‘The Lowellian’ (ULowell Alumni Newsletter, Spring 1981)

Following are excerpts from “The Lowellian,”  a newsletter for alumni and friends of the University of Lowell, volume 1, number 1, from Spring 1981. Director of Alumni Relations Catherine Quinn conceived of the new publication, which was written and edited by me and designed by Leo Panas of the Art Dept. We published the newsletter for a few years until it was replaced with an actual alumni magazine, the ancestor of today’s award-winning UMass Lowell magazine.—PM


The Lowellian, Volume 1, Number 1, Spring 1981

Higher Education and the Economy: Education’s true value is priceless, yet in a period dominated by money talk it is important to spell out (or count out) the link between schooling and dollars. The New England Board of Higher Education through its Commission on Higher Education and the Economy of New England recently issued a comprehensive report that describes and examines the connection “between the academic community and the increasingly knowledge-intensive regional economy.” … 260 New England colleges and universities spend nearly $4 billion and generate another $10 billion yearly, close to 8 percent of the gross regional product; full-time enrollment in schools of higher education is up to 738,000 students or 6 percent of New England’s population; and the region has 9 percent of the colleges and universities in the USA, although it has just 6 percent of t he nation’s people. ….

How Do We Stand?: Using the recently publish Five Year Report by President John B. Duff as our source, we have selected several items that illustrate the university’s stance. The University’s economic impact on the Merrimack Valley is $60 million each year; more than 80 percent of our graduates live and work in Massachusetts; in fiscal year 1980, more than $3 million in new grants and contracts were received, with 85 faculty and 200 students working on research projects; almost one-third of Lowell’s students study engineering, however, the university has reached the limit of its ability to expand the program of the College of Engineering unless further support is forthcoming; donations of funds and equipment in recent years have amounted to more than $1 million, including a gift of 11 MicroNova computers from Data General Corp., whose president is Edson de Castro, ’60, ’79 Honorary.

Alumni Fund Meeting: The University recently hosted a seminar for alumni and development professionals to explore fund-raising for public higher education in Massachusetts. Representatives from 17 public institutions throughout the state discussed ways to use the new Alumni Reserve Fund established this year to encourage state institutions in their work. …

Ethnic Symposia: In addition to the successful Black Heritage Month activities in February, three programs are set for the Spring; On March 12, internationally known Irish folk singer Grainne Yeats will present a program of traditional folk music, accompanying herself on the harp. She is the wife of Michael Yeats, the only son of poet William Butler Yeats. Thomas Flanagan, author of “The Year of the French,” will read selections from his book on April 10. The novel, set against the background of Irish history, was the winner of the National Book Critics’ Circle Award in 1979. The story deals with the 1798 Irish rebellion that received French aid. And, finally, Irish actress Anna Manahan will be on campus May 2 with a one-woman show, “Moll.”

Rhodesia to Lowell to Zimbabwe: Dr. Forbes Madzongwe, formerly assistant dean of students at ULowell, hasa been named undersecretary of the Ministry of Manpower Planning and Development in his native country, Zimbabwe. Educated at Clark and Harvard universities, Dr. Madzongwe joined the administration at Lowell in 1975. ….

“Georgia, Georgia”: Semester break. Vacation, right? Miami, right? No quite. Try January in Georgia. That’s what 19 ULowell students did when they signed up for a ten-day excursion to Appalachia. Their mission? To help poor and elderly people in the parish of Dahlonega improve and winterize their dwellings. The project was organized by Rev. Frederick Guthrie, a new campus chaplain at the Catholic Center ….

A Positive Attraction: If all goes according to plan, the City of Lowell’s School Department will open a “magnet school” on the ULowell campus this September. The result of long and complex planning, the magnet school concept has had strong support from Lowell School Supt. Patrick J. Mogan and Dean M. Virginia Biggy of the university’s College of Education. … Two magnet schools are set to open next fall, an “arts” and a “city” school with specialized curricula designed to attract children from throughout the city, thereby offering a unique learning experience and creating a school population which reflects the city’s varied population. The arts school will be housed in Coburn Hall on the south campus ….

University of Lowell Foundation Spring Events: The National Folk Ballet of Yugoslavia, March 31; Robert J. Lurtsema of WGBH radio in Boston in the Foundation Forum Series, April 14. [Recent Foundation events have included a concert with jazz great Benny Goodman that attracted 3000 people to Lowell and a sell-out show by the Russian stars of the Moscow Pops troupe, with both gala events preceded by festive, black-tie receptions for patrons and supporters.]

A Special Note: In 1981, O’Leary Library on the university’s south campus had on permanent display six marble bas relief sculptures by Yugoslavian artist Ivan Mestrovic, who was a student of the famous Rodin’s. Mestrovic is one of the notable sculptors of the 20th century. The Mestrovic sculptures, acquired by Lowell State College president Daniel O’Leary, were recently re-installed in UMass Lowell Durgin Hall, home of the Music Dept., where they can be seen all together again at the upcoming Chancellor’s Celebration of the Arts on April 23.