LOWELL -- UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan was named President of the Year by a national higher-education group that praised his commitment to students, the university announced this week.

The Association of College Unions International gave Meehan the award at their annual conference earlier this month.

UMass Lowell Dean of Student Affairs Brenda Evans was also honored, receiving the ACUI Presidential Award for Distinguished Service for her help restructuring the association.

Meehan said Wednesday that the award he received reflected hard work done at the university by a team, particularly members of the student life and residence life staffs.

"Our goal here is to make UMass Lowell a top choice for students in New England," he said. "Frankly, we're achieving those goals. The number of applications are up dramatically, and we're becoming a much more difficult university to get into."

In announcing his award, the association cited Meehan's "commitment to the student experience," including the hosting of monthly open forums for students.

"He has demonstrated exceptional advocacy for the division of student affairs, as well, supporting increases in financial resources for student organizations, tripling the number of staff in the student activities department and reintroducing of fraternities and sororities to campus," the award announcement reads.

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