Moments after he secured the job with unanimous support, the incoming chancellor for UMass Amherst set his sights on working together with other universities to build up "the competitiveness of the commonwealth."
The University of Massachusetts system's trustees confirmed the selection of Javier Reyes as the next top leader at the flagship campus. UMass President Marty Meehan's recommended Reyes for the job on Wednesday.
"This is a pretty historic selection, and since the release went out yesterday, I've heard nothing but a buzz and excitement from folks who have reached out across the state, from the campus to alumni," said UMass trustee Jose Delgado.
Reyes, an economist who currently works as interim chancellor of the University of Illinois-Chicago, emerged as the top pick over the lone other finalist, Oklahoma State University College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology Dean Paul Tikalsky.
He will succeed Kumble Subbaswamy, who plans to retire at the end of June after more than a decade as UMass Amherst chancellor. A Meehan spokesperson said Reyes's official start date and salary have not yet been determined.
Subbaswamy said he was "excited" to welcome Reyes. "His prior experience at two land-grant flagships, his record of assembling and leading collaborative teams, his temperament, and his friendly personality all bode well for the continuation of UMass Amherst's progress and impact into the future," Subbbaswamy said.
After the vote, Reyes told trustees he hoped his smile was visible at the livestreamed meeting "because this is a very special day."
"This is something I want to continue to do — fuel innovation, economic mobility, diversity, equity ... to continue to attract and retain talent, to fuel the vibrant economy and the trajectory of the commonwealth," Reyes said. "That is my commitment to you."
Amanda Fernandez, CEO and founder of Latinos for Education, said the group was "thrilled" about Reyes.
"Seeing Latino leadership at the highest levels of education is an important signal to not only the Latino community, but to an ever-diverse student body that representation matters," Fernandez said.
Subbaswamy said he was "excited" to welcome Reyes. "His prior experience at two land-grant flagships, his record of assembling and leading collaborative teams, his temperament, and his friendly personality all bode well for the continuation of UMass Amherst's progress and impact into the future," Subbaswamy said.