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Javier Reyes photo

Javier A. Reyes


Javier A. Reyes PhD, became the 31st leader of the University of Massachusetts Amherst on July 1, 2023, following his selection as chancellor of the commonwealth’s flagship campus by the UMass Board of Trustees. 

Reyes is an economist who has devoted his career to the cause of public higher education, holding leadership positions at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC), West Virginia University, and the University of Arkansas. Born and raised in Mexico, he is the first Hispanic person to serve as chancellor of UMass Amherst.

Before coming to UMass, Reyes served as interim chancellor of UIC, Chicago’s largest university campus, with more than 33,000 students and $440 million in research awards. Previously, he served as UIC’s provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, joining the campus in 2021. Leading UIC, first as provost and later as interim chancellor, Reyes initiated a redesign of UIC’s budget model and a restructuring of teaching innovation environments to position UIC for success amid a new era of innovative and accessible education. Committed to the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, Reyes outlined a bold vision to address critical gaps in racial equity across the institution, with a specific focus on increasing Black student enrollment, retention, and graduation rates.

Reyes served as dean of West Virginia University’s John Chambers College of Business and Economics from 2016–2021 and vice president for StartUp West Virginia from 2018–2021. He built impactful corporate partnerships to strengthen student placement and serve West Virginia’s land-grant mission. He spearheaded the transformation of the college into a pillar of inclusive entrepreneurship, innovation, and economic development for the university and the state.

Prior to moving to West Virginia, Reyes served as vice provost for online and distance education at the University of Arkansas and as the associate dean for undergraduate studies and executive education in the Sam M. Walton College of Business. He initially joined the economics faculty of the University of Arkansas in 2003.

Reyes has been a National Science Foundation proposal reviewer, invited lecturer, and visiting scholar at a number of institutions internationally, including the Clinton School of Public Service and the International Monetary Fund. He also has served as an academic scholar in the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in London, as a research analyst for the investment firm Value Casa de Bolsa, headquartered in Mexico. He has served on the Board of Directors for the Field Museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago, Miller Industries (NYSE: MLR), and City Holding Company (NASDAQ: CHCO). He is actively engaged with the TIAA Diversity Council and the Association of Latino Professionals For America (ALPFA).

Reyes received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, Campus Estado de Mexico, in 1998, and his doctorate in economics from Texas A & M University in 2003.

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