychology, 50th for chemistry, 64th for history, 64th for math, 68th for biology, 72nd for public affairs, and 81st for fine arts.[18]

The undergraduate engineering program is ranked by U.S. News as tied for 56th in the country among schools whose highest degree is a doctorate, ranked higher than other area schools, such as Boston University, Tufts University, Wentworth Institute of Technology and Northeastern University.[19]

The MBA program is highly ranked by the Princeton Review.[20]

The National Research Council ranked computer science at UMass Amherst 18th in quality of Ph. D. education and polymer science, 2nd in quality of education and 7th in quality of scholarship among all U.S. materials departments. Where the Institute for Scientific Information ranked the Chemical Engineering program 5th, Computer Science Department 9th and Geosciences Department recognized for producing most cited paper on Global Warming.[21]

A 1995 study ranked UMass Amherst as ranking 8th out of 44 public universities for undergraduate graduation rates[22]

The Chronicle of Higher Education named UMass Amherst a "Top Producer of Fulbright students" in the 2008-2009 academic year.

In a 2009 article for Amherst was ranked 1st in Best College Towns, in the United States.[23]


The Old Chapel and W.E.B. DuBois Library at UMass Amherst.

The W.E.B. Du Bois Library is the tallest library in the United States,[24] and the tallest academic library in the world.[citation needed] It is also well regarded for its innovative architectural design, which incorporates the bookshelves into the structural support of the building.[25] It is home of the memoirs and papers of the distinguished African-American activist and Massachusetts native W. E. B. Du Bois as well as being the depository for other important collections, such as the papers of the late Congressman Silvio O. Conte. The library's special collections include works on movements for social change, African American history and culture, labor and industry, literature and the arts, agriculture, and the history of the surrounding region.[26]

A primary feature of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library is the Learning Commons,[27] which opened in 2005. The Learning Commons provides a central location for resources provided by several departments across campus including Library Reference, Office of Information Technologies Help Desk, Academic Advising, Writing Center, Career Services, and Assistive Technologies Center. The Learning Commons has 164 computers with a broad range of software installed arranged in a variety of configurations for both individual and collaborative work. The library also offers services including tutoring, writing workshops, and supplemental instruction scattered among its 26 floors. The building itself is so large that it needs a security force. That security force is the Building Monitor Desk, which managed by various supervisors and student employees.

The Integrated Sciences and Engineering Library is the other main library on campus. It is located on the second floor of the Lederle Graduate Research Center (occasionally referred to as the Lederle "low rise").

UMass Amherst is home to the DEFA Film Library, the only archive and study collection of East German films outside of Europe.

Other libraries include the Shirley Graham Du Bois Library in New Africa House, the Biological Sciences Library in Morrill Hall, the UMass Science Fiction Society (UMSFS) Library in the Campus Center, and the Music Reserve Lab in the Fine Arts Center.

Commonwealth College

The Commonwealth College (ComCol) is the honors college at UMass. The honors college provides students the opportunity to intensify their UMass academic curriculum. The requirements of the college are to complete a set number of the required classes for one's major at the honors level as well as complete a senior year thesis or capstone project and several Dean's book courses. Completion of the ComCol courseload is no longer required in order to graduate the University with higher Latin honors designations, such as magna or summa cum laude, though students who do enroll in ComCol can earn the honors with a lower GPA (than those enrolled in the general university population). ComCol provides honors students an additional community of students to interact with outside of their academic department.

Five College consortium

UMass Amherst is part of the Five Colleges consortium, which allows its students to attend classes, borrow books, work with professors, etc., at four other Pioneer Valley institutions: Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges.

All five colleges are located within 10 miles of Amherst center, and are accessible by public bus. The five share an astronomy department and some other undergraduate and graduate departments.

Information technology

UMass Amherst is a member of Internet2.

The Office of Information Technologies (OIT) provides all faculty, staff, and students with an OIT account which provides access to a variety of services including email (UMail), online storage space (UDrive), web hosting space, and blogging space.[28]

OIT maintains 9 Computer Classrooms across campus with approximately 300 computers available to members of the UMass community. In addition, OIT provides the campus community with computers available in the Learning Commons located in the W.E.B. DuBois Library. Additionally, many departments and programs have their own computing resources available for members of those groups.

Many UMass Amherst instructors make use of Blackboard's Blackboard Vista learning management system (which has been branded as SPARK on campus[29]) for delivery of course content via the web.

