UMass Boston Honors East Boston Housing Advocate with Quinn Award at 25th Annual Community Breakfast

March 23, 2011

Office of Communications

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The University of Massachusetts Boston honored Mossik Hacobian, an outspoken advocate for affordable housing and former president of the Urban Edge community development corporation, with the Robert H. Quinn Award for Outstanding Community Leadership at its 25th Annual Community Breakfast.

The Quinn Award was established in honor of Robert H. Quinn, a former speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, former attorney general, and former chair of the UMass Board of Trustees.

An East Boston resident who emigrated here from Tehran with his parents five decades ago, Hacobian has dedicated himself to developing and sustaining stable, healthy, and diverse communities in the Boston area. Under his leadership, Jamaica Plain-based Urban Edge has helped develop 1,350 units of affordable housing, and 81,500 square feet of retail and community facilities.

“Mossik Hacobian has helped change the face of Boston and its neighborhoods for the better,” Chancellor J. Keith Motley said. “Although he is no longer CEO of Urban Edge, he is still demonstrating his commitment to the organization by remaining active in Urban Edge’s projects.”

The Quinn Award is presented annually by UMass Boston to honor individuals whose contributions have significantly improved the quality of life in the Greater Boston area. Former awardees include South Boston native and MassHousing official Thomas Lyons, and Carline Desire, executive director of the Association of Haitian Women in Boston.

More than 100 community leaders from the Greater Boston area gathered for the breakfast, which was held in UMass Boston’s Campus Center Ballroom.

Also being honored at the Community Breakfast was Clear Channel’s Outdoor Boston Division President Stephen Ross, of Andover. Ross received the Chancellor’s Award for Longstanding Community Commitment and Service for his division’s generous donations to, and partnerships with, many charitable, civic, and governmental organizations that promote positivity in their communities.

Last October, Ross and his division at Clear Channel donated the printing costs and use of eight billboards across Boston for UMass Boston’s “Peace: What’s it to you?” campaign.

Teens in the Boston Police Department’s Youth & Police in Partnership and District B-2 Summer Explorers created posters promoting peace and tolerance in their communities, and UMass Boston took all the posters and created two billboards showcasing the work.

“Because of Stephen Ross and Clear Channel, these billboards are all over the city, and will be until the fall – you’ve probably seen them around Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury,” Chancellor Motley said. “We are so grateful for Clear Channel’s involvement in this effort, and especially for Stephen Ross’s willingness to partner with us and help our ideas come to fruition.”

About the University of Massachusetts Boston

With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s eight colleges and graduate schools serve more than 15,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu