An Incredible Experience

Jim Smith



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Jim Smith shared his story for WUMB's UMass Boston Minute.

"UMass was opening and I took the time one summer morning to go into the city and meet with an admissions director. He asked me about my background, and he said two words that changed my life: 'You’re in.'"

Jim Smith entered UMass Boston’s charter class in 1965. The first few days of school were chaotic as students tried to register for classes at the brand new university.

"In those days, no computers – so it was 3x5 cards. And if there was 20 3x5 cards in the History 101 class, then you weren’t in that class. It was absolutely chaotic. But it worked."

Classes began before the old Boston gas building had been fully converted into classrooms, and continued throughout the school year.

"What once was a classroom became a ladies room and then later became a chem lab. Over the four year period there were always changes taking place as they turned an office building into a university. And they did – they got it done. Given that you weren’t sure quite what you were going to get out of a brand new school, we got an incredible experience."