Fund Honors Late Alumnus Lt. Col. Michael B. Shanahan
By Christine Gillette
The legacy of the late Lt. Col. Michael B. Shanahan, a former state trooper and UMass Lowell alumnus, is helping outstanding criminal justice students achieve their educational goals.
The scholarship endowment founded three years ago by the family of Shanahan, who lived in Andover, recently named two outstanding UMass Lowell criminal justice majors as this year’s recipients. Kyle Napolitano of Holliston and Robert Silva of Waltham each received $1,200 scholarships. This is the first year that two scholarships were awarded.
The Lt. Col. Michael B. Shanahan Memorial Scholarship is the first at UMass Lowell specifically for criminal justice majors. It was established in 2008 by Shanahan’s wife, Diane, and children, Michael, an Andover police officer, and Christina. Thanks to the support of family, friends, businesses and numerous law enforcement agencies, the scholarship fund quickly reached endowment status, creating a lasting tribute.
“The students chosen truly exemplify who Mike was: accomplished, dedicated and hardworking,” says Diane Shanahan. “As a family, we will continue to honor and memorialize him in a way that will inspire others through the gift of education.”
Napolitano – a senior who is majoring in criminal justice with a concentration in police work and minoring in business – chose law enforcement as a career path because he wants to make a difference in society. He intends to pursue a master’s degree in criminal justice after graduating from UMass Lowell.
For Silva, the scholarship is helping him realize a lifelong dream to be a police officer. Silva, who will be a junior this fall, is majoring in criminal justice with a concentration in police work and minoring in peace and conflict studies. A dean’s list student who plans to go on for a master’s degree at UMass Lowell, Silva is also a resident adviser in one of the University’s residence halls, participating in campus programming and mentoring first-year students.
Michael Shanahan, a 1985 graduate of UMass Lowell, was a member of the U.S. Marine Corps, serving two tours of duty in the Vietnam War and earning the rank of sergeant. He received numerous awards and was honorably discharged in 1970. In 1971, he joined the State Police and reached the rank of lieutenant colonel before retiring after 25 years of service. He joined Bank of America as a senior corporate security investigator/manager in 1998. After fighting a valiant battle with cancer, he succumbed to the disease in 2006.
This year’s scholarships were presented at a recent reception at Allen House attended by Chancellor Marty Meehan, the Shanahan family, members of the law enforcement community, as well as faculty, students and alumni of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
Prior recipients of the scholarship were Steve Parent of Leominster in 2009, who was the first in his family to earn a college degree, and Awilda Pimentel of Lawrence in 2010, who has been a leader in university and community activities, especially those that assist people in need.
More than 300 graduate and nearly 800 undergraduate students are enrolled in the criminal justice degree programs at UMass Lowell. A new doctoral program in criminal justice will be offered starting this fall. Established in 1974, the department has continued to attract many of the best and brightest dedicated to pursuing a career in law enforcement.