University of Massachusetts Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley paid tribute to the Honorable Robert H. Quinn’s legacy and memory at the university’s 28th annual Community Breakfast today.
Quinn, a former speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, former attorney general, and former chair of the UMass Board of Trustees, passed away earlier this year.
He was among the state legislators who passed a bill establishing UMass Boston in 1964.
“I am gratified and proud that he was able to see the university he helped found mark this milestone anniversary, fulfilling and expanding upon his vision to provide our students with, in his words, ‘a foothold toward achieving the American dream,’” Motley said. “In everything we do, in everything we have done in those 50 years, and in each of our plans for the next 50, there is a reflection of Bob’s dreams for our campus and our students.”
Motley honored Sophia Haynes-Cardwell, creator and coordinator of the dance ministry Souls on Fire at the New Dimension Church, with the Robert H. Quinn Award for Outstanding Community Leadership.
UMass Boston established the Robert H. Quinn Award for Outstanding Community Leadership in 1987. The award is presented annually by UMass Boston to honor individuals whose contributions have significantly improved the quality of life in the Boston area.
Haynes-Cardwell, owner of Stajez Dance Studio and coordinator of the dance program at the Blue Hill Boys & Girls Club of Dorchester, has dedicated her career to giving young people the opportunity to express themselves through dance, at a lower cost than what many other studios and teachers may charge.
She teaches jazz, ballet, contemporary, tap, African, liturgical, and hip-hop dance to children and teenagers in her community and beyond, still making time for service to local churches and philanthropic organizations. Through her support, caring, and involvement in children’s lives, she has mentored generations of confident, empowered young people, and instilled them with a passion for creativity and expression.
"I am extremely humbled by this award and grateful. And I feel that I still have such a long way to go because of Robert Quinn and so many others, the work and the legacy that they've left behind, that I still have a lot of work to do,” Haynes-Cardwell said.
Also honored at the Community Breakfast was Lou Pasquale, longtime manager for Philips Family Properties, and a World War II veteran, who received the Chancellor’s Award for Longstanding Community Commitment and Service.
For generations of Dorchester and South Boston residents, Lou Pasquale has been their confidant, mentor, friend, and sometimes even their rescuer. A former bricklayer who left the building industry to work for the Philips family enterprises in 1957, Pasquale still works five days a week at age 87, helping customers in any way he can and providing wise and compassionate counsel to anyone in need.
A kind heart and charismatic presence, Pasquale is committed to raising money for disabled veterans; since he began fundraising for the Massachusetts chapter of Disabled American Veterans, they have been able to purchase 19 special vans for veterans.
Close to 300 people attended the community breakfast in UMass Boston’s Campus Center, including state Senator Linda Dorcena Forry, state Representative Nick Collins, Dan Cullinane, and Bruce Ayers, state Representative Elect Dan Hunt, City Councilor Frank Baker, Sheriff Steve Thompkins, Hon. Thomas Finneran, Hon. Richard Rouse, and Hon. James T. Brett.
“We support each other. We help each other. The give and take between our community and our students, faculty, staff, and administration is what keeps us going – and what helps us accomplish great things together,” Motley said.
About UMass Boston
Recognized for its 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 11 colleges and graduate schools serve 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.