Kentucky provost chosen to lead UMass Amherst
BOSTON—The University of Massachusetts announced Monday that a physicist who is provost at the University of Kentucky will be the new chancellor of its flagship Amherst campus.
UMass trustees voted unanimously for Kumble Subbaswamy, the choice of system president Robert Caret, who called him "a man who has devoted his life to pursuing excellence, to opening doors and to serving others."
"Dr. Subbaswamy is a proven academic leader who will guide the Amherst campus to new heights," Caret said in a statement announcing the vote. "I firmly believe that he has the experience, the vision, the intellect and the drive needed to move our flagship campus forward."
He said Subbaswamy, a native of India, will be a "great and knowledgeable leader" for students in "an increasingly global world.'
State Education Secretary Paul Reville said, "I am confident he brings just the right set of qualities to advance our goals for both the campus and the system as a whole."
Subbaswamy succeeds Robert Holub, who leaves at the end of the academic year after four years in the job. Holub is credited with increasing research grants, fundraising and undergraduate diversity and graduation rates, but he also faced criticism, including for a failed proposal to open a medical school in Springfield.
Subbaswamy said in a statement released by UMass that he accepts the job "with humility and gratitude."
"I look forward to the challenges ahead, knowing full well that the campus is strongly committed to fulfilling its promise and mission as the Commonwealth's public university flagship," he said. "I look forward to visiting Amherst soon and then to returning to work shoulder to shoulder with our very talented students, faculty and staff."
Subbaswamy has promoted life sciences-related economic development at Kentucky and at Indiana University, where he was dean of arts and sciences from 2000 to 2006. He also reformed the general curriculum at Kentucky, where he became provost in 2006, after teaching there 18 years in his earlier academic career. He also was dean of arts and sciences at the University of Miami, beginning in 1997.
He has a bachelor's degree from Bangalore University, a master's from Delhi University and a doctorate in physics from Indiana.
Subbaswamy was among four finalists recommended by an 18-member search committee that included students, faculty, graduates and trustees. He and other finalists visited the campus in Amherst, a two-hour drive west of Boston, as part of the search process.
Other finalists were Sona Karentz Andrews, a geographer and Massachusetts native who is vice chancellor for academic strategies in the Oregon University system; Susan Phillips, a vocational psychologist who is provost and vice president at the University of Albany; and Carlos Santiago, an economist and chief executive officer of the Hispanic College Fund in Washington.