New chancellor

Medical alumnus picked to lead UMass-Boston

Dr. Michael F. Collins, M81, clinical professor at Tufts School of Medicine, has been appointed chancellor of the University of Massachusetts at Boston, which has 12,500 students. He succeeds Jo Ann Gora, now president of Ball State University.

Dr. Michael F. Collins © The Boston Globe, 2005

From 1994 to 2004, Collins was president and chief executive of Caritas Christi, the six-hospital health-care system of the Archdiocese of Boston. He is also the former president of St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, one of the affiliated hospitals of Tufts’ medical school.

“Michael Collins is a person who has had extraordinary experience and success in leading nonprofit, community-based institutions,” said University of Massachusetts President Jack Wilson.

Collins said leading a university has been his life’s dream. “It has been my goal to serve in a position that matters at a place that matters, and that objective will certainly be fulfilled at UMass-Boston,” he said.

A 1981 graduate of Tufts School of Medicine, Collins has taught at the medical school for 20 years and is the school’s former associate dean for government and medical affairs. He is also a senior fellow of the University College for Citizenship and Public Service, where he worked to develop strategies to enrich active citizenship initiatives at the medical school.

He also used his expertise in the business of health care as a senior medical school faculty member, presenting lectures on the organization and financing of the health care system and the challenges faced by physician-executives to students in the medical school’s M.D./MBA in health management program.

Collins has served as a member of the medical school’s Executive Council, the group of senior faculty and administrators who advise the dean, and is chair of the Board of Trustees of the College of the Holy Cross, his undergraduate alma mater.

At UMass-Boston, Collins faces a number of challenges, including the failing infrastructure beneath the campus on Dorchester Bay to the fallout from recent budget cuts, including a smaller faculty and higher student charges. Collins said he plans to create a professional fund-raising arm on campus and will strengthen ties with alumni. In his first major personnel move, Collins recently hired Darrell C. Byers, vice president of development of Caritas Norwood Hospital, as UMass-Boston’s new vice chancellor for institutional advancement in charge of fund-raising and alumni relations.

“I find the urban mission very compelling,” he told the Boston Globe. “I recognize the richness of the diversity on campus, and I don’t see dissonance between the goals of excellence and access,” said Collins, noting he hopes to increase total sponsored research on campus beyond the current $50 million goal.

Collins was among more than 75 candidates considered for the post.