When Roger Cressey was a UMass Lowell student back in the mid- 1980s, he learned a valuable lesson about international affairs.
“The Berlin Wall fell when I was taking a course on communism,” he noted, as part of the F. Bradford Morse Distinguished Lecture he delivered recently. “All the books and syllabi went out the window. We read newspapers and we talked, because no one knew how it was going to break. It’s the same now in the Middle East — no one knows how it’s going to break, but we hope it will be in a good way.”
Cressey — an expert in counterterrorism and security who has worked for the Clinton and Bush administrations, the Departments of Defense and State and with U.N. peacekeeping missions — was a founding member of UMass Lowell’s International Relations Club.
The lecture and dinner was presented by UMass Lowell and Middlesex Community College to benefit the Morse Endowment for the study of international relations, sustainable development and peace and featuring the Dean Bergeron International Relations Club Model UN High School Program and in cooperation with the UMass Lowell Department of Political Science. Alums, students, professors and community members gathered to hear Cressey, ’87, speak about the current turmoil in the Middle East and to benefit the IRC.
Speaking specifically to students, Cressey quoted influential late U.S. Rep. Shirley Chisholm, who when asked why she served her country replied, “Service is the rent we pay for room on this Earth.”
"Students: Give Back"
Added Cressey, “We have a question to answer. What is our role here and what will we do with it? That’s for us to figure out, especially the students. Give back; it’s an obligation. Find the most satisfying and fitting way for you and start giving.”
“You can’t miss an IRC student in class. They are bright, confident and articulate,” said Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney in her opening remarks before the lecture. “This is the spirit the IRC was founded and directed under by Dean Bergeron and that is no different today.”
“I remember Roger … in the front row of my Intro to American Politics course,” Bergeron said. He knew that Cressey would be big, but had no idea that he would go on to be a leader in the security field. “And he’s just one example of hundreds.”
Student Government Association president and IRC member Michael Mizzoni updated the audience on the IRC’s recent trip to a competition in Turkey where they earned more awards than any other team.
“We would not have these opportunities without the support of all of you,” Mizzoni said, thanking the audience for their support of the program.