This summer, while UMass Dartmouth celebrates the 50th anniversary of the official groundbreaking for the North Dartmouth campus, which took place on June 14, 1964, another significant celebratory mark in our history came only two weeks later, on July 1, 1964. On this date the New Bedford Institute of Technology in New Bedford and Bradford Durfee College of Technology in Fall River, ceased to operate and were officially consolidated into Southeastern Massachusetts Institute of Technology (SMTI). SMTI was one of the previous names of UMass Dartmouth, and was used between 1960 and 1969, after which it became Southeastern Massachusetts University.
SMTI as an educational entity had been established by legislative act four years earlier, on July 7, 1960 (Acts of 1960, Chapter 543, July 7, 1960) to prepare for the consolidation of the two local state textile/technology schools, New Bedford Institute of Technology and Bradford Durfee College of Technology. SMTI operated under its own board of fifteen trustees, elected by the governor from 1960 on, while the New Bedford Institute of Technology and the Bradford Durfee College of Technology maintained their boards through June 1964. These two schools remained separate campuses and retained their names and boards from 1960-1964, until the final consolidation went into effect on July 1, 1964 (Acts of 1964, Chapter 495, June 10, 1964).
According to the text of the act, “On July first, nineteen hundred and sixty-four, the board of trustees of the Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute shall be vested with all the powers, rights and privileges and shall be subject to all the duties of the trustees of the New Bedford Institute of Technology and the Bradford Durfee College of Technology. The New Bedford Institute of Technology and the Bradford Durfee College of Technology shall thereby be consolidated into the Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute which shall be deemed for all purposes a continuation of the Bradford Durfee College of Technology and the New Bedford Institute of Technology. …. On and after July 1, nineteen hundred and sixty-four, the phrases, “New Bedford Textile institute,” “New Bedford Institute of Textiles and Technology,” “New Bedford Institute of Technology,” Bradford Durfee Institute of Technology of Fall River,” Bradford Durfee College of Technology,” or any words connoting the same, when used in any statute, ordinance, by-law, rule of regulation, shall mean the Southeastern Massachusetts Technological Institute.”
The photograph above is of Governor Endicott Peabody signing the Capital Outlay Bill, which financed the initial design and construction for SMTI, at the SMTI site in North Dartmouth in August of 1963. From left surrounding the governor are Dr. Joseph L. Driscoll, SMTI president, Senator Mary L. Fonseca, Representative Frank F. Lemos, Senator Antone L. Silva, and Joseph M. Souza, Chairman of the SMTI Board of Trustees. Photograph from the New Bedford Standard Times.
For more on this period in the history of UMass Dartmouth, go to the Archives and Special Collections web site at www.lib.umassd.edu/archives/umassd-history. For a detailed guide to primary resources in the Archives and Special Collections for further research on the history of UMass Darmouth, consult the LibGuide, “Sources for University of Massachusetts Dartmouth (UMD) History” at http://guides.lib.umassd.edu/UMDHistory.