LOWELL, Mass. – Three donors have made gifts totaling $1.625 million in support of UMass Lowell’s first-ever comprehensive fundraising campaign, “Our Legacy, Our Place.”  

Chancellor Jacquie Moloney announced the gifts as part of UMass Lowell’s Commencement weekend festivities. Two of the donors are alumni who were honored during Commencement ceremonies on May 14: John F. Kennedy, a 1970 graduate of Lowell Technological Institute who received an honorary degree, and L. Donald LaTorre, a 1959 Lowell Tech grad who received the Distinguished Alumni Award. The third donor is Jack M. Wilson, president emeritus of the University of Massachusetts and UMass Lowell distinguished professor of higher education, emerging technologies and innovation. 

“My older brother and I were both first-generation college students and our family could not afford to send us to a private institution,” Kennedy said. “I’m proud to say that all of my higher education has been at public universities and therefore, I really believe in them and support them.”

After earning his degree at what is now UMass Lowell, Kennedy went on to a highly successful, 30-year career in the tech sector, retiring as the president and chief financial officer of Nova Analytics and Nova Technologies in 2007.

Last fall, UMass Lowell recognized Kennedy’s long and generous record of philanthropy by naming its College of Sciences in honor of the Kennedy brothers. His latest gift creates a $1 million endowed fund to provide operational support for the William J. and John F. Kennedy College of Sciences.

LaTorre is the president of L&G Management Consultants and former president and chief operating officer of Engelhard Corp. He and his wife, Gloria, have made a $350,000 gift to endow the LaTorre Family Scholarship Fund, which will expand scholarship support for students in the Kennedy College of Sciences. At the Commencement Eve Celebration, LaTorre urged graduating seniors to use their education, ambition and integrity to “make a contribution in this world, because this world really needs your help.”

Wilson and his wife, Judi, have made a $275,000 gift to underwrite the President Jack M. Wilson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation. The Wilson Center will be a cornerstone of the Pulichino Tong Business Center, the dynamic new home for the Manning School of Business, which is now under construction and is scheduled to open in 2017. 

“Our Legacy, Our Place” will provide support for student scholarships, faculty recruitment and research, campus improvements and the new Division I athletics program at UMass Lowell. The campaign, which officially launched last month with the goal of raising $125 million by 2020, has already raised more than $82 million, including these latest donations and a $1 million gift from campaign chairman Robert J. Manning in support of the School of Nursing that was announced at the campaign launch event on April 15.

“UMass Lowell is most grateful for the generous support for the ‘Our Legacy, Our Place’ campaign and the commitment these gifts represent to student scholarships as well as the future of our university and the transformational education, life-changing research and positive economic impact it provides,” said Moloney.

More information about the “Our Legacy, Our Place” campaign is available at www.uml.edu/ourlegacy-ourplace.