Former EPA head McCarthy as UMass Boston chancellor?

With Chancellorship search under way, UMass Boston is considering – and fielding interest from – a range of candidates, including Dorchester native and former Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy.

As reported by MassLive, the UMass Boston graduate was an active candidate for the job in mid-March, along with another local name, MBTA fiscal and management control board chair Joseph Aiello.

A 15-member search committee is working with the firm Isaacson Miller to fill the seat left vacant when former chancellor J. Keith Motley stepped down in April 2017. Interim chancellor Barry Mills has been heading up the post since then. The roughly 17,000-student campus, beset with budget woes and in the midst of expansive construction, including UMass Boston’s first dormitories, launched the search last October.

The incoming chancellor will receive a six-figure salary and a campus operating budget of $436.1 million.

Finalists have not yet been announced, although the search committee met on April 24 to continue its discussions. A UMass spokesman, saying that things are is still in the confidential review stage, declined further comment after the meeting, MassLive reported.

McCarthy graduated from UMass Boston in 1976 with a bachelor of arts in anthropology, and later earned a master’s in environmental health engineering and planning and policy from Tufts University. She was attending UMass Boston in 1974 when the campus moved from its downtown location in Park Square to Columbia Point.

Born in Brighton, McCarthy grew up in Dorchester and said in a 2015 commencement address to the UMass graduating class: “UMass Boston is my family, figuratively and literally. My father went to Boston State before it became UMass Boston. My husband Ken and I met at UMass during a French class with Professor Rose Abenstern back in 1972.”

She served as President Obama’s environmental chief during his second term and is now working at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The chancellor search is taking place against the backdrop of controversy in the larger UMass system. A deal by which UMass Amherst would purchase Mount Ida College’s campus in Newton and also take on $55 to 70 million of its debt, sparked backlash when it was officially announced in April. State officials and the UMass Boston community expressed displeasure at what could be seen as prioritizing the five-university system’s flagship campus at the expense of the Columbia Point facility.

A State House hearing on the agreement is set for May 16 at noon in Room 428.

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