Dr. Robert E. Johnson was named chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth today by a unanimous vote of the UMass Board of Trustees.

Johnson, president of Becker College in Worcester since 2010, was recommended for the UMass Dartmouth chancellorship by UMass President Marty Meehan.

“Robert Johnson is an accomplished, visionary leader with an entrepreneurial spirit and a proven commitment to student success,” said Meehan. “He has developed innovative strategies that have revitalized institutions and transformed lives, and I am confident he will help UMass Dartmouth reach new levels of excellence.”

Under Johnson’s leadership, Becker College was named one of the “best institutions for undergraduate education” by The Princeton Review for five consecutive years. He is credited with increasing enrollment to record levels, improving student success and elevating the reputation of the college.

Johnson, who will be the first African-American to lead UMass Dartmouth, is a member of the state Board of Higher Education, vice chairman of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative Board and chair of the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“This is a win for UMass Dartmouth, the SouthCoast region and the entire UMass system,” said Robert Manning, chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees. “In Robert Johnson we have a world-class leader who will be committed to achieving UMass Dartmouth’s strategic goals and ushering this vibrant university into a new era of success and achievement.”

“We aimed high and attracted some excellent candidates, but Robert Johnson clearly stood out from the pack,” said Trustee R. Norman Peters, chair of the UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Search Committee. “We were impressed by his obvious passion for higher education, his consistent record of achievement and his ability to accomplish key objectives--from growing revenues to increasing graduation rates--all while keeping his pulse on the day-to-day student experience. We believe he will be a boon for UMass Dartmouth and the entire SouthCoast region.”

A native of Detroit, Michigan, Johnson holds a doctorate in higher education administration from Touro University International, a master’s degree in education administration from the University of Cincinnati and a bachelor’s degree in economics from Morehouse College. Prior to becoming Becker College’s president, he served as senior vice president of Sinclair Community College, vice president of enrollment management at the University of Dayton, vice provost at Oakland University and executive director of enrollment management at Central State University.

"I think it is a fantastic institutaion and I'm looking forward to picking up the baton and carrying it to the next chapter of its history," Johnson told WBSM News."I want to take the apparatus that the institution has from an academic perspective, from a student perspective, from a leadership perspective on the SouthCoast, and figure out how we can evolve it to the next level."

WHAT TRUSTEES ARE SAYING ABOUT DR. ROBERT E. JOHNSON:

"He has a commitment to preparing young people for successful careers in a rapidly changing economy. He has a strong sense of what is required, not just academically but in terms of personal preparation for success in an economy and a world that is changing so rapidly."--Secretary of Education and UMass trustee Jim Peyser

"He is a tremendous talent and a great leader and a phenomenal human being. What he achieved at Becker during his tenure has been absolutely [nothing] less than remarkable. He's respected highly by the institution that he served as well as the people in the community and the whole region, really. He's a dynamite individual."--UMass trustee Henry Thomas

"Our futures are inextricably tied when it comes to institutions in the broader community and the region, and he believes in mutually assured successes, and I think that says a lot about his personality," said Trustee Micahel O'Brien, former Worcester City Manager. "His enthusiasm is contagious. … He's a special person. … He sets out a vision, a plan for the institution. And he leads by example."--UMass trustee and former Worcester City Manager Michael O'Brien