Martin Thomas Meehan (born December 30, 1956) is an American educator, a politician, and a lawyer.
Early life and education
Meehan was born in Lowell, Massachusetts, one of seven children born to Martin T. Meehan (d. 2000), a compositor for The Lowell Sun, and Alice (Britton) Meehan (d. 2008). He graduated from Lowell High School in 1974.
Meehan attended the University of Massachusetts Lowell, graduating cum laude in 1978 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Education and Political Science. In 1981, Meehan graduated from Suffolk University with a Master of Public Administration degree, and a Juris Doctor from the Suffolk University Law School in 1986. He has received honorary degrees from the American College of Greece, Suffolk University, Green Mountain College in Vermont, and Shenkar College of Engineering & Design in Israel.
University of Massachusetts
Meehan became the President of the University of Massachusetts, a position he assumed in July 2015, after serving as Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Lowell since September 2007. On 1 May 2015, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees unanimously elected Meehan, citing his record of achievement while serving as the Chancellor at UMass Lowell, his record of public service throughout his career, and his ability to communicate and to inspire, as being among the reasons for selecting him as the 27th President of the Massachusetts University System. Meehan is the first former graduate of a UMass school to serve as President of the UMass System.
Meehan was inaugurated at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate on 12 November 2015, where he vowed to fight for the University of Massachusetts, calling it “the most important institution in Massachusetts in the critical areas of social mobility and economic growth.”
Meehan made raising money for scholarship funds the centerpiece of his inauguration. With an initial fundraising target of $1 million, the privately funded inauguration far exceeded its goals and generated a record $1.7 million for student scholarships.
In his first year of presidency, the University’s enrollment reached a record 73,744 students, and research expenditures had risen to a high of $629 million. UMass increased its own funding of financial aid by nearly $20 million during Meehan’s first year, with spending rising from $236 million to a record $255 million, the highest ever. Additionally, the UMass Foundation, in part based on Meehan’s recommendation, voted to divest direct investments in fossil fuels from the university’s endowment, making it the first major public university in the nation to take such action.
As Meehan began his second year as President of the UMass System, he announced the closing of his congressional campaign, directed that funds be transferred to an education foundation, and stipulated that a $1 million scholarship donation be made to his alma mater, UMass Lowell.
During his years at UMass Lowell, the institution achieved record growth in enrollment, student retention and funding for research and scholarships.
During his tenure as chancellor, UMass Lowell for the first time was named a top-tier national university. It also was the top-ranked public research institution in New England for starting salary, mid-career salary and overall return on investment for graduates according to PayScale.com. Under Meehan’s leadership, UMass Lowell opened 10 new buildings over a five-year period, was named to the President’s Higher Education Honor Roll for community service and campus engagement  for six years in a row and made a successful transition to NCAA Division I athletics.
Meehan was presented with the Association of College Unions International (ACUI) 2014 President of the Year Award at the organization’s 100th anniversary celebration and conference. He was honored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) at the annual District I program in 2012 with the Chief Executive Leadership Award.
No confidence vote
In May 2018, the faculty council at the University of Massachusetts Boston approved a vote of no confidence for president Meehan and the Board of Trustees based upon the deal for UMass Amherst to purchase Mount Ida College. In a press release, the faculty council asked for a termination of the deal to purchase the Newton college and blamed Meehan and the trustees for having “failed to communicate with the faculty, staff and students of the UMass Boston campus regarding such a detrimental plan and [seeking] to prioritize the interest of one campus over the well-being of another campus.”
Interspersed with his post-college studies, Meehan held a number of political positions. From 1978 to 1979 Meehan served on the staff to Lowell mayor Raymond F. Rourke. He was the press assistant to Representative James Shannon from 1979 to 1981 and the head research analyst for the Massachusetts Senate‘s joint committee on election laws from 1981 to 1984.
After completing his law degree, Meehan served as Director of Public Affairs to the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth and Deputy Secretary of State for Securities and Corporations from 1986 to 1990. From 1987 to 1988, Meehan was a member of the faculty of the University of Massachusetts Lowell and Harvard Law School. From 1991 to 1992, Meehan was the First Assistant District Attorney for Middlesex County, where he established an innovative “priority prosecution” policy that targeted hardened criminals.
