A New Era of Growth for UMass Dartmouth

THE University of Massachusetts (UMass) Dartmouth, a low-profile university in Massachusetts, was put in the spotlight several weeks ago, when it was discovered that the accused suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, was one of its students.

What would interest Filipinos around the world is that a few days before the Boston Marathon bombing, UMass Dartmouth ended a months-long search for a new Chancellor.

On April 4, 2013,  Filipino-American Divina Grossman was inducted as the new chancellor of the university.

In a press release announcing the election of Dr. Grossman (to replace Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack who has retired) UMass reported that the accomplished Filipina leader is“the right person to lead UMass Dartmouth into a new era of growth.”

A 19-person search committee began the search process in November 2012, which included a pool of 130 candidates.

After many interviews, the candidates were narrowed down to six.

The UMass Board of Trustees voted unanimously in favor of Dr. Grossman, upon the recommendation of UMass President Robert L. Caret.

“Divina Grossman has the experience, the vision, the drive and the passion to guide UMass Dartmouth to a new stage in its development, and in doing so, to better serve the needs of our students and the larger social and economic needs of the region.”

“It was a very accomplished field and selecting among these distinguished candidates was not easy,” Caret said.

Saying she was “honored to be chosen for the position of Chancellor,” Dr. Grossman admitted that the honor was beyond her dreams.

“Growing up in the Philippines as the daughter and granddaughter of teachers, I never dreamed nor imagined that becoming a university chancellor someday would be possible. Building on Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack’s enormous successes and legacy, I am excited by this exceptional opportunity to lead the University in achieving its aspirations of future growth in research, innovative academic programs, and regional and global engagement,” she said.

James J. Karam, chairman of the Board of Trustees and a UMass Dartmouth graduate, said: “We have great confidence in Dr. Grossman’s ability to build on Chancellor MacCormack’s record of achievement and maintain UMass Dartmouth’s upward trajectory. I know that Dr. Grossman will be an outstanding Chancellor and will be a strong partner and advocate for the SouthCoast.”

The value of education

Divina Gracia Sanchez- Grossman was born and raised in the Philippines. Her father was a US War veteran, having fought for the US Army during World War II.

In an article in The Boston Globe, Dr. Grossman revealed that life wasn’t easy growing up.  “I grew up in a house with no television, no telephone, no refrigerator, no anything. But I had many, many books,” said Divina, whose mother was a teacher who had access to books that her school was discarding.

Placing a big value on education, Divina completed a degree in nursing from the University of Santo Tomas, where she graduated cum laude.

After becoming a nurse, she decided to immigrate to America. Here, she took up her Masters in Nursing from the University of Miami.

Working as a nurse in Miami to pay for her advanced education, Dr. Grossman eventually earned a Ph.D in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.

A solid and outstanding career

Married to Joel Grossman, with whom she has two daughters (Regina and Claire) Dr. Grossman built a solid, outstanding career as an educator in her field.

Her bio-data lists 50 pages of accomplishments and honors. She has been connected with the Florida International University (FIU) in Miami for over a decade.

From 2004-2006, she was the Director of the School of Nursing.

From 2006-2010, she was the Dean of the School of Nursing and from 2010 to 2012,the Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Services.

Prior to her move to UMass, Dr. Grossman served as Vice President of Civic Engagement at FIU.

She is the Chairwoman of the Board at the Kendall Regional Medical Center and the

Health Foundation of South Florida, and a Board Member of The Miami Foundation.

She also serves as an Editorial Board Member of the American Journal of Nursing, and is a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Advisory Council for the Nurse Faculty Scholars Program.

Dr. Grossman has authored over 50 journal articles and textbook chapters and has conducted research in the areas of biological rhythms and fever management.

She is a popular speaker and has made over 200 presentations in local, regional, national, and international conferences. Her research is in the areas of blood pressure rhythms and cultural competence.

Awards and accolades

Dr. Grossman’s many awards and honors include the 2012 Outstanding Thomasian Alumni (TOTAL) Award in Health; 2011 Outstanding Thomasian Award for Nursing Education; the 2010 AXA Advisors Businesswoman of the Year Award, Non-Profit Category Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce; the 2006 American Red Cross Women’s Spectrum Award for Health Care; the 2005 Nursing Spectrum, Teaching Excellence Award; and the 2004 Jessie Trice Heroes Award, Health Choice Network.

In 1997, she received the Excellence in Nursing Research Award from the Miami Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

She also garnered the 1996 Nurse Educator of the Year Award from the Florida Nurses Association; the 1993 Mary Cash Award for Outstanding Contribution to Cultural Diversity in Nursing from the Florida Nurses Association; the 1992 Achievement Award for Excellence in  Nursing Research from the Philippine Nurses Association of America; the Teacher of the Year Award from the Greater Miami Nurse Recruiters Association from 1991-1992.

For several years, Dr. Grosmman has been in the Who’s Who in American Nursing and the International Who’s Who of Professional and Business Women.

Exceptional contributions

UMass’s The Torch newsletter reported that Dr. Grossman’s exceptional contributions to her field have been affirmed by her mentor, Florida International University President, Mark Rosenberg, who said that Dr. Grossman was sorely missed in Florida.

“Divina Grossman is hope, and she will help you to map the same… Divina Grossman will unerringly – unerringly! – lift you up. She will challenge you in every dimension of your humanity,” said Rosenberg.

Superintendent Alberto Carvalho of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, said of Dr. Grossman: “She lives for others. Her deeds are inspired and inspiring… Her energy is limitless.”

Facing the future with optimism

During her induction as Chancellor, Dr. Grossman expressed her excitement over her new job.

“From the very beginning, I was inspired by UMass Dartmouth’s mission as an intellectual catalyst for the economic, social and cultural development of the region and the Commonwealth,” she said.

“Let us then embrace change and face the promise, potential, and possibilities of our future together. I feel uncommonly privileged and excited by the prospect,” she added.

LA Weekend May 11-14, 2013 Sec. A pg.10)

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