UMASS Lowell Goes Division I – America East!

UMass Lowell Chancellor Mary Meehan had big new s to announce at a press conference and rally at the UML/Tsongas Center this morning. UMass Lowell is going Division I for all it men’s and women’s sports! Saying that it will be a challenge but a great step for the University, Meehan noted:

“This is about the academics of this institution,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. “This is about where we’ve been and where we’re going as an institution. You’re associated by those teams you play, and those universities that are a part of your league. And we belong in America East.”
You can also see Meehan’s Fox News interview from this morning -  Hit the arrow until you get to his 6-minutes interview with VB:
Meehan’s letter to alums (including me) was posted here earlier today –

New England Music Awards in Lowell on April 13

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The 2012 New England Music Awards event will take place at the Lowell Memorial Auditorium on Saturday, April 13, 2013. I confess to not being a aficionado of the local music scene but I’d like to be so this seems like a perfect chance to see and hear the best of our region. With the event being held right here in Lowell, there’s no excuse for missing it. For more info about the event and tickets, go to

Be My Valentine ~ A Massachusetts Woman’s Business

MassMoments tells us this morning that in 1849 – the first American-made Valentine cards were created and sold in Worcester, Massachusetts by Mt. Holyoke graduate Esther Howland. Modeled on the English-style Valentine, her fancy designs, embossed, cut and colored paper along with romantic sentiments and hidden messages soon grew into a thriving business. Miss Howland hired women as assemblers, advertised her product and finally moved beyond a home-based business into a downtown location. Because of Esther Howland and her entreprenurial skill –  Worcester was the “Valentine Capital of America” well into the 20th century.

On This Day...

      …in 1849, the first American-made valentines were sold in Worcester. They were designed and made by Esther Howland, the daughter of a local stationer. After graduating from Mt. Holyoke College, she returned to Worcester and began making valentines modeled on a fancy one she had received from an English friend. Her brother took the samples on a sales trip and came home with an astonishing $5,000 worth of orders. Howland began by hiring her friends to assemble the valentines; within a few years, she built her business into a $100,000 a year enterprise, a notable success for any entrepreneur but a truly remarkable accomplishment for a nineteenth-century woman.

Read the full MassMoments article here. And even more here:

 Esther Howland ~ Mother of the American Valentine 

For those who like statistics – it is estimated that 180 million valentine  cards are exchanged annually and that 85% of valentine cards are bought by women. While 73% of all flowers bought for St. Valentine’s Day are bought by men! Happy St. Valentine’s Day!

Legendary Locals of Lowell: Index (Part III)

Here’s the third installment of index entries from my forthcoming book, Legendary Locals of Lowell, which will be published on March 11, 2013.

Dutton Street Boarding House, 20
Early, Edward, 99
Edson, Theodore, 102
Eno Printing, 42
Eno, Arthur, 42
Eno, Arthur, 99
Eno, Camille, 42, 54, 107
Eno, Francis, 54
Eno, Leandre, 42
Father John’s Medicine, 38
Finneral, Scott, 92
Flather, Frederick A., 31
Fleming, Brendan, 99
Flood, John G. “Jack”, 86
Foley, Bob, 67
Foley, Joseph J., 51
Fox, Gustavus, 78
Francis, James Bicheno, 28
Geary, Michael, 48, 99
Gendreau, Arthur, 99
Gendron, Steve, 48, 99
Giavis, Vassilios “Bill”, 122
Gilman, Bob, 49
Gilmore, Fred, 69
Glasman, Norman, 51
Gleason, Fred, 64
Goddu, Lorenzo, 64
Gold Star Wives & Mothers, 92
Golden, Tim, 99
Golec, Pauline, 105
Goodwin, Catherine, 112
Gorman Family, 73
Grady, Frank, 70
Green, John, 105
Greenhalge, Frederic T., 59
Guzzi, Paul, 47
Harkins, Ken, 94
Hoare, William H., 96
Holt, Lester B., 64
Hood, Charles Ira, 37
Hosmer, Edward, 72
Howe, James, 89

UMass Lowell Athletics Rising to Division 1…Today

Here’s the full text of a message sent by UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan to the alumni:

