Jack M. Wilson  Ph.D.,                                                                                             <HOME>

President Emeritus The University of Massachusetts and

   Distinguished Professor of Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, and Innovation
   The University of Massachusetts Lowell
       email id: jwilson address: umassp . edu          


President Emeritus

  The University of Massachusetts and

  Distinguished Professor of Higher
     Education, Emerging Technologies,
     and Innovation
   The University of Massachusetts Lowell

  • Formerly:

  • President
    The University of Massachusetts 2003-2011

  • President
    The Edward M Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate 2011-2013

  • Vice President for Academic
       and Student Affairs,
    University of Massachusetts

  • CEO of UMassOnline

  • Chairman-Founder,
    LearnLinc Corp.  

  • Chief Scientist,  Mentergy Corp.

Former Rensselaer Positions

  • J. Erik Jonsson
    Distinguished Professor
    of Physics, Engineering Science, Information Technology, and Management

  • Co-Director
    Severino Center for 
    Technological Entrepreneurship

    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

  • Provost (interim)

  • Dean of Faculty

  • Dean of the Undergraduate

  • Dean of Professional and
                Distance Education

  • Founding Director of the
                Anderson Center

Dr. Jack M Wilson is serving as President Emeritus of  The University of Massachusetts and as the Distinguished Professor of Higher Education, Emerging Technologies, and Innovation at The University of Massachusetts Lowell.  During the academic year 2012-2013 he served as the interim Dean of Engineering.


Dr. Wilson served as the 25th President of the University of Massachusetts system from September of 2003 until July of 2011.  Prior to that he had been serving as the Vice President for Academic Affairs of the University of Massachusetts System and is the founding Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of UMassOnline,  the University of Massachusetts Virtual University.  As Vice President he was responsible for the coordination of the academic programs in research and teaching throughout the five campus system. As CEO of UMassOnline he worked with the five physical campuses, Amherst, Lowell, Boston, Worcester, and Dartmouth to provide online access to the programs of the University of Massachusetts.  UMassOnline is headquartered at 225 Franklin Street  in Boston.


Dr. Wilson took office following two years of serious state budget cuts that had reduced the state appropriation by approximately $150 million, and at a time when the relationships to the Governor and Legislature were in need of attention.  In the face of these serious challenges, the University embarked upon a program to close the budget gap, rebuild our finances, increase financial aid to students, grow research, build endowment,  increase our support from the business community, and enhance our global opportunities for students and faculty.  In order to emphasize the critical role that the University plays in the Commonwealth, he would often assert that:


"The path to economic and social development in Massachusetts goes through the University of Massachusetts."


The economic and social development of the Commonwealth indeed does depend upon the University's teaching, research, and service.  With 60,000 student on five campuses, 28,000 enrollments in UMassOnline, and over 10,000 students graduated into the workforce each year, the University of Massachusetts provides the large scale opportunity for students and employers.  These students change the world in countless ways.  With over $400 million in annual research expenditures, we are right behind MIT and Harvard in external funding for research.  Our $41.4 million in revenue from our research commercialization means that we continue to rank either 1st or 2nd to MIT with Harvard right behind for the last few years.  Our $2.4 Billion budget in 2007 is seeded with just under $500 million from the Commonwealth -up from $326 million in mid 2003.


Since 2003, the University has balanced our budget, doubled our research, obtained four of the major National Science Foundation ERC or MSP programs (our first), more than doubled the endowment, closed the budget gap without reducing student opportunities, held fee increases to under the cost of living, increased internal allocations to financial aid over 7 times, and made great strides in hiring new faculty members.  In 2006, Craig Mello, a Professor at the UMass Medical School won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, and thereby demonstrated just how outstanding the faculty and research are at the University.  Extensive global programs have been launched with China, Germany, South Africa, India, Portuguese speaking countries, and many others.


One of Dr. Wilson's first actions was to completely restructure the UMass Building Authority in anticipation of efforts to rebuild the infrastructure of the University.  While we worked hard to increase capital funding from the state, we knew that we would have to do most of this work ourselves.  In the last five years, we have accomplished over $1.6 Billion in capital projects with only about 20% of that coming from the state.    This includes the first dormitories built in Amherst in the last 30 years.  Dorms, power plants, research buildings, classroom buildings, and athletic facilities have all been built in recent years.  At the Board meeting in the fall of 2007, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees approved a $2.9 Billion capital plan to guide the University over the coming decade.

