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September 21, 2015

Meehan sees UMass Law accreditation “within the next year”

The University of Massachusetts School of Law should receive accreditation from the American Bar Association "within the next year," UMass President Martin Meehan said during a Sunday talk show appearance in which he laid out some of his Beacon Hill priorities.

The public law school, which is part of UMass-Dartmouth, was created in 2010 and has been operating with provisional accreditation from the ABA since 2012.

"The law school is on track to get ADA accreditation. There's been a commitment made to UMass to have a public law school, the only public law school, obviously, in the state," Meehan said on WCVB-TV's "On the Record" program. "Something that I'm going to make a priority is to make sure that A) we get accredited and B) look for a way to develop a business plan that works."

In 2012, UMass said it had spent $15 million — $6.4 million in fiscal 2011 and $8.6 million in fiscal 2012 — to obtain provisional accreditation for the former Southern New England School of Law.

Meehan, a former congressman whose fundraising prowess was touted when he became UMass president in July, also said he has set a goal of pushing the UMass endowment past the $1 billion mark in the coming years.

"I want to see our endowment over the next few years go over $1 billion ... over the next three to four years," he said. "I'd also like to provide more scholarship money for our students and I'm going to continue to fight as hard as I can to try to get more state money and to look for more efficiency."

Last week, UMass announced it had attracted $129.5 million in new gifts and commitments last fiscal year and another $98.6 million in cash gifts, a record fundraising haul, officials said. The UMass endowment currently sits at $768 million, Meehan said.

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