Chancellor, UMass Amherst: 1971-1979
Randolph Bromery guided the campus through most of the difficult 1970s. Born in Cumberland, Md., on Jan. 18, 1926, Bromery served in the Tuskegee Airmen during the Second World War and after his discharge, studied at Howard University, earning his BS in Mathematics in 1956 while working full-time as an aeromagnetic exploration geophysicist with the United States Geological Service, and going on to earn MS in Geology from American University (1962) and a PhD from Johns Hopkins (1968).
When he joined the Geology faculty at UMass in 1967, Bromery was only the sixth African American on faculty at UMass. During the rapid changes of the era, Bromery served as vice chancellor for student affairs. His appointment as Chancellor in 1971 made him only the second African American to lead a predominantly white campus, after Clifton R. Wharton Jr. at Michigan State University.
The university became a more diverse institution under Bromery’s leadership. The ratio of undergraduate men to women shifted from 60:40 to 50:50 and the number of faculty of color increased. Bromery was instrumental in the formation of the Committee for the Collegiate Education of Black Students (CCEBS). He also played a key role in securing a home for the archives of W.E.B. Du Bois and Horace Mann Bond, helping make the UMass library a repository for leading African-American thought. In addition, the Five College consortium was initiated during Bromery’s tenure.
Bromery was granted an honorary doctorate upon his resignation in 1979. He has since served as president for several institutions of higher education in New England.