Meehan sees UMass law accreditation ‘within the next year’

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Written by Colin A. Young

STATE HOUSE — The University of Massachusetts School of Law should receive accreditation from the American Bar Association “within the next year,” UMass President Martin Meehan said during a Sunday talk show appearance in which he laid out some of his Beacon Hill priorities.

The public law school, which is part of UMass-Dartmouth, was created in 2010 and has been operating with provisional accreditation from the ABA since 2012.

“The law school is on track to get ADA accreditation. There’s been a commitment made to UMass to have a public law school, the only public law school, obviously, in the state,” Meehan said on WCVB-TV’s “On the Record” program. “Something that I’m going to make a priority is to make sure that A) we get accredited and B) look for a way to develop a business plan that works.”

In 2012, UMass said it had spent $15 million — $6.4 million in fiscal 2011 and $8.6 million in fiscal 2012 –to obtain provisional accreditation for the former Southern New England School of Law.

Meehan, a former congressman whose fundraising prowess was touted when he became UMass president in July, also said he has set a goal of pushing the UMass endowment past the $1 billion mark in the coming years.

“I want to see our endowment over the next few years go over $1 billion … over the next three to four years,” he said. “I’d also like to provide more scholarship money for our students and I’m going to continue to fight as hard as I can to try to get more state money and to look for more efficiency.”

Last week, UMass announced it had attracted $129.5 million in new gifts and commitments last fiscal year and another $98.6 million in cash gifts, a record fundraising haul, officials said. The UMass endowment currently sits at $768 million, Meehan said.