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Carolyn Lynch, Regis 2012
Peter and I have been very fortunate in our lives. He likes to say we “won the baby lottery.” We both grew up in happy homes, attended public schools and received excellent educations.
In 1988 we opened our foundation and, thanks to a good economy and Peter’s acumen in the stock market, the foundation has grown and allowed us to invest in many worthy charities. This philanthropy has been so much a part of our lives, and over the years has brought happiness to us.
Your Founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph, wrote the motto “excellence with gentleness” for Regis College. This clearly proclaims not only your high academic standards, but also a caring responsibility to help those less fortunate with gentleness and with dignity. For example, the amazing model the faculty here provides with its commitment to the Partners in Health, Haiti project. I am sure you all know the book Mountains beyond Mountains; your alma mater personifies this ethic of outreach and caring. As Regis graduates, I am sure you will all participate in some type of charity work, of giving to others.
So the question for you graduates is not whether, but how does one decide what causes to support, what needs to address, and what charitable goals to pursue.
As I said, Peter and I both profited from good educations. And because education means so much to us, we have decided to focus our charity work in that area. I have traveled all over the country observing and meeting with educators and students in order to learn as much as I could. I am curious, I am excited, and I am engaged.
It is exciting to look back on the changes in education from my childhood to now. When I went to school there was no such thing as a kindergarten, when our daughters went it was pretty much structured play, and now when our grandchildren are in kindergarten, they have iPads! This is incredible.
Over the years we have contributed to many educational initiatives. In general we like to support programs in their early phases, to give new ideas a chance.
Here are a few of the dozens of education organizations we have supported.
We were one of the first donors to City Year, a successful student mentor program that started here in Boston and has now spread internationally.
Teach for America, a group we supported from its beginnings brings dedicated young people into the classroom to expose them to careers in education, to inform them on our educational system, and to help the children learn.
The Urban Improv is an interactive program for young people that uses improvisational theater workshops in schools to teach violence prevention, bullying, and conflict resolution The Boston Schoolyard Initiative transformed 81 schoolyards from barren asphalt lots into dynamic centers for recreation and learning.
The KHAN academy is a fascinating one. It is a library of 15 minute videos addressing different subjects such as calculus and world history. Through their program of demonstrations and self-quizzes, students progress through a series of lessons toward competency. I think you will be surprise how effective and well done these presentations are. Just Google it. KHAN. I know you will be recommending it to your younger brothers and sisters. It’s incredible and it has the potential to reach millions of students of all ages.
In addition to our work in education we are very committed to improving healthcare both here in the US and around the world.
We began working with Partners in Health in Haiti in 1992, and have continued our close relationship for the past twenty years.
In 1994 we expanded our involvement with Partners by funding a pilot project with them in Peru to quell the outbreak of drug resistant tuberculosis. This disease is one of the gravest threats to world health and currently kills 5 million people a year. I am very pleased to report that, at the conclusion of this study, Dr. Farmer’s treatment was proven to be successful in limiting the spread and decreasing the mortality rate. His organization has truly accomplished a miracle. I was so happy to learn of the partnership Regis College has with the Haiti program. The challenges of poverty and crippled infrastructure at times seem overwhelming, but it is heartening to know that Regis is there.
With this diploma, you have received a remarkable start for your life. Through the College’s partnerships with industries, hospitals, biotech companies, and the non-profit world you have been able to have unique learning experiences. This is truly the best preparation for life. The world is growing and changing faster then ever before, and the potential to be a constructive part of the formation of a healthy new society has never been greater.
I am excited to see where you will go, what you will do, and the changes you will make. I wish you all happy and fulfilling lives.