Board Unanimously Names Julie Chen to Succeed Moloney as UMass Lowell Chancellor

Dr. Julie Chen has served as UMass Lowell’s vice chancellor for research and innovation since 2016. (Courtesy photograph.)

Dr. Julie Chen, who has served as UMass Lowell’s vice chancellor for research and innovation since 2016, was named Monday to succeed Chancellor Jacquie Moloney.

UMass President Marty Meehan, a UMass Lowell alumnus and former UMass Lowell chancellor, recommended Chen to the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees.

“With her vast experience in all the areas that will determine the success of the university in the years ahead, and with her deep commitment to empowering students and communities through education and innovation, Dr. Chen is the right person at this moment to lead UMass Lowell,” Meehan said in a statement.

The vote of the board was unanimous.

The search for a new chancellor began in January with the appointment of a 10-member search committee, which held eight listening sessions attended by UMass Lowell students, faculty, staff and the public. The search firm of Isaacson Miller narrowed down the list from 127 prospective candidates to 42. The three finalists visited UMass Lowell last week.

Chen, who has been a member of the faculty since 1997, said she is looking forward to building on the strong foundation laid by Meehan and Moloney.

“A UMass Lowell degree is a demonstration of the academic excellence and hands-on learning our graduates carry with them as they advance their careers and communities and apply their knowledge to the challenges our society faces,” she said.

Derek Houle, UMass Lowell Student Trustee and a member of the Class of 2022, added “Students have expressed a great deal of support on behalf of Dr. Chen to me for her candidacy and are excited to see her lead the university in its next steps,” said. “I’m very glad this is the direction we are heading.”

As the chief research officer, Chen has overseen UMass Lowell’s nearly $95 million research enterprise, which also includes industry partnerships, technology transfer, startups and innovation, core research facilities and economic development programs.

Chen joined the UMass Lowell faculty in 1997 after six years as an assistant professor at Boston University. She was appointed vice provost for research in 2009 and promoted to vice chancellor in 2016 with an added external and outreach focus.

A strong advocate for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives, Chen also serves as the co-lead for the university’s Council on Social Justice and Inclusion.

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