In April 2020, the UMass Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the Fine Arts Center for the late Randolph W. “Bill” Bromery, who served as chancellor from 1971-79. His appointment made him the second African American ever to lead a predominantly white campus. Bromery was instrumental in diversifying the campus in terms of both gender and race. Under his leadership, the ratio of undergraduate men to women improved to 50-50, efforts were intensified to recruit and support minority students, and the number of faculty of color increased. His efforts brought to the campus the archives of both W. E. B. Du Bois and Horace Mann Bond. These acquisitions cemented the Libraries’ reputation as a top repository for African American thought and served as the foundation for the establishment of what is now the W. E. B. Du Bois Center.
During Bromery’s tenure as chancellor, he oversaw construction of the Fine Arts Center. A dedicated saxophonist and lifelong student of jazz, Bromery listed meeting the pianist Eubie Blake at UMass Amherst as one of his most treasured moments as chancellor.
Photo above: Randolph Bromery (right) planting a tree outside the Fine Arts Center near campus pond, ca. 1976, Special Collections and University Archives.