Chancellor Meehan’s Inauguration Ceremony – April 4, 2008 – Members of Congress Niki Tsongas, Edward Markey and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chancellor Marty Meehan, Governor Deval Patrick and Fr. Nicholas Sannella
With full credit to Globe senior writer Frank Phillips, here’s his latest story on the Political Intelligence page of Boston.com. He and Marty Meehan are longtime friends – so it’s not surprising that Phillips has this “political jab to Governor Patrick” story.
UMass-Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan is sending Governor Deval Patrick a none-too-subtle message after his fellow Democrat quashed the former congressman’s bid to become president of the entire University of Massachusetts system.
Meehan is planning to give an honorary degree this spring to Robert Manning, who quit as chairman of the UMass board of trustees late last year amid what he saw as meddling by Patrick in the presidential search.
The award was confirmed by a high-level university official; a UMass-Lowell spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment.
Manning is a UMass-Lowell grad who has gone on to run one of the country’s biggest financial services firms, Boston-based MFS Investment Management.
While he and his wife have no children, they have contributed and been devoted to the UMass system in general and UMass-Lowell in particular, leading to Manning’s role atop the system’s governing board of trustees.
Manning also was working with fellow Trustee James Karam to oversee the search to replace UMass President Jack Wilson. That search was trending toward Meehan, who members of the search committee made the strongest presentation among a group of semifinalists, before the governor and his top aides began to weigh in.
Patrick spoke generally of the need for diversity among the field of candidates, to conduct a search that not only looks but is open, and that would result in a pick with “broad wings” academically.
Meehan got the message, withdrew from the search after his name leaked, and went back to Lowell, where he has run his own alma mater since resigning from Congress in 2007.
Manning announced his board resignation a week later.
The university ended up hiring Robert Caret, president of Towson University in Maryland.
As Marty sits on a tidy sum of campaign dollars only eligible for use in a federal race, one wonders if there are more Marty-messages to be heard. Stay tuned.
This story was posted by Glen Johnson here on the Globe “Political Intelligence” page.