By From the Lowell Sun
By Matt Murphy
LOWELL -- A generous new gift to the University of Massachusetts Lowell will enable campus leaders to bring distinguished advocates for peace and humanitarianism to campus each year, upping the profile of UMass Lowell and continuing in the tradition of the late Rev. Dana McLean Greeley.
The donation from the Greeley Foundation for Peace and Justice for $511,500, including state matching funds, is the second major gift to the university in as many weeks.
It follows a $3 million donation from UMass Lowell alumnus Charlie Hoff last week to help create a $10 million scholarship endowment for disadvantaged students system wide.
"What an honor for the university to play this role," said UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan. "There have been times in the history of this country when universities played the role of promoting peace and that is so important today."
The gift will help create the Dana McLean Greeley Endowment for Peace Studies, run through the university's Peace and Conflicts Study Institute.
The institute plans to target Nobel peace laureates for their first Greeley visiting scholar this spring, who will work with students and faculty to coordinate seminars and discussions on campus around peace, humanitarianism and conflict-resolution throughout the world.
Greeley, who died in 1986, was a minister with the Unitarian Universalist Church in Concord who became an internationally known social activist.
He marched for civil rights in Selma, Ala., in 1965 and visited Vietnam twice in the 1960s to advocate an end to the war.
Born in Lexington, Greeley became the founding president of the Unitarian Universalist Association. He graduated from Harvard University and Harvard Divinity School.
"It just feels wonderful to have the work he dedicated so much time and energy to go forward," said Faith Greeley Scovel, Greeley's daughter.
The Greeley Foundation for Peace and Justice was founded in 1986 in Concord as a charitable foundation to carry on Greeley's legacy.
Between 1986 and 2006, the foundation awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to grass-roots organization throughout Greater Boston and the Merrimack Valley.
But after 20 years of charitable giving, the foundation decided last year to dissolve itself and distribute nearly $1 million to five nonprofit organizations that could continue with the work to which Greeley dedicated his life for years to come.
UMass Lowell received the largest of the five donations -- $341,000. The other four gifts went to the Harvard Divinity School, the International Association for Religious Freedom, Religions for Peace and the Jericho Road Project.
"With this gift, we are institutionalizing peace. This endowment will allow PACSI to expand its mission to promote education, research, and practice concerning peace and conflict issues," said UMass Lowell professor Robert Gamache, a co-director of PACSI.
The gift was coordinated for the university by Brian Andriolo, associate director of development, and Paul Marion, executive director of outreach.