Bequest Extends Retired Professor’s Commitment to Students
"By including UMass Boston in my will, I am confident that future students at the university will receive the same type of position influences that I hope I've had on their lives."
Graduating as class president at Roxbury Memorial High School, Professor Herman W. Hemingway faced a tough choice: Should he accept a full scholarship to Harvard, Boston College, or Brandeis?
Characteristic of his trailblazing ways, Hemingway chose to enroll at the brand-new Brandeis because it was "innovative and exciting." Hemingway displayed the same spirit of independence as a 15-year-old member of the NAACP Youth Council, which protested department store job discrimination in Boston.
A fraternity brother and close friend of Martin Luther King, Jr., Hemingway was the first black male to graduate from Brandeis. Following four years in the Air Force, and then law school at Suffolk University, he launched an expansive career fostering justice and equality, including 23 years teaching law and criminal justice at UMass Boston.
His university service began as chair of the public service department at Boston State, before migrating to Columbia Point as Criminal Justice Department chair with a tenured full professorship.
Last fall Hemingway wrote to Chancellor J. Keith Motley to blaze yet another trail, supporting future UMass Boston students through a bequest intention.
He has never seen the university better positioned to influence dynamic social change because of a convergence of "strong leadership, deep capacity, and a willingness to engage with the community."
Hemingway admires the "impressive ambitions" of the UMass Boston students he was privileged to teach, and appreciated mentoring them toward public service careers in the justice system. His devoted teaching was enriched by extensive local, national, and international professional milestones.
Locally he was a public defender in Roxbury, acting administrator of the Boston Housing Authority, deputy commissioner of the Boston Housing Inspection Department, and one of the founders of the Boston Housing Court and Boston Human Rights Commission. Street Lawyers, a program Hemingway created, educated young urban students about the law.
Nationally, he was chair of the Committee on Disadvantaged and Poor for the National Commission on Mental Health. Under the auspices of the U.S State Department, Hemingway, a senior fellow of UMass Boston's McCormack Institute, lectured internationally in several African nations about the American legal system. He was also senior lecturer in Nigerian Family Law at Ahmadu Bello University. He brought these experiences to bear when appointed community research fellow in the MIT program created by activist Mel King and then-President Jerome Wiesner.
Throughout his career, Hemingway has been committed to improving criminal justice by educating young people about their rights, engaging the community to inspire participation, and encouraging communication between the system's disparate departments. He continues to practice law in the community, representing immigrants and other clients.
In his spare time, Hemingway teaches "Crime and the Constitution" in the university's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OOLI) program and has volunteered to engage retired faculty in campus life. Last spring, Hemingway was pleased to join the first group of retired faculty to march in UMass Boston's commencement, a new annual tradition. He has also been a key advisor to the Faculty Development Fund, supported by retired faculty, which awards grants to young scholars to pursue research directed toward social change.
Hemingway is delighted that his bequest intention deepens his connections to campus and will extend in perpetuity the values he holds dear.