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Chancellor J. Keith Motley and Board of Visitors Chair Selma Sax '63 (far right) honor Theresa Mortimer and Shaun O'Connell.
November 4, 2015

UMass Boston Celebrates Faculty and Staff for Years of Service


  • Boston

Last year, UMass Boston turned 50. Last Wednesday, Chancellor J. Keith Motley and the Human Resources Department celebrated another anniversary, honoring two people  — Assistant Chancellor Theresa Mortimer and Professor of English Shaun O’Connell — who have worked at the university for 50 years.

Theresa Mortimer, circa 1980s

Mortimer began her career as a faculty member in the Department of Foreign Languages at legacy school Boston State College; when she came to UMass Boston in 1982, she was an associate professor in the Department of Hispanic Studies.

Mortimer says both UMass Boston and Boston State College had the same values and focus on a student-centered experience.

“UMass Boston students are intelligent, resourceful, not afraid of challenges, and they don’t shrink,” Mortimer said. “There’s something about the ethics of here, of the faculty, the staff, and the students for each other. There is something inherent that makes it the place to be.”

Shaun O'Connell in the first faculty photo

Shaun O’Connell can be seen in the fourth row, third from the left, in UMass Boston’s first faculty photo, courtesy of the University Archives and Special Collections Department in the Joseph P. Healey Library. Since 1965, O’Connell has been teaching courses in American, Irish, and English literature, mostly from the post-Civil War and early 20th century.

“My happiest moments at UMass Boston come every year during commencement ceremonies when the chancellor asks the graduates who are the first in their families to attend college to stand and be applauded and cheered,” O’Connell said. “I was just that, myself, when I went off to UMass Amherst in 1953, so it cheers me to see, year after year, other students benefiting from a great public education at UMass Boston.”

The university also honored Chair and Professor of Chemistry Robert Carter and Professor of History Spencer Di Scala for 45 years of service, Professor of Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures Diana Burgin for 40 years of service, and staff and faculty members with 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, and 35 years of service.

“We would not be as successful as we are today without you,” Motley said. “And we cannot continue to be successful in the future without each and every one of you, your commitment, your dedication, and your support. I hope that you continue to dedicate yourselves to the University of Massachusetts Boston and to our mission.”

This is the 19th year the university has held the Chancellor’s Years of Service Celebration.