Governor Deval Patrick today joined state education, legislative, business and campus leaders to celebrate the opening of the new Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center (ETIC) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UMASS Lowell). This project, funded through the Patrick-Murray Administration's capital plan, delivers on the Governor's commitment to building an affordable world-class system of public higher education in Massachusetts.
This new $80 million research and development facility houses cutting edge programs in nanomedicine, nanomanufacturing, plastic and elastomers, clean room technology and biomaterials development. The ETIC project created 130 construction jobs throughout its duration and now that it is complete, will benefit not only UMass Lowell students and faculty, but the entire region and its employers.
"Providing access to quality, affordable higher education is about giving all of our students the opportunity to succeed," said Governor Patrick. "Education is Massachusetts' calling card around the world and central to our competitiveness in the global economy. We invest in education, and in projects like this one, because we believe that it is the single most important investment government can make in our collective future."
"Investing in institutions of higher education leads to long-term job creation, and has a multiplying effect on the community as a whole," said Congresswoman Niki Tsongas. "Not only will this center attract more talent to this district, it will attract leading faculty, which will benefit the students at UMass Lowell, leading to richer experiences and a greater potential for success in the future. This center is poised to conduct groundbreaking research that could transform our understanding of science, energy and medicine, create jobs, and provide our troops with state-of-the-art resources they need for our defense. I have always been a strong supporter of UMass Lowell, a world-class leader in advanced manufacturing and the ETIC will take this institution to the next level."
"This new facility, and the investment behind it, represents our confidence in the leadership, faculty and, most importantly, students that make up our public higher education system," said Education Secretary Paul Reville. "I want to congratulate UMass Lowell on this beautiful new building and look forward to all of the good things that will come out of this campus as a result of it."
Last week, Governor Patrick announced over $1 billion in capital funding over five years for public colleges and universities across the Commonwealth, including $25 million for a new Management Building at UMass Lowell's Manning School of Business (MSB). These investments will advance high-quality instructional and research facility projects throughout the state's public higher education system so that the Commonwealth can compete and thrive in a 21st century knowledge-based economy. This funding includes $607 million for the UMass system, nearly $300 million for community colleges and $259 million for state universities to give public campuses the resources they need to provide relevant, affordable educational and career-focused training programs that prepare students of all ages for both the local job market and further academic study.
In addition to capital funding announced last week, Governor Patrick also awarded $2.5 million in Performance Incentive Fund grants (PIF) to the UMass campuses and state universities and $4 million in grants to our community colleges. These grants will help support new and existing programs at campuses to improve college readiness and attendance of high school graduates, as well as college graduation and student success rates. Grants will also be used to expand programs linked to the state's future workforce needs by preparing students for jobs in high-demand fields.
In 2009, the Administration awarded UMass Lowell $40 million in capital funding for the University's South Academic Building, the first new academic building constructed at UMass Lowell in more than 30 years. That 63,000 square foot building now provides general classroom space, state-of-the-art teaching spaces and faculty offices for the departments of Criminal Justice, Nursing and Psychology.
"Today, with the opening of the Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, we step into the future, carrying forward UMass Lowell's rich history as a pioneer and leader in advanced technology," said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. "Students, faculty researchers and private-sector partners who work here will be planting the seeds of the next industrial revolution, fueling the state's innovation economy in ways we can only yet imagine. We are grateful for the support Governor Patrick, federal, state and local officials, industry leaders and UMass Lowell alumni whose vision has made this day and this beautiful new building a reality."
"The ETIC represents the direction we should be going in higher education," said Senator Eileen Donoghue. "We want our universities to be responsive to the needs of our industries and this center does exactly that. UMass Lowell is collaborating with our advanced manufacturing industry and setting a great example for our system of higher education."
These capital investments are funded through a $2.2 billion higher education bond bill proposed by the Governor and approved by the Legislature in 2008. In FY13, the Commonwealth's capital investment in higher education will be more than three times the total amount invested in FY07, when Governor Patrick took office.
To learn more about the Patrick-Murray Administration's investments in education, visit http://www.mass.gov/governor/agenda/education/.