UMass Dartmouth traces its roots to 1895, when the state legislature chartered the New Bedford Textile School and the Bradford Durfee Textile School in Fall River. As the region’s economic base shifted from textiles to more diverse manufacturing and service industries, the colleges changed, too. They diversified their curricula, responding to the needs of new generations of students.
By the middle of the 20th century, the colleges were growing rapidly, spurred by such forces as the GI Bill and the clear economic and social advantages of a well-educated citizenry. They had become multipurpose institutions, preparing engineers, health care workers, teachers, and business leaders—and had forged new identities: New Bedford Institute of Technology and Bradford Durfee College of Technology.
In 2001, the university opened the Star Store campus in downtown New Bedford, a structure transformed from a landmark department store into a vibrant arts center located in the city’s historic district. The university opened a new $14 million Advanced Technology and Manufacturing Center in Fall River, also in 2001. The 60,000 square foot research and development center features conference space, specialty labs in acoustics, optics, telecommunications, materials, textiles and environmental engineering, as well as incubator space for start-up companies.
In 2002, the university opened the Professional and Continuing Education Center in Fall River in the fully renovated Cherry and Webb building. Two new student residence buildings, Oak Glen Hall and Pine Dale Hall, were also completed in 2002.
In fall 2004, the university opened a new building for the Charlton College of Business on the Dartmouth campus. A second centrally located Center for Professional and Continuing Education opened in New Bedford in 2004.
Six new residence halls, part of the Woodlands Community, opened its doors to upperclassmen in 2005, offering fully furnished, apartment-style living for the 21+ student population. Located near the Tripp Athletic Center, Woodlands Community also has a commons building that offers a 3,000 square foot function room that can seat up to 300 people, six smaller meeting rooms and a café.
In 2007, the university opened a 22,000 square foot Research Building that focuses on science and houses the Botulinum Research Center. The building, the first at UMass Dartmouth devoted entirely to research, strengthens an “Innovation Triangle” in southeastern Massachusetts that includes major research and development centers in New Bedford and Fall River.