LOWELL, Mass. – This week marks the end of the first year of UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney’s visionary leadership of her alma mater, which has brought continued growth to the university, expanded its commitment to serve the region and laid the groundwork for its future.

Moloney, the first woman to lead the university in its history, was named chancellor with the unanimous support of the UMass Board of Trustees on Aug. 3, 2015. In the 12 months since, UMass Lowell has reached milestones including an all-time high in enrollment (17,500, a 50 percent gain since 2008), record totals for fundraising and investment in research, increases in student success and the opening of the 11th and 12th new buildings since 2009. The university also surpassed $920 million in positive economic impact, supporting more than 7,000 jobs on- and off-campus.

“I would like to thank our faculty, staff and students, as well as the community, for the support and inspiration you have given me during my first year as chancellor. I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish together,” said Moloney.

Those accomplishments are rooted in “UMass Lowell 2020: A Strategic Plan for the Next Decade,” which Moloney led the creation of in 2010 as executive vice chancellor. The strategic plan served as the blueprint for the university’s ongoing progress in all areas over the last year. It also inspired Moloney to begin her tenure as chancellor with her #First90 initiative, which brought faculty, students and staff together with the community to lay out the next steps toward reaching the ambitious goals of “UMass Lowell 2020,” including the awarding of 2020 Challenge Grants to projects that support those goals.

The 20 micro-grants of $1,000 each were presented to projects including: an alternative spring break program through which students gain valuable experiential education while volunteering with a Lowell-based nonprofit organization; a proposal to bring high-school musicians from the Merrimack Valley together with Boston Symphony Orchestra and use technology to simulate what it is like to be a member of the ensemble; and a plan by the community development organization Made in Lowell to use a remodeled RV to gather stories from residents of each of the city’s neighborhoods that will then be available to the public through programs and events. Moloney intends to launch a second round of 2020 challenge grants during the fall semester that will once again bring the campus and community together.

UMass Lowell met another goal of the strategic plan under Moloney’s leadership this year, the launch of the university’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising and alumni engagement campaign. That effort, “Our Legacy, Our Place: The Campaign for UMass Lowell,” was announced in April with the goal of raising $125 million by 2020 to support student scholarships, faculty recruitment and research, campus improvements and Division I Athletics. Already, it has attracted more than $84 million in private donations.

The theme of Moloney’s October 2015 inauguration, which raised $1.5 million for scholarships, was “Making a Difference Together, Leading through Innovation.” Over the course of the year, that theme was illustrated through a number of efforts designed to further increase the university’s positive impact on the regional economy and the community while also expanding opportunities for students.

Last fall, UMass Lowell opened the new Innovation Hub (iHub) in downtown Lowell, home to a brand-new business incubator for technology-focused startups and an expansion of the Massachusetts Medical Device Development Center (M2D2) incubator for new ventures in that sector. M2D2, a joint effort of the UMass Lowell and Worcester campuses, has assisted more than 100 startups since it was founded. The openings of the iHub and M2D2 incubators were among five new university projects unveiled over the course of just eight days during the fall 2015 semester and also included the Riverview Suites East residence hall, an exhibit of beat generation icon Jack Kerouac’s personal belongings and the naming of the Kennedy College of Sciences.

Students have also been inspired to become innovators through the growth of the university’s DifferenceMaker program, which Moloney founded in 2012, which teaches students from all majors entrepreneurial skills to create new ventures to address issues in business and the community. Student-run ventures such as NonSpec, now a tenant at the iHub, have already been spun off from DifferenceMakers, which awards seed funding to the most promising entries in its annual Idea Challenge.

Innovative research by faculty this year yielded the largest-ever deal for intellectual property developed at UMass Lowell, a $3.8 million equity payout to the campus and UMass system for technology acquired by pharmaceutical giant Allergan. To lead the university’s growing research enterprise, which has seen investment from numerous sources climb from $36 million nine years ago to more than $70 million, Moloney recently elevated the position of vice provost for research to vice chancellor for innovation and research. Moloney has also overseen the successful hiring of a new provost, who in turn is streamlining academic affairs to focus even more intently on student and faculty success, as well as workforce development.

Moloney filled other vacancies in her leadership team including vice chancellor for advancement, dean of the Kennedy College of Sciences and dean of the Manning School of Business, who joins UMass Lowell as the school’s new home, the Pulichino Tong Business Center, is being completed. The opening of the new building, as well as the associated collaboration space in the adjacent Lydon Library, will be among the highlights of the year to come. The building, which will feature a state-of-the-art trading room, will not only be the 13th opened by the campus since 2009, it will serve as an important part of the North Campus Innovation District that also includes the Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, which kicked off the university’s building boom.

“We have achieved much over the last year as a university. I know that we are committed and ready to take on the challenges to come as we continue our positive momentum while remaining focused on efficiency and effectiveness in times of increased financial pressure,” Moloney said.