Meehan ran for the U.S. House in the 1992 election and was elected on November 3, 1992. He took office in January 1993. Meehan is generally considered to be a political liberal. Meehan is a prominent advocate for campaign finance reform and was one of the major sponsors of Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (called the “Shays-Meehan Bill” in the House and the “McCain-Feingold Bill” in the Senate). He has also been noted for his activism on gay rights issues; for example, Meehan is the chief sponsor of the measure repealing the don’t ask, don’t tell policy.
On 10 October 2002, Meehan was among the 81 House Democrats who voted in favor of authorizing the invasion of Iraq. In January 2005, nearly three years after the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime and as U.S. troops faced an “increasingly sophisticated insurgency in Iraq,” Meehan published a Congressional white paper  advocating that Iraqi security responsibilities be transferred to a new democratically elected government and that the U.S. develop an exit strategy to remove troops within 12 months to 18 months. During a discussion panel at the Brookings Institution, Meehan expressed concerns about the Bush administration having “no endgame in sight.” He told the panel that “it’s time for Congress to reassert its role in foreign policy and to take the lead in providing an exit strategy in Iraq.”
Meehan’s campaign fund was among the largest campaign accounts of any House member, with $4,829,540 cash on hand reported on October 15, 2005. This is the result of raising more money than he spent in several campaigns since his first in 1992. In 2016, after his first year as president of UMass, Meehan closed his congressional campaign signaling an end to his political career so he could focus his energies on leading the UMass system.
In the 2004 Congressional race, Meehan raised $3,170,733 and spent $459,977 of that, thus adding $2,710,756 to his cash on hand. His opponent, Tom Tierney raised $30,943 and spent $30,406. Overall, in the 2004 race, incumbents in the House of Representatives on average raised $1,122,505 compared to $192,964 for their challengers.
Meehan worked with former Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva and a bipartisan group of representatives to Capitol Hill to reintroduce the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, legislation that would repeal the Pentagon’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gay service members.
Former committee assignments and caucus memberships
Former committee assignments
Former congressional caucuses
Retirement from Congress
In response, Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA) announced a September 4 primary and an October 16 special election to determine Meehan’s successor. The winner was Niki Tsongas, the widow of Paul Tsongas, who held the seat from 1974 to 1979 before being elected to the Senate.
Potential United States Senate Candidate
Meehan successfully ran for the House in 1992 on a platform of reform, including a commitment to pushing through term limits for members of the House. As part of that platform, Meehan made a pledge not to serve more than four terms. On the House floor in 1995 he scolded members who might go back on their promise to limit their tenure in office. “The best test of any politicians’ credibility on term limits,” he said, “is whether they are willing to put their careers where their mouths are and limit their own service.” Despite his pledge, Meehan again ran for Congress in the year 2000, exceeding four terms by two and a half times.
Post 9/11 criticism of President George W. Bush
Meehan came under intense criticism in the days following the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, when the Boston Herald reported that he criticized President Bush for not returning to Washington, D.C., sooner than he did after the attacks. Meehan was quoted as saying “I don’t buy the notion Air Force One was a target … That’s just PR. That’s just spin.” Following that incident, Lowell police posted a guard outside Meehan’s congressional district office after receiving reports of threatening phone calls. Meehan later recanted his views and said that he believed at that time that Bush had done “an excellent job.” Later, both the 9/11 Commission Report, issued in 2004, and President Bush’s White House Communications director Dan Barrett acknowledged Air Force One was not a target of the attacks.
An unidentified individual operating through the U.S. House of Representatives’ internet connection made several favorable edits as well as removing statements declaring Meehan’s original campaign platform that included a promise not to run for more than four terms. Meehan’s chief of staff at the time, Matt Vogel, admitted to the press that he oversaw the edits and removal of the section that pointed out Meehan’s decision not to step down from office after four terms.
Meehan is on the Board of Trustees at Natixis Global Asset Management and on the Board of Governors at Lowell General Hospital. Previously, he has served on the Board of Directors at Sage Bank (formerly Lowell Cooperative Bank), Qteros (formerly SunEthanol), D’Youville Foundation, and was a member of the Board of Trustees of Suffolk University.
- “Statewide Payroll”. Retrieved June 7, 2019.