Dear Alumni:
We have achieved so much on this campus in the past six years – record-breaking enrollment growth, pioneering research, shovels hitting the ground for seven new buildings and unprecedented student success.  I could not be prouder of all we have accomplished together and the foundation we have laid for the future of this great institution.
Today marks another historic milestone for the University of Massachusetts Lowell. I am pleased to announce that America East has invited our university to join its Division I athletic conference and – after receiving the unanimous endorsement of the Student Government Association and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and the support of President Robert Caret and the Board of Trustees – we have accepted.
Please join me, America East officials, our student athletes and the University community at a rally and official announcement Thursday, Feb. 14, at 11 a.m. at the Tsongas Center.
This move is testimony to the abilities and accomplishments of our student athletes, all of whom, except men’s ice hockey, compete at the Division II level, where they have enjoyed enormous success. But the decision to advance to Division I in all sports is not just about athletics. It is about who we are as an institution and where we are going.
Every single one of our peer institutions competes at the Division I level and, when we join America East on July 1, we will unite with other four-year research universities of similar size and mission.  All the eight public institutions in the conference, including ours, are ranked among the top-100 public universities in the country by U.S. News & World Report. Those include the universities of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, already our fellow members of Division I Hockey East.
When presidents and officials from America East visited campus, they didn’t want to only tour our athletic facilities and examine our record of athletic prowess. They also wanted to see the new innovation center where our world-class faculty members are doing research and the bricks being laid for a new student engagement center, health and social sciences building, and two new residence halls. They examined the reports on our student success rates. They witnessed first-hand the dramatic transformation taking place here. Just days after the visit, they voted to ask UMass Lowell to join their conference.
We appreciate the confidence that America East has shown in our institution. This was only possible because of the incredible progress everyone has helped us achieve over the last six years.
These are the metrics:

  • Three years ago, for the first time, UMass Lowell was named a top tier national university and has continued to rise in the U.S. News & World Report rankings annually.
  • Enrollment at the university has grown 40 percent, while diversity and academic credentials of students have risen dramatically. The average SAT score of entering freshmen is up 56 points.
  • Student success significantly increased, including freshmen retention and graduation rates. Students on athletic teams continue to graduate at a higher rate than those who are not.
  • The University has raised $77 million in gifts and pledges, increased its endowment from $37 million to $60 million, expanded annual funded research by 66 percent to $60 million and initialed 95 agreements with top universities in 40 countries around the world.
  • Infrastructure expansion, including the most advanced technology research facility north of Boston, is revitalizing the campus. Seven new buildings are coming on line, in addition to the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference and the Tsongas Center, and others are in the planning stages.
  • Our 75,000 graduates earn among the top mid-career and starting salaries in New England, according to, and the University has been recognized by the Carnegie Foundation and President Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for community and campus engagement.

This campus is rising in every way. Elevating Athletics is the next logical step.
We face some challenges, as we ask our Athletics program and our student athletes to step onto the premier stage of intercollegiate sports. We will ask a lot of them, as we do all of our students, and require them to meet the highest academic standards. But, that is not new. Of all our teams, the only one that competes in Division I, men’s ice hockey, has the highest grade point average among all men’s varsity sports. Our new conference shares that commitment to academic excellence. America East is third in the nation in athletic conferences in academic progress rate, behind only the Ivy and Patriot leagues.
Here are the Next Steps:
As part of our strategic plan, UMass Lowell 2020, our blueprint for progress in all areas, the University began an assessment of the intercollegiate athletics program last spring.  As a result of that review, the Athletics Committee recommended that UMass Lowell “begin aligning with its peer institutions and reclassify its Athletics Program to NCAA Division I.” The goal was to affiliate with other institutions that offered broad-based academic and athletics programs, excellent athletic facilities and the right geographic fit.
We didn’t expect the process to move quite as quickly as it did, but when the opportunity arose in America East, we realized we had found that match.
UMass Lowell will begin competing in 14 sports in Division I in the 2013-14 academic year, but will not be eligible for postseason play while it completes the four-year NCAA reclassification from Division II to Division I. The River Hawks will be full Division I members of America East in 2017-18.  UMass Lowell Hockey – currently ranked 14th in the country – will continue to compete in the prestigious Hockey East Conference.
With the exception of the Division I men’s ice hockey team, UMass Lowell has been a member of NCAA Division II since 1975 and a member of the Northeast-10 Conference since 2000. In the last 13 years, the River Hawks have made 104 NCAA post-season appearances, won two team national championships, had two individual national championships and a pair of national players of the year, one Olympian, won 59 conference championships, and had 214 All-Americans and 32 Academic All-Americans.
As a full member of America East, UMass Lowell, will join, in addition to Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, the University at Albany, Binghamton University, University of Hartford, University of Maryland Baltimore County and Stony Brook University. In addition, Fairfield University and Providence College are associate members of America East in field hockey and volleyball, respectively. Boston University will depart America East for the Patriot League after this academic year.
We knew we were in the same league as these other renowned institutions of higher education in so many ways. Now, we will join them on the playing fields as well.
Please join me tomorrow in celebrating this momentous achievement.
Sincerely, Marty Meehan              Marty Meehan              Chancellor