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In the news: J. Keith Motley

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In the news: J. Keith Motley
J. Keith Motley COURTESY PHOTO

The University of Massachusetts announced the first residence hall at the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMass Boston) will be dedicated in honor of Chancellor Emeritus Dr. J. Keith Motley and former first lady Angela Motley. The Motleys were the driving force in expanding the university’s on-campus residential experience. Motley, the first Black chancellor in the history of UMass Boston, presided over unprecedented growth and rebuilding of the campus between 2007 and 2017.

Now serving as a distinguished professor in UMass Boston’s College of Management, he joined UMass Boston in 2003 as vice chancellor for student affairs, continuing to serve the university and its students in various capacities until his appointment to chancellor. As chancellor, he was a relentless champion for equity while leveraging his vast experience in educational leadership and administration to define and execute a strategic plan that prioritized elevating academic offerings and research initiatives, as well as overseeing a 25-year campus master plan. Angela Motley played a critical role during Dr. Motley’s tenure, supporting fundraising efforts and making service and student mentorship a hallmark of her time at the university.

University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan, who recommended this historic naming effort to the Board of Trustees, said, “The Motleys, Keith through his leadership and Angela through her dedicated volunteer work, left a lasting legacy at UMass Boston. The creation of UMass Boston’s first-ever student residence halls and dining complex had a special significance for Chancellor Motley, as this project, which was approved on his watch, brought together Keith’s commitment to students and student services, his belief that on-campus housing drives student success and his desire to see UMass Boston grow and bring together students from all walks of life and from every corner of the globe.”

Motley’s vision for the university included replacing and elevating much of the campus infrastructure and creating a two-building residential community for students on campus. That vision was realized when UMass Boston’s first residence/dining complex opened in 2018, a public-private partnership. The opening of the state-of-the-art facility, which houses more than 1,000 students, marked the first time in the university’s history that students would be able to live and learn on campus. The soon-to-be-named Dr. J. Keith and Angela Motley Hall provides housing for first-year students, flexible living and learning spaces, and a venue for fostering a stronger on-campus educational experience.

“My wife Angela and I are deeply honored by the recognition,” Motley said. “UMass Boston is a special university, a diverse and energetic hub for learning and opportunity, and the residence hall has added an important dimension to campus life while helping the university draw students from nearby and all over the globe. I’m grateful to President Meehan and the UMass Board of Trustees for emblazing Angela’s and my name on a building that symbolizes so much to me and means so much to the university.”