Moloney becomes first woman to lead UMass Lowell

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Jacquie Moloney, the first woman to run the University of Massachusetts Lowell in the school’s 121-year history, formally took office Thursday, when she was installed as chancellor.

Moloney was tapped over the summer to become head of the 17,000-student campus, part of the University of Massachusetts system overseen by Marty Meehan, a former UMass Lowell chancellor and congressman. Previously, Moloney served as executive vice chancellor under Meehan for eight years.

More than 1,000 people attended the ceremony at the school’s Tsongas Center Arena in downtown Lowell for Moloney, a 1975 graduate. The university posted a webpage showing more than $1 million in donations had been pledged to a scholarship fund in her name for students at the school.

As leader of the school’s executive management team, she presided over expansion and growth that pushed up its ranking among the nation’s top 200 research schools rated by U.S. News & World Report. She began her career as a social worker in Lowell and became director of the Indochinese Refugees Foundation in the city. One of nine children, she was the first in her family to earn a college degree, according to her official biography.

Since 2007, UMass Lowell’s revenue has doubled and a structural budget deficit has been eliminated, according to the school, which employs about 2,100 people. As a dean nearly 20 years ago, she was among the campus leaders in developing online learning programs which today offer 45 degree and certificate programs with 20,000 students and more than $40 million in annual revenue.

Moloney grew up in nearby Tewksbury, according to State House News Service, and now lives in Chelmsford.