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Champion of the Arts Award

Nancy L. Donahue

Presented by Chancellor Jacquie Moloney to Nancy L. Donahue

When Nancy L. Donahue ’13 (H) was growing up, she learned an important lesson from her mother: Volunteering is a way of life. 
It’s a lesson she has shared with others. “I tell my kids and my grandkids, you can’t change the whole world, but you can change your own little world. You can do something. We can all do something,” Donahue says.
In 1953, when she married her husband, the late Richard Donahue ’91 (H), they moved to Lowell, and she immediately began volunteering in the community. They raised 11 children in Lowell, and when they moved for Richard’s jobs, they always returned to the Mill City.
Described by her admiring friends and colleagues as a “force,” she is known for her commitment and willingness to take on big projects, like she did in 1979, when she helped found the Merrimack Repertory Theatre. She has also been a driving “force” at the New England Quilt Museum and the Whistler House Museum of Art, as well as other local organizations.
As the first director of the University of Lowell Foundation, Donahue brought renowned artists like Yo-Yo Ma to campus for fundraising concerts. Later, she served on the Chancellor’s External Advisory Task Force and as a member of the Campaign Executive Committee for Our Legacy, Our Place, the university’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign.
In addition to supporting a wide range of scholarships and university programs, the Donahues established the Nancy L. Donahue Endowed Professorship in the Arts. UMass Lowell awarded Nancy Donahue an honorary degree in 2013.
She stepped forward in 2017 to name the Donahue Center for Business Ethics and Social Responsibility in the Manning School of Business. The Donahue Center is becoming widely recognized as a national model in ethics education and leadership.
As a close friend and community partner to UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney ’75, ’92, Nancy Donahue has helped build and transform the arts — not just on campus, but throughout the Merrimack Valley. 

Excellence in the Arts Student Awards

  • Theatre Arts – Cristian Ramos Delgado ’22
  • Art & Design – Ariana E. Bellan ’22
  • Creative Writing – Blake Hammond ’24
  • Music – Dominique Haughton ’22
  • Digital Media – Daniel (DJ) Cremin ’22
Sponsored by the College of Fine Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences