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The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

From Boston State to UMass Boston


Boston State, English, 1970

As a city kid who grew up in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Boston, Dan Rea applied to two colleges: UMass Boston, then located downtown in Park Square, and Boston State College. 
“It was the best education that my family could have afforded at the time, and I was very proud to go to Boston State,” Rea says.
“We had great coaches and athletes at Boston State College back at that time, and I played a little bit of varsity baseball. It was a great school for young men and women who were looking to further their education and who grew up in the city of Boston.” 
Rea graduated from Boston Latin High School in 1966. The Boston State campus was right next door on Huntington Avenue, with Longwood Avenue on the other side. It’s now the location of the Massachusetts College of Art.
The campus was a small cluster of buildings next door to The Gardener Museum. 
“It probably was five or six acres,” Rea says. “I’d be guessing when I say that, but North Hall was a science building, and there was the administrative building, and there was a quadrangle, which was sort of a center of activity at the school.” 
Boston State was convenient and he had friends who were going there, but Rea says his decision to attend Boston State over UMass Boston was little more than a flip of a coin. 
“UMass Boston had only opened in 1965, so it was still at the campus in Park Square, and it wasn’t what it is today.” 
At Boston State, Rea played freshman hockey and varsity baseball. He also joined a conservative political organization called Young Americans for Freedom. Rea’s most vivid memories of the school involve his professors and teachers.
“I can name a lot of professors there,” he says. “Maureen Connolly was a great English professor there. Bill Keene was a great English professor. Mrs. Marnell, John Woodland, Barry Colt. I remember the coaches, Jim Luscituft, the great basketball coach. Jim Nance, the former New England Patriot was the wrestling coach. Eddy Barry was the legendary hockey coach who had played for the Boston Bruins. Frank Murphy was the baseball coach. He was also a teacher at the school.”
At Boston State, Rea forged lasting friendships. 
“It was a smaller institution,” Rea says. “I was able to begin to put together a network of friends and colleagues at Boston State College. Many of those friendships have lasted my entire life. It was just a relatively smaller campus than say, Boston College, but everybody there was from, for the most part, greater Boston, and I still keep in touch with many of them.” 
Rea spent most of his time on the Boston State campus in classes. There was a student lounge, but since it was a commuter school he stuck around after class. 
“When classes were over you could hang around, or you could go home and many people had jobs while they were going to college, so it wasn’t the sort of place where you’d hang.” 
Rea took one journalism class at Boston State. 
“It was taught by a professor named John Lerch, and it turned out that that one communications class laid a little bit of the foundation for what I’ve done as a career as a journalist, so in many respects I owe my career to Boston State College.” 
After graduation, Rea spent some time in the military, and then went on to Boston University Law School.
While there he wrote for the Boston Globe, and did a Saturday night program on WBZ radio from 1974 to 1976. Meanwhile, he graduated from law school, passed the bar, and practiced law.
In 1976, he got a job as a staff reporter for WBZ TV, and he worked there as a reporter and occasional anchor until July 2007, when he got a hosting position, “Nightside with Dan Ray“ — Monday through Friday, 8 p.m. to midnight. 
“I think a lot of times you make the mistake of focusing on the courses that you major in, and you take the other courses because you have to. If you’re a science major you don’t particularly care about history. If you’re a History major, you don’t particularly care about foreign language. If you’re a foreign language major, you might not care about civics, and I think that the basis of a great liberal arts education is to really immerse yourself as much as you can in all of those subjects, including things like art history and music appreciation, which we had at Boston State College in those days. I probably should have put more effort into the subjects that were not necessarily my major.”
“Every one of those subjects become important at some point, whether you travel, and maybe you get a chance to really use a foreign language, or whether you sit back as a citizen and better understand the political process and the history of the country, or whether you understand science better.”
“Every subject in college and high school, you should take it as seriously as you can, and that would be one regret that I would have, that I probably marginalized the subjects that were not my major subjects.” 
Still, he excelled in his major, excelled in his career, and in 2009, Rea received an honorary doctorate degree from UMass Boston, making him an official alumnus.
“I’ve been very supportive of the university, including a great supporter of Keith Motley, who I think is a fabulous chancellor, and if I had been the governor he would have been elected the new president of the entire Massachusetts system. I’ve been very much involved with UMass Boston, not as a student, but as an alumnus.” 
Though he initially resisted the merger of Boston State and UMass Boston in 1982, and actually voted against it as a member of the Boston State College Board of Trustees at the time, he now embraces UMass Boston as his alma mater, and not just because he has no other choice.
“You can look at any numbers you want,” Rea says. “students enrolled, faculty, acreage, participating in extra programs and activities. I think that the future’s bright for UMass Boston. I’d like to see a bigger, better, stronger university.”

About the Contributor
Caleb Nelson served as the following positions for The Mass Media the following years: Editor-in-Chief: Fall 2010; 2010-2011; Fall 2011 News Editor: Spring 2009; 2009-2010