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- “Goodbye Chancellor, Hello President Meehan!” (PDF). UMass Lowell, Massachusetts. 31 August 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- “Biographical Directory of the United States Congress – Representative Martin T. Meehan”. C-SPAN.org. National Cable Satellite Corporation (C-SPAN), USA. 7 April 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- “CSPAN Videos of Representative Martin T. Meehan”. C-SPAN.org. National Cable Satellite Corporation (C-SPAN), USA. 7 April 2017. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- “Obituary for Martin T. (Buster) Sr”. Lowell Sun, Massachusetts, USA. 21 June 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- “Congressman Martin T. Meehan’s Tribute to His Father”. GPO – U.S. Government Publishing Office. 25 October 2000. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- Negri, Gloria (9 July 2008). “Obituary for Alice Meehan, 78, Matriarch of Congressman’s Large Family”. The Boston Globe, Massachusetts, USA. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- “President Meehan honored by American College of Greece”. University of Massachusetts, USA. 25 June 2016. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- “Marty Meehan Named 27th President Of The UMass System”. YouTube.com. WGBH Greater Boston, Massachusetts, USA. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
- “Martin T. Meehan Elected 27th President of the University of Massachusetts System”. University of Massachusetts, USA. 1 May 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- “Marty Meehan Inaugurated as 27th President of the University of Massachusetts”. University of Massachusetts, USA. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
- “Marty Meehan Inaugural Speech on 12 November 2015”. YouTube.com. 12 November 2015. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
- “Marty Meehan inaugurated as 27th president of the University of Massachusetts”. University of Massachusetts. 2015-11-13. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- “UMass Trustees endorse fossil fuel divestment”. University of Massachusetts. 2016-06-15. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- “Marty Meehan to close congressional committee, make $1 million gift for UMass scholarships from educational foundation fund”. University of Massachusetts. 2016-06-30. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- “Marty Meehan | University of Massachusetts”. www.umassp.edu. Retrieved 2015-11-20.
- “UMass Lowell Climbs in Prominent National Ranking | UMass Lowell”. www.uml.edu. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- “University of Massachusetts (UMass) – Lowell Campus Salary | PayScale”. www.payscale.com. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- “UMass Lowell Named to President’s Higher Education Honor Roll”. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- “UMass Lowell Athletics to Join America East Conference”. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- “Chancellor Receives Chief Executive Leadership Award”. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- “CASE – The Chief Executive Leadership Award”. www.case.org. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- Ortiz, Aimee (2018-05-15). “UMass Boston faculty vote no confidence in president, trustees after Mount Ida deal”. The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2018-05-15.
- 107th Congress-2nd Session 455th Roll Call Vote of by members of the House of Representatives
- 2004 ELECTION OVERVIEW: Incumbent Advantage Archived 2006-02-01 at the Wayback Machine on http://www.opensecrets.org. Accessed 7 February 2006.
- Successors in the Wings on https://www.washingtonpost.com. Accessed 6 May 2007.
- “Marty Meehan Retirement from Congress Tribute”. YouTube.com. 1 July 2007. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
- Goodnough, Abby (27 August 2009). “Push Builds to Quickly Fill Kennedy Senate Seat in Massachusetts”. The New York Times, USA. Retrieved 10 April 2017.
- Catherine Edwards, The Promise of Term Limits Archived 2006-05-15 at the Wayback Machine, June 28, 1999. Accessed on 7 February 2006.
- “Opinion & Reviews – Wall Street Journal”. www.opinionjournal.com. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- “CNN.com – Transcripts”. archives.cnn.com. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- Associated Press, Meehan staff are said to admit rewriting data
- “WEDDINGS; Martin T. Meehan, Ellen T. Murphy”. The New York Times, USA. 14 July 1996. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- Anderson, Travis (12 November 2016). “UMass President Meehan Buys Hub Waterfront Condo for $975,000”. Boston Globe, Massachusetts, USA. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
- Scott, Christopher (11 November 2016). “UMass President Meehan Buys Hub Waterfront Condo for $975,000”. Lowell Sun, Massachusetts, USA. Retrieved 12 April 2017.
- “The Sunday Notebook”. Retrieved 2018-08-13.
- Works written by or about Marty Meehan at Wikisource
- Congressional staff actions prompt Wikipedia investigation at Wikinews
- President Marty Meehan, official UMass site
- Biography at the Biographical Directory of the United States Congress
- Financial information (federal office) at the Federal Election Commission
- Appearances on C-SPAN
- Congress ‘made Wikipedia changes’ Matthew Davis, BBC News, 2006-02-09
|U.S. House of Representatives|
| Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Massachusetts’s 5th congressional district