The University of Massachusetts Boston honored Robert K. Sheridan, president and CEO of Savings Bank Life Insurance, with the Chancellor's Medal for Exemplary Leadership - the university's highest honor - at its seventh annual Scholarship Gala Tuesday night.
More than 550 people filled the university's Campus Center, including Senator Scott Brown, former New England Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi, UMass President Jack Wilson, and incoming President Robert Caret, Board of Trustees Chairman Jim Karam, and event co-chairs Lee Michael Kennedy and Jim Brett.
The medal, awarded by UMass Boston Chancellor J. Keith Motley, acknowledges Sheridan's service as a former vice chairman of the UMass Board of Trustees, his current role as chairman of the UMass Building Authority, and his contributions to a range of charities supporting children, veterans, the disabled, and the prevention of diabetes and kidney disease.
"Good leaders see what others fail to see," Chancellor Motley said. "For years, Bob Sheridan has recognized the University of Massachusetts as the Commonwealth's most treasured gem."
The event, the most successful benefit in UMass Boston's history, attracted 141 sponsors. Nearly $400,000 was raised to endow the new Robert and Jean O'Hara Sheridan Scholarship fund.
The scholarship will be awarded annually to residents of Boston, Jamaica Plain, and Everett who are full-time UMass Boston undergraduates, with a preference for those who participate in co-curricular activities.
Sheridan, a native of Everett and first generation college graduate, benefitted from scholarship support as an undergraduate. More than half of UMass Boston students are also first generation college students. Eighty percent remain in Massachusetts to pursue their careers.
"I know giving is better than receiving, and the loyalty to principle and to individuals cues up success personally and professionally," Sheridan said upon receiving the award. Calling himself a "rabid fan" of UMass, he added, "I continue to see this university as a primary entryway to the world of real opportunity for students from Boston, Everett, the rest of Massachusetts, and elsewhere."