In the winter of 2003, the Office of Information Technologies (OIT) rolled out the SPIRE system, which is based on PeopleSoft's student information system. At UMass, SPIRE is a web-based system used to register for courses, view transcripts, view degree progress, view bursar balances, as well as a variety of other tasks.

On October 21, 2005 UMass Amherst was designated as the first-in-the-nation Microsoft IT Showcase School by CEO Steve Ballmer, recognizing the university's innovative leadership in applying information technology to teaching and learning.[30]

In April 2008, UMass Amherst announced a campus alert system whereby members of the university can receive emergency notification via text messaging.[31]

Research labs at UMass Amherst

  • Autonomous Learning Laboratory (Computer Science)
  • Center for Intelligent Information Retrieval (Computer Science)
  • Knowledge Discovery Laboratory (Computer Science)
  • Laboratory For Perceptual Robotics (Computer Science)
  • Center for Geometry, Analysis, Numerics, and Graphics (Mathematics)
  • Center for Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Computation (Mathematics)
  • Center for Economic Development
  • Political Economy Research Institute
  • Center for Education Policy
  • The Environmental Institute
  • Center for Public Policy and Administration
  • Labor Relations and Research Center
  • Virtual Center for Supernetworks
  • Antennas and Propagation Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Center for Advanced Sensor and Communication Antennas (CASCA) (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
  • Multimedia Networks Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Multimedia Networks and Internet Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Network Systems Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Wireless Systems Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • VLSI Circuits and Systems Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Reconfigurable Computing Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Architecture and Real Time Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Engineering Research Center for Collaborative Adaptive Sensing of the Atmosphere (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Complex Systems Modeling and Control Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Emerging Electronics Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Feedback Control Systems Lab (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Information Systems Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Laboratory for Millimeter Wavelength Devices and Applications (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Microwave Remote Sensing Laboratory (MIRSL)(Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Terahertz Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • VLSI CAD Laboratory (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Yield and Reliability of VLSI Circuits (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Software systems and architecture group (Electrical and Computer Systems Engineering)
  • Scientific Reasoning Research Institute
  • National Center for Digital Government
  • Wind Energy Center (formerly the Renewable Energy Research Laboratory) (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering)
  • Center for e-design
  • Center for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (Mechanical and Industrial Engineering)

Student life

Student Government Association

The Student Government Association (SGA) is the undergraduate student governmental body, and provides funding for the many registered student organizations (RSOs) and agencies, including the Student Legal Services Office (SLSO) and the Student Center for Educational Research and Advocacy (SCERA). The SGA also makes formal recommendations on matters of Administration policy and advocates for undergraduate students to the Administration, non-student organizations, and local and state government. The SGA has a budget of approximately 2 million dollars per year which is collected for students in the form of the Student Activities Fee. The student activities fee is currently $47 per semester (Spring 2009). It is used to fund RSOs, Agencies and the SGA itself.

The SGA has three branches: the President and Executive Cabinet, the Undergraduate Student Senate, and the Student Judiciary.

Area governments There are a total of seven area governments. Each of the campus's six residential areas has an area government, and there is also a Commuter Area Government to serve commuter students. Area governments provide social programming for their areas, and are in charge of the house councils for the dorms in their area. They also represent the needs and interests of students in their areas to the Administration, Housing and Residence Life and the SGA.

Area Governments have a tradition of sponsoring large events, generally in the Spring, such as Fill the Hill, Bowl Weekend and Southwest Week.

House councils Each residence hall or residential "cluster" (a group of residence halls) at UMass Amherst has a house council. House councils report to their respective area governments. Its budget comes from voluntary dues collected in return for access to common supplies (access to the kitchenette, rental access to vacuums, brooms, games, etc). House councils also engage in social programming for their halls or clusters, and advocate to housing staff in regards to concerns of students in their hall/cluster.

Registered student organizations

UMass Amherst looking southeast from the air.

UMass Amherst has many registered student organizations (RSOs). Most RSOs are funded by the Student Government Association (SGA), from the activity fee that all students pay, however, the SGA has often been criticized for not funding all clubs fully or equally. In recent years, the fee has been about $81. In order to start an RSO, one needs a group of at least eight interested students, who then petition the SGA for recognition. Each semester, the SGA reviews RSOs, and those which have too few members are considered inactive. Club Sports, which are non-NCAA athletic or organized sports teams, are considered RSOs.

Residential Leadership Association

The Residential Leadership Association is a student organization composed of residential students. It is composed of an executive board and hall level leaders known as Community Leaders (CLs). RLA is nationally affiliated with the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH). This organization makes an effort to support all the residential students UMass Amherst by providing programming and leadership development opportunities. It provides various leadership opportunities such as leadership conferences and roundtable discussions while continuing to foster the development of the on campus community through innovative programming. In the past, such programs such as Johnny Cupcakes, a Ski Trip, a BBQ/Concert have been put on by RLA.

