Former Celtics Player Chris Herren Launches Project Purple at UMass Boston

Office of Communications | April 24, 2012
Chris Herren signs an autograph for a local student.


Substance Abuse Awareness Campaign Aims to Educate the Public

Former Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets player Chris Herren visited the University of Massachusetts Boston April 23 to kick off Project Purple, his new anti-subtance abuse awareness campaign. Herren spoke to nearly 400 UMass Boston students, staff, and youth from Boston's community centers about his path to fame and his subsequent battle with addiction, moving several members of the audience to tears.

The Fall River native was a star basketball player at Durfee High School and attended Boston College on a scholarship before being drafted to play in the NBA, but struggled with substance abuse for most of his career. After almost losing it all — being arrested and nearly dying on more than one occasion —  Herren has been alcohol- and drug-free since August 1, 2008.

"Know that one decision one day will flip your world upside down if it's the wrong one," Herren said.

Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley, and Chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees James Karam were on hand to speak of the importance of substance abuse awareness on an educational level and in government programs.

Herren, now a motivational speaker, author, and sobriety advocate, launched Project Purple to help assist individuals and families struggling with addiction. Project Purple was launched to break the stigma of addiction, bring awareness to the dangers of substance abuse, and shed light on effective treatment practices, Herren said.

The following day, Tuesday, April 24, the Prudential Tower, and other landmarks, including UMass Boston’s Campus Center and the South Boston Gas Tanks, went “Go Purple” in support of Project Purple.

The Office of Community Relations was instrumental in bringing Herren to campus to share his message with students and local youth. Learn more about Project Purple.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex urban 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 nearly 16,000 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.

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