71°
UMass Boston's independent, student-run newspaper

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Founder’s Wall reveals University’s Generous Heroes

Who are Mark Atkins ’71, Ruth Bennett, Fuad Safwat, and Robert Glassman? If you have walked through the campus center in the past four months you have undoubtedly seen these and other names on the university’s newly installed Founder’s Circle Wall.

They may mean little to you, but without their generous philanthropic support the Mark E. Atkins Scholarship Fund, the Biology Department Enhancement Fund, and the Joiner Center– programs that make UMass Boston such an outstanding public university– would not exist.

Mark Atkins has chosen to give back to his alma mater by providing need based scholarships for students who show great potential. Retired Biology faculty members Ruth Bennett and Faud Safwat are seeking to enrich scientific dialogue on campus. The studies of war and its consequences being done by the Joiner Center are of great importance to Robert Glassman.

These are just three of the seventy individuals, corporations, and foundations listed on the Founder’s Circle Wall. And more likely than not, you have felt the impact of the Founder’s Circle donors’ gifts in your classrooms, or have been the direct beneficiary of a scholarship fund.

Located on the first floor of the campus center, on the wall facing Wheatley, the Founder’s Circle Wall consists of four clear glass panels that pay tribute to UMass Boston’s greatest supporters of the past and present. The wall represents the first permanent display that UMass Boston has created to recognize the importance of charitable support for its mission.

How do you get on the wall? Donors whose cumulative philanthropy totals $100,000 or more — or $250,000 in the case of organizations- are honored. It is not only the individual names that embody the shoulders upon which the university stands. Four levels of giving are categorized and named for some legendary figures in UMass Boston’s history. These recognition levels reflect the rich history of UMass Boston, founded in 1964, and that of Boston State College, which jmerged with the university in 1982.

The Founder’s Circle’s four recognition societies are named after beloved faculty member Daisy Tagliocozzo, state senator George V. Kenneally, Jr., one time college president William H. J. Kennedy, and 19th century philanthropist Mary Hemenway. Likewise, the donors whose names grace the wall are those of alumni, current and retired faculty, members of Boston’s business community, and generous friends.

The Daisy Tagliocozzo Society– named for a sociology professor who dedicated her life to scholarship and teaching at UMass Boston-recognizes sixteen donors whose lifetime giving totals each equal more than $1,000,000. The Mary Hemenway Society, the most populous of the recognition levels, boasts thirty members who have given $100,000 or more to various projects across campus. Eleven Founder’s Circle members are alumni.

The Founder’s Circle Wall may just appear to be a list of faceless names, but it is so much more. The Wall is living history, a reminder that our community, those on campus and far beyond, believes so much in the academic potential of its students. More than that, donors have made generous financial gifts to help them realize their dreams and go on to improve society.

Who knows, maybe some day, your professional success will invite you to look back and see that UMass Boston played a major role in your accomplishments. And with luck, you may just decide to give back to the university. It is the university’s greatest hope that someday your name will make its way to the Founder’s Circle wall.

For more information about University Advancement and the Founder’s Circle, visit www.umb.edu/ua. If you would like to learn more about the UMass Boston Fund, work for the phonathon program, or help University Advancement recognize and thank generous donors, contact Vanessa DiCarlo at [email protected].