Having held the position of Chairman of the Board of Education for Massachusetts, Charles credits UMass Amherst for inspiring him to improve the way students learn.
For me, being in a school of ed, it was about service. You don't go into teaching to get rich. You don't go into teaching because you want to get on national TV. For the most part, it's people who have a deep sense of wanting to give something back to the broader community. I was actually fortunate, really, at UMass Amherst. I was exposed to some really wonderful people who said, "You know, our education system can be great, much better than it is. And you can make a difference. Why don't you get out there and see if you can do something about the things that you're concerned about?" So that motivated me to push ahead. I just stepped down as the chairman of the Board of Higher Ed for the commonwealth. I was appointed by the governor to provide guidance and support to our 29 public colleges and universities. UMass Amherst and the College of Education believe that we can bring high- quality teachers into schools that really love children and want to work with children and want to inspire them to do great things in their lives and give them the tools and educational resources necessary for success. I don't think that I would have accomplished the things that I've accomplished in my life or gone on to do the things that I'd done had I not gone to UMass Amherst. But I think it's part of the culture of the University of Massachusetts to try to inculcate in the students that go there an understanding of the fact that it's the citizens of Massachusetts who are making this education available to you. It's the citizens of Massachusetts who are investing in you. It's the citizens of Massachusetts who believe in you and think that this education that you are going to receive will empower you to do great things in the world. And I think when you leave there with your degree, you leave there a larger person, a stronger person, a more fulfilled person. I'm Charles Desmond. I'm a senior fellow at the New England Board of Higher Education. And I chair the board of Inversant. I stand for the University of Massachusetts College of Education. And I stand for UMass.