Founded in 2003, RLA strives to make a positive impact on this campus. RLA is the parent/sister group to the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) which recognizes student leaders within the residence halls. The RLA office is located in the basement of Pierpont Hall in the Southwest Residential Area.[32]


The Minuteman Battalion is the institution's Army ROTC battalion. Active on the Amherst campus, the program's Scabbard and Blade community service club is very active and represents UMass well throughout the year with food drives, assistance to local veteran's groups and assistance with the Medical Readiness Corps at UMass in preparing for large-scale medical disasters. Most students are on a full tuition scholarship. UMass-Amherst is the host program for the Pioneer Valley and Five Colleges Army ROTC programs including: Smith College, Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, Western New England College (WNEC), Springfield College, Westfield State College and American International College (AIC). At AIC and WNEC, students on Army ROTC Scholarships also earn free room and board.

Marching band

UMass Amherst has the largest marching band in New England. The Minuteman Marching Band consists of over 390 members and regularly plays at football games. The band is led by George N. Parks. The Minuteman Band also won the prestigious Sudler Trophy in 1998 for excellence. The band is well known across the nation for its style and excellence, particularly for its percussion UMass Drumline and tuba sections. The band also performs in various other places like Allentown, Pennsylvania, Bands of America, Boston, and on occasion Montreal.

Fraternities and sororities

UMass is home to numerous fraternities and sororities, organized under four councils: IFC, NPC, NPHC, and the MGC. Several Greek Life organizations had houses on North Pleasant Street until Alpha Tau Gamma, Inc. who owned the property for many years, did not renew the leases. The North Pleasant Street houses were colloquially known as Frat Row. Most of Alpha Tau Gamma Properties' houses were out of code and were razed November, 2006. The land was then sold to the University.[33] Currently several sororities & fraternities still live in "Frat Row" including Sigma Delta Tau, Pi Kappa Alpha, Iota Gamma Upsilon, Phi Sigma Kappa and Theta Chi. Behind "Frat Row" or North Pleasant Street there are more sorority houses such as Sigma Kappa, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Alpha Chi Omega. Two other houses Chi Omega and Sigma Phi Epsilon are situated on Olympia Drive, on the northern outskirts of the campus. Delta Upsilon is also situated on North Pleasant Street just past Lederle and Totman. Alpha Epsilon Pi is also on campus. Alpha Epsilon Pi recently relocated to Sunset Ave, and Pi Kappa Alpha returned to campus in Spring of '07.

Several organizations do not have houses, such as Alpha Delta Phi, Pi Kappa Phi, Phi Sigma Pi, Alpha Epsilon Phi, Delta Chi,Zeta Psi and the NPHC, and the MGC fraternities and sororities. As of September 1, 2009 (2009 -09-01), the membership of the University of Massachusetts - Amherst Multicultural Greek Council is composed of the members of the following organizations at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and nationals: Delta Xi Phi, Kappa Phi Lambda, Pi Delta Psi, Phi Iota Alpha, Sigma Lambda Upsilon, Sigma Psi Zeta, Sigma Lambda Beta, and Sigma Lambda Gamma.

The Greek community has several annual traditions, including UDance, the Relay for Life and the annual Greek Week, during which the various fraternities are partnered with sororities, and these teams compete with each other throughout a week of challenges.

The different councils of the Greek system have governing boards, referred to as Executive Boards. The members of these boards are elected or appointed into their positions and hold them for a year term.

The Massachusetts Daily Collegian

The student-operated newspaper, The Massachusetts Daily Collegian,, is published Monday through Friday during the University of Massachusetts' calendar semester. The Collegian is independently funded, operating on advertising revenue. Founded in 1890, the paper began as Aggie Life, became the College Signal in 1901, the Weekly Collegian in 1914 and the Tri-Weekly Collegian in 1956. Published daily since 1967, the Collegian has been broadsheet since January 1994. The Daily Collegian is the largest daily college newspaper in New England.

On every April Fool's Day since 1996, The Daily Collegian publishes a privately funded joke front page called The Morning Wood. The humorous edition features many comedic news articles complete with fake Op-Eds and doctored pictures. Most members of the University appreciate the annual special, but some feel it is inappropriate due to its occasional use of vulgar language.


