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Motley updates campus story for Dot neighbors

UMass-Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley hosted a community dinner for about 20 civic and political Dorchester leaders last week, and he used the occasion to brief his neighbors on the status of the university community.

At the meeting in the Chancellor’s on-campus meeting room in the Quinn Building, Dr. Motley painted a picture of a growing and involved public university on the shores of Dorchester Bay. Among the statistics:

• Enrollment at UMass-Boston is growing at a rate of 27 percent over the past five years, In the fall of 2004, there were 11,682 students; in the fall of 2008, that number had increased to 14,117. Today, 14,912 students are enrolled on campus, he said.
• There has been a 75 percent increase in the number of entering freshmen over those years; the number of entering transfer students has increased by 47 percent.
• In the current year, there are 987 freshmen students from Boston neighborhoods.  The number of Boston resident freshmen applicants has grown from 1,034 in 2007 to 1,206 this year. An additional 553 Boston students have transferred to the campus this year, and the total number of Boston transfer students is 1,756.
• The university’s financial aid and scholarships to Boston residents currently amount to $1.9 million. In nine years, Boston students have received almost $11 million in such financial aid.
• There are 4,768 current Dorchester residents with ties to the University. Of that number, 206 are members of the faculty and staff, and 1,285 current students have a current “mailing address in Dorchester. Additionally, 2,081 Dot residents are counted as alumni.
Motley shared some information about the progress of the university’s long-range plans for the campus. The next building project is an Integrated Sciences Complex (ISC,) a 200,000 square-foot building described as an “interdisciplinary facility,”  with research labs for biology, chemistry, physics, environmental and earth sciences, and psychology. Plans include biology teaching labs, animal care and behavioral observation facilities, and centers for developmental sciences and personalized cancer therapy.

UMass-Boston currently receives some $50 million in research grants, and Motley told the group he has expectations that amount will soon grow to $100 million.

He minimized any plans for future construction of on-campus students residences, saying that significant numbers already reside in private housing adjacent to the campus on the Columbia Point peninsula.
– Ed Forry