UMass Boston

Beacon Awards Honor Alumni for Commitment to Excellence in Community 2023

05/09/2023| Alumni Magazine

The UMass Boston Alumni Association honored four alumni at its annual Beacon Awards Celebration on October 1. The luncheon was hosted as part of the Office of Alumni Engagement’s inaugural Beacon Bash, a homecoming-style event for alumni and friends of UMass Boston.

The Beacon Awards comprise of the Emerging Leader Award, the Distinguished Alumni Award, and the Outstanding Service Award. The latter two awards acknowledge alumni from UMass Boston and its predecessor school, Boston State College. The awards celebrate alumni who have attained notable achievement and have made a lasting contribution to the university and in their professional, philanthropic, or volunteer endeavors. 

Paul J. Dyson Jr. ’00  

UMass Boston Distinguished Alumni Award

Award for his commitment to the university and its students. A U.S. Army veteran, Paul has been a longtime advisor and advocate for the UMass Boston Veterans Center. He organized Veterans Day Reading, an event where veterans read their creative and nonfiction writing to fellow vets and civilians. Additionally, he devised many innovative courses on veterans’ experiences for the Honors College, and taught related courses, such as an inspiring seminar on war in literature. Paul has participated in the Boston Marathon on the Run for Krystle Team for the past seven years, raising over $40,000 for the UMass Boston Krystle Campbell Scholarship Fund. Throughout his time at UMass Boston, both an alumnus and faculty member, Paul has showcased leadership, dedication, and innovation to the UMass Boston community.

Tariana V. Little '12, G'17

UMass Boston Emerging Leader Award

Drawing from her deep commitment to social justice, Tariana co-founded the award-winning media and communications company EmVision Productions in 2013, which multiplies economic development and social change impacts by exploring each client's institutional goals and identifying how visual and design media can further them. The Boston Foundation and Amplify Latinx are just two of the high-impact organizations that have turned to Tariana and EmVision to feature the work of visionary, collaborative leaders to recognize talent while inspiring others. Tariana contributes in many ways to organizations and causes that promote social justice knowledge about activism and equity.

Robert Sanborn ’81

UMass Boston Outstanding Service Award

Robert has dedicated his career to the development of housing solutions for homeless people with disabilities. In addition to overseeing development of over 2,500 special needs housing units, Robert has built organizations, created connections, and been a part of the increasing refinement of the development model of permanent supportive housing. While at UMass Boston, Robert interned with late Mel King G’52, H’14 as an organizer working in Roxbury. At UMass Boston, he advocated projects to increase equity and inclusiveness at the then-new campus. He has served as a panelist, presenter, and moderator at countless conferences over the years, with the mission of disseminating information and raising awareness on topics such as affordable and supportive housing.

Anne Scordino Larkin ’59  

Boston State College Distinguished Alumni Award

A graduate of Boston Teachers College, Anne is a lifelong advocate of education and, in particular, special education. She has held professorships in the Lesley College Laboratory Schools for Children and the Graduate School of Education at Lesley University. She founded and served as the first president of Personal Advocacy and Lifetime Support, an organization that helps families plan for the future of their children with disabilities. She has served on several boards, including Cambridge Family and Children Services (now known as Bridges Homeward) and the New England Resource Center for Higher Education. She served on the Massachusetts State Board of Education, and was elected to represent Massachusetts on the National State Boards of Education. Anne has published numerous articles on autism, the role of the arts in special education, school restructuring, and early literacy.

To read about previous Beacon Awards recipients and learn how to nominate a UMass Boston or Boston State College alum, please visit