The Union Video Center is the University of Massachusetts' student-run television station, located in the basement of the Student Union. UVC-TV 19 is part of the University's Housing Cable Services Network and airs on channel 19 to over 11,000 viewers on campus via a closed circuit system. UVC began as the Student Video Project in 1974, and was renamed the Union Video Center in 1978 after growing into a full-fledged television station. Today, UVC-TV 19 serves as a resource on campus for full-time undergraduate students interested in learning about any aspect of television, video production, or cablecasting by providing access to audio and video equipment, studio, and editing workstations. Student members cover campus events and guest lectures, produce original shows, films and documentaries, and air their work on UVC. Membership to UVC gives students access to check out cameras/other video equipment. It also allows each student the opportunity to learn advanced skills for the production field such as training on editing systems and other high quality film equipment.


The student-operated radio station, WMUA, is a federally licensed, non-commercial broadcast facility serving the Connecticut River Valley of western Massachusetts, northern Connecticut, and southern Vermont. Although the station is managed by full-time undergraduate students of the University of Massachusetts, station members can consist of various members of the University (undergraduate and graduate students, faculty and staff), as well as people of the surrounding communities. WMUA began as an AM station in 1949, and today broadcasts music, news, sports, and public affairs programming. The station is located in the basement of the Lincoln Campus Center.


UMass Minutemen logo

UMass is a member of Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). The university is a member of the Atlantic Ten Conference, while playing ice hockey in the Hockey East Association. For football, UMass competes in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA), a conference of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision (FCS; known as Division I-AA before the 2006 season). UMass originally was known as the Aggies, later the Statesmen, then the Redmen, before changing their logo and nickname to the Minutemen. In a response to changing attitudes regarding the use of Native American-themed mascots, they changed their mascot in 1972 to the Minuteman. This has been lauded by many in the NCAA as being one of the greatest name changes due to the "minuteman" relationship with Massachusetts and its historical context.[citation needed] Women's teams and athletes are known as Minutewomen. UMass considers Boston College, the University of New Hampshire, and the University of Connecticut as their biggest rivals.

The UMass Amherst Department of Athletics currently sponsors Men's Intercollegiate Baseball, Basketball, Cross Country, Ice Hockey, Football, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming and Track & Field. They also sponsor Women's Intercollegiate Basketball, Softball, Cross Country, Rowing, Lacrosse, Soccer, Swimming, Field Hockey, Track & Field and Tennis. Among Club Sports offered are Men's Varsity Wrestling, Men's Rowing, Men's Rugby, Women's Rugby and Men's And Women's Bicycle Racing. Men's and Women's Skiing are expected to be re-certified as Club Sports as of the 2009-2010 winter season following the April 2, 2009 announcement of their discontinuation as varsity sports.[34]

Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium at UMass Amherst.

Fight song: "Fight Mass"

The legendary UMass band director, Captain Edwin Sumner, wrote the march in the Spring of 1930.[35]

Fight, fight Massachusetts,
Fight, fight every play,
Fight, fight for a touchdown,
Fight all your might today.

Fight down the field Massachusetts,
The stars and the stripes will gleam,
Fight, Fight for old Bay State,
Fight for the team, team, team.

Notable faculty


There are 220,000 University of Massachusetts alumni worldwide.[36] UMass Amherst graduates include Nobel and Pulitzer prize winners, as well as Grammy, Emmy, and Academy Award winners. Well-known UMass Amherst alumni include, Bill Pullman, Bill Cosby, Natalie Cole, Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Rick Pitino, Betty Shabazz, and Jack Welch.

Alumni Association

The slogan of the Alumni Association, "You were. You are. UMASS."[37] The University is campaigning[38] to get Alumni to purchase specialty Massachusetts license plates with the UMass Amherst logo. The proceeds from sales of the plates would go to help fund student scholarships. The University Alumni Association operates out of Memorial Hall.

UMass Amherst in the media

UMass Amherst team of scientists create "Nano Nose"

A team of scientists at UMass, led by Vincent Rotello, have developed a molecular nose that can detect and identify various proteins. The research appeared in the May 2007 issue of Nature Nanotechnology, and the team is currently focusing on sensors which will detect the malformed proteins made by cancer cells.[39]

