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Kathy Carroll is retiring and the closing of the UMass Waltham facility

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Jul 2, 2018
Jody Jellison

Dear CAFE and Extension friends:

I’m writing to share two pieces of news that might be of interest.

The first concerns a longtime colleague and leader of UMass Extension – Kathy Carroll. Kathy has been the program director of Extension’s Agriculture and Landscape Program since the late 1990’s and has been a strong advocate for the program, the work, and for Extension both on campus and around the state. As program leader, she has worked closely with at least six Extension directors, four deans, and many Extension staff to continue and strengthen Extension’s value to the agricultural and green industry communities. To many among the state’s agricultural community, her face is the face of agriculture at UMass. After 44 years of dedicated work for Extension, Kathy retired last Friday, June 29th.
How do I begin to thank Kathy Carroll for all she has given to our organization? This is no easy task as she has quite literally given to Extension all of her work energy from the very beginning of her career, beginning with answering home gardening questions from a little office in the Waltham Field Station. She has built the Landscape, Nursery and Urban Forestry Program into a strong effective team much valued by the commercial green industries. In that work, she led the group developing and maintaining some of our most well-liked products and efforts including the UMass Garden Calendar for well over 30 years and the in-depth professional development series Green School. As program leader, she has proven herself as a strong manager and a noted herder of cats. For myself and I suspect for many others, it is difficult to imagine UMass Extension with her. Please join me in offering Kathy our thanks and our congratulations on this auspicious event. (Kathy will be celebrating with close colleagues in small groups and is following the lead of her recently-retired friend Tina Smith in skipping a large retirement party…)

The second piece of news concerns the future of the UMass Waltham facility. As many you are likely aware, UMass Extension has managed a University facility in Waltham for about thirty years. The 58-acre property was given to the University in the 1920’s and was originally known as the Waltham Field Station. It was home to an academic department in agriculture for many years and at its height was home to over 60 faculty and staff. Since the 1980’s it has been the location of some UMass Extension programs and has provided rented space to a number of non-profit organizations concerned with agriculture, food and land. However, without adequate maintenance funding, the facility has come into increasing disrepair in recent years. Late last year, a task force of University officials began to discuss the future of the facility, including the option of closing it. Last Friday, June 29, Deputy Chancellor Steve Goodwin met with the tenants and staff in the building and announced that the building would close on December 31, 2019. Tenants of the building were offered an 18-month lease until then or the option of renting equivalent space in the new UMass campus in Newton. Steve emphasized that no decision has yet been made on the future of the land at the facility, currently used by a large community farm, a community gardens group and a collaborative climate change research project.

That’s it for now. Many thanks for all you do. Stay cool and enjoy the Fourth!