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Clinical Professor Picked To Lead UMass Boston

Clinical Professor Picked To Lead UMass BostonA clinical professor of internal medicine at Tufts who is also a Tufts graduate has been chosen as the new chancellor of the state university system's Boston campus.

Boston [05.31.05] Michael Collins, a graduate of the Tufts School of Medicine and a clinical professor of internal medicine there as well as former CEO of Caritas Christi Health Care System, has been confirmed by the University of Massachusetts board of trustees to become the new chancellor of the UMass-Boston campus in Dorchester.

"It has been my goal to serve in a position that matters at a place that matters and that objective will certainly be fulfilled at UMass-Boston," the 49-year-old Collins – who was one of three finalists for the position – told the Associated Press.

"Michael Collins is the right leader at the right time," said UMass board chairman James Karam in a statement. "He has the blend of skill and experience that we need for this position."

Calling his selection a "life's dream," according to the AP, he expressed excitement about coming to UMass-Boston.

"To me, it's a place where expectations are exceeded every day," he told the Boston Herald.

UMass President Jack Wilson hailed Collins – who has taught at Tufts since1986 and ran Caritas from 1994 until last spring – as a "superb leader and seasoned manager."

"Michael Collins is a person who has had extraordinary experience and success in leading nonprofit, community-based institutions," Wilson told the AP.

Collins' experience running Caritas is expected to prove valuable in terms of building connections with the community and alumni, boosting funding for research and coping with state budget cuts.

"He's shown the ability to manage all the different pieces," Wilson told The Boston Globe. "There's no substitute for long experience."

In an editorial praising the selection of Collins, the Herald wrote that "smart, caring people like Collins have some rather readily transferable job skills.

"[T]hiswas always about who can best lead [UMass-Boston] through its myriad problems – crumbling buildings, dwindling budgets and rising expections. Collins has the experience to do that – and a much-needed fresh pair of eyes," the editorial continued.

Prior to his selection by Wilson, a member of the chancellor search committee praised Collins.

"He knows people and he's very connected," UMass-Boston education professor Denise Patmon told the Globe in April. "He's a strong public communicator. He's committed to process, but not afraid to make difficult decisions. And he's a gifted fundraiser who's raised millions of dollars."

UMass-Boston has more than 12,000 students, many of whom are low-income residents and non traditional students such as working adults and immigrants, and is known for its urban outreach programs and educational initiatives.

"I find the urban mission very compelling," the Tufts graduate and professor told the Globe. "I recognize the richness of the diversity on campus, and I don't see dissonance between the goals of excellence and access."

Many faculty members say they are looking forward to working with Collins on evolving that mission.

"[Collins] has some strengths we really need right now, and he's well-placed to move in quickly and build the resources we need," UMass-Boston psychology professor chairwoman Celia Moore told the Globe.

The previous UMass-Boston chancellor served for nearly three years before leaving for another opportunity. Collins aims to settle in for a longer period.

"One of the big reasons I wanted the job was because I wanted to stay [in Boston]," he told the Globe. "I think it's going to be a terrific relationship, and I can guarantee I'm not thinking about leaving."

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