UMass Amherst team create fire-safe plastic

UMass Amherst scientists Richard Farris, Todd Emrick, and Bryan Coughlin lead the research team that has developed a synthetic polymer that doesn't burn. This polymer is a building block of plastic, and the new flame-retardant plastics won't need to have flame-retarding chemicals added to their composition. These chemicals have recently been found in many different areas from homes and offices to fish, and there are environmental and health concerns regarding the additives. The newly developed polymers would not require the addition of these potentially hazardous chemicals. Coughlin, one of the research team leaders, notes that this is "really a two-birds-with-one-stone approach for a new polymer. It is extremely fire-safe and does not contain halogenated additives, which are known to be environmentally hazardous."[40]

Campus activism

UMass Amherst has a history of protest and activism among the undergraduate and graduate population. It has been the site of many sit-ins, and protests, often led by the Radical Student Union and its successor movements, Take Back UMass, among others. Students at UMass have received press for their activism, including numerous rallies against the Vietnam War, South African Apartheid, the Persian Gulf War, the WTO, and the Iraq War, along with a large vigil for the victims of the September 11th Attacks. There have also been numerous protests regarding campus-related issues, including opposition to the ending of affirmative action at UMass in 2000, to the imposition of a Student and Exchange Visitor Information System Fee in 2003-2004, and protesting tuition and fee hikes in 2007 that make the university the second most expensive for in-state students (behind the University of Vermont).

Andrew Card protest

On May 25, 2007, a large protest was held during the University of Massachusetts at Amherst Graduate Commencement where Andrew Card received an honorary degree. The protest was picked up and broadcast by MSNBC, as well as receiving a writeup by the Associated Press stating that small groups of students and faculty booed and held up signs while Andrew Card was given his honorary doctorate in public service. Due to the protests, Card chose not to speak and Provost Charlena Seymour's comments regarding the award were drowned out by the people involved in the protest.[41]

The commencement protest followed two demonstrations on campus on May 8 and May 15, 2007 with regards to the honorary degree.[42] Card was also protested earlier in the year when he came to UMass to give a lecture entitled "The American Political Landscape: Looking Towards 2008" on April 11, 2007. The Radical Student Union and the Graduate Student Senate organized protests which included a "die-in," where students fell prone with fake blood spattered on their clothes, as well as protest signs and the unfurling of a very large protest banner.[43]

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^
  4. ^ Carnegie Foundation
  5. ^
  6. ^ Frank Prentice Rand, Yesterdays at Massachusetts State College, (Amherst: The Associate Alumni of Massachusetts State College, 1933) pp. 17-19.
  7. ^ Rand, p. 21.
  8. ^ Rand, p. 147
  9. ^ Port, SJ (September 19, 2003). "Amherst is now legally the flagship of UMass system". The Daily Collegian. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  10. ^ Parking Services
  11. ^ "Incoming Class of 4,100 Students at UMass Amherst Carries Impressive Academic Credentials". UMass Amherst. August 21, 2008. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  12. ^ Umass amherst fast facts
  13. ^ [1]
  14. ^
  15. ^ "National Universities Rankings". U.S. News and World Report. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  16. ^ UMass Amherst computer science rankings
  17. ^ [2]
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^ "UMass Amherst Isenberg School's MBA Program Earns Four Top Ten National Rankings from Princeton Review". University of Massachusetts. October 13, 2006. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  21. ^
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^ "W.E.B. Du Bois Library". Emporis. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  25. ^ Letzler, B (November 30, 2006). "Colleges' moves to shake up libraries speak volumes". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Special collections and university archives (SCUA)". UMass Amherst. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  27. ^ "UMass Amherst Learning Commons". UMass Amherst. Retrieved December 11, 2009. 
  28. ^
  29. ^ [3] [
  30. ^ Microsoft IT Showcase School
  31. ^ Campus Alerts - University of Massachusetts Amherst
  32. ^
  33. ^ Holly Angelo, The Republican. ""Facilities and Campus Planning UMass Buys 5 Houses"". "UMass Buys 5 Houses". Retrieved 2007-04-24. 
  34. ^
  35. ^
  36. ^
  37. ^ UMass Amherst Alumni Association
  38. ^ Order Your UMass Amherst License Plates Today
  39. ^ UMass Amherst Scientists Create Nano Nose With Aim of Sniffing Out Diseased Cells, UMass Amherst, April 23, 2007.
  40. ^ UMass Amherst Scientists Create Fire-Safe Plastic, UMass Amherst, May 30, 2007.
  41. ^ Former Bush Aide Card Is Booed at UMass, Associated Press, May 26, 2007.
  42. ^ UMass speaks out: Students protest University's honorary degree decision, Michelle Osorio, Daily Collegian, May 11, 2007.
  43. ^ Lecture met with protest, Ibid, Daily Collegian, May 12, 2007.

External links


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