UMass Amherst: The Magazine for Alumni and Friends

Fall 2008

The First 100 Days
In step with the 11th chancellor of the Amherst campus, Robert C. Holub
By Carol Connare Cambo

In August, the Holub family took up residence in Hillside House. From the left: Natalie Rae, 20 months; Sabine, Shoshana, 5, Marilyn Holub (Chancellor Holub’s mom), Robert, and Madelaine, 7. After they finished unpacking, they helped students and parents do the same, making the rounds during move-in days and First Week activities in September.

Holub instituted the Chancellor’s “In The Field” Recognition Award recognizing outstanding alumni, students, and faculty for their support and contribution to campus. During homecoming weekend football game, PhD candidates supported by Eugene M. Isenberg, alumnus of the School of Management, and CEO of Nabors Industries, Inc. and his wife, Ronnie, took the field. From the left: Eugene and Ronnie Isenberg; Chancellor Holub; Shilpi Sanghi, polymer science and engineering; Nikhil Malvankar, physics; Andrea Gomez-Escudero, chemistry; Damla Koylu, polymer science and engineering; and Abigail Guce, chemistry.

chancellor holub and eugene isenberg
chancellor holub with students sam minuteman

At the men’s football season opener at Alumni Stadium against Albany, the chancellor rooted for the home team with help from the cheerleading squad and Sam the Minuteman.

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On September 20, Chancellor Holub hosted the gala opening of the new Studio Arts Building and the installation of the colorful sculpture “Leaves, Sky, Water,” created and donated by world-renowned artist Shan Shan Sheng ’87G.

chancellor holub

In mid-September, Chancellor Holub presided over convocation. In his first formal address to the faculty, Holub unveiled an ambitious blueprint to propel UMass Amherst—currently listed 102nd among national universities in the latest US News & World Report rankings—into the “upper echelon of national public universities.” He outlined an aggressive agenda, calling for renewed efforts in fundraising, marketing, renovating facilities, and attracting top graduate students.

Throughout his first months in office, Holub met many alumni at area receptions, including one at the UMass Club in downtown Boston where he told a full house, “My feeling is that we are living at a very special moment for UMass Amherst, and that we have the opportunity to take the campus to another level if we all pitch in and help.”

By mid-October, Chancellor Holub faced tough budget challenges when the global fi nancial crisis hit home in the form of Governor Deval Patrick’s announcing a mid-year statewide budget cut of five percent, resulting in a loss of about $12 million from the campus’s budget. Holub announced one-time cuts and a hiring freeze to address the immediate fiscal realities.

Even as he prepared the campus to deal with the downturn, he remained steadfast in his vision for elevating the campus. In an open letter to the UMass Amherst community in the wake of the budget news, Holub reaffirmed his belief that “together we can deal with this circumstance and preserve the quality of UMass Amherst…and still take the steps necessary to become one of our nation’s very best research universities.”


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The First 100 Days
In step with the 11th chancellor of the Amherst campus, Robert C. Holub
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