He served on the Boards of the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council (MassTLC), the Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education organization (MCLE), the John Adams Innovation Institute, and the New England Council.  He presently serves on the national Board of Directors of the Alliance for Research in Science and Technology for America (ASTRA) and is a member of the national Council on Competitiveness.

He served as the Co-Chair (with Blenda Wilson, CEO of NellieMae) of the Massachusetts Great Schools Initiative Math and Science Task Force in 2005.

In 2005 the Mass High Tech Magazine designated him as a 2005 Massachusetts All Star.  In 2005 the Massachusetts Network Communication Council honored him for his long term contribution to the industry. On behalf of the University he accepted the 2004 Massachusetts Alliance for Economic Development: Statewide Strategic Asset award. 

He became the interim President on September 2003 and was named the next President in March of 2004, following a seven month long national search.

Formerly, Dr Wilson was the J. Erik Jonsson '22 Distinguished Professor of Physics, Engineering Science, Information Technology, and Management and the Co-director of the Severino Center for Technological Entrepreneurship at Rensselaer.  After coming to Rensselaer in 1990, he served as the 

  • Dean of Undergraduate Education, 

  • Dean of Professional and Continuing Education, 

  • Interim Provost, 

  • Interim Dean of Faculty, and as the 

  • Founding Director of the Anderson Center for Innovation in Undergraduate Education.  

In these roles, Wilson led a campus wide process of interactive learning and restructuring of the educational program, known for the design of the Studio Classrooms, the growth of the Distributed Learning Program, the creation of the Faculty of Information Technology, and the initiation of the student mobile computing (universal networked laptop) initiative.  These programs led to a number of national awards listed below.

Dr. Wilson, also known as an entrepreneur, was the Founder (along with Degerhan Usluel and Mark Bernstein), first President, and only Chairman of LearnLinc Corporation (now Mentergy), a supplier of software systems for corporate training to Fortune 1000 Corporations.   (The LearnLinc Story).

He has served as a consultant to many computing and communications firms including IBM, AT&T, Lucent, Hewlett Packard. Dr. Wilson served as one of 16 International Consulting Scholars for the IBM Corporation. 

Wilson has authored over 55 scholarly articles, wrote or edited five books, and given over 200 invited lectures. He has enjoyed over $23 million in funding for his research and scholarly activities. Research interests include innovation, knowledge management, the Learning Corporation, eLearning, and the value chain of technological entrepreneurship from research to new ventures.

Before coming to Rensselaer, Wilson was a Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland and served a for 8 years (82-90) as the Executive Officer of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and on the Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics (AIP) from 1983-1991. He also served on the Executive Committee of AIP for most of that time. He was one of the founders of the American Team in the International Physics Olympiad and of the Physics Teaching Resource Agents (PTRA) program.  He is presently serving as Chair-Elect of the American Physical Society Forum on Physics Education.

His 35 year career as a Professor has included terms as Department Chair, four Dean's positions, Director of a Research Center, and acting Provost. His early research focused on the physics of liquid crystals and on applications of the Mössbauer Effect. 

He led a team of computing and cognitive scientists from Rensselaer, Bell Laboratories, and AT&T in developing the first Interactive Multimedia Distance Learning Environment. This experience led him to found Interactive Learning International (ILINC) in 1994 to create and provide tools for network based interactive Corporate Training. 

Wilson is a fellow of the American Physical Society and was awarded the Distinguished Service Citation from the American Association of Physics Teachers. He served as the Chair of the American Physical Society Forum on Education during 2001-2002.

His recent awards include:

  • Fellow of the American Physical Society, 1998.

  • Excellence in Education Award from Bell Atlantic, 1997.

  • Pew Charitable Trust Award for Outstanding Achievement in Undergraduate Education, 1996.

  • Theodore Hesburgh Award for Innovation in Undergraduate Education from TIAA/CREF, 1995.
    Awarded at the Annual Meeting of the American Council on Education, presented by TIAA/CREF and Secretary of Education Richard Riley. Speaker: President William Clinton.

  • Boeing Outstanding Educator Award: Top national award presented by Boeing, 1995.

  • Outstanding Civilian Service Medal, United States Army, for service to the Army Education program, 2001.

  • Distinguished Service Citation, Am. Association of Physics Teachers, 1995