The John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation Public Service Award will be awarded to William M. Bulger, who was the longest serving state Senate president in Massachusetts history, at the Foundation’s eighth Annual Scholarship Award Ceremony on Thursday, May 21, 2009, at Suffolk University Law School.

Twenty-eight scholarships will be presented to students pursuing higher education at the undergraduate or graduate level and to vocational students. More than $110,000 in scholarships will be awarded.

Bulger, an attorney, also served as a state representative, state senator and president of the University of Massachusetts. He is a key supporter of the Boston Public Library and the Boston Symphony Orchestra.

Bulger and Moakley, both lifelong residents of South Boston, were colleagues and friends who studied law and made it their mission to put it to work for the public good.

“The Moakley Foundation is proud to honor President William M. Bulger with the 2009 Moakley Foundation Public Service Award in recognition of his long and distinguished service to the people of Massachusetts,” said Frederick Clark, president of the John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation and Executive Officer of the Council of Presidents of the Massachusetts State Colleges.

“Given that education has long been a focus of President Bulger’s public service and that his erudition is seldom matched in public life, it is fitting that we will honor him as we award these scholarships to deserving students,” said Clark.

The Foundation’s Scholarship Award Ceremony will take place from 5 to 7 p.m. at Suffolk University Law School, which is the home of the John Joseph Moakley Archive and Institute.

The John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation awards scholarships on a competitive basis each spring to successful applicants who demonstrate financial need, acceptance to a post-secondary vocational education program or to an institution of higher education for undergraduate or graduate study, and a desire to pursue public or charitable service as a vocation or as an avocation.

The John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation was established to continue the extraordinary public service legacy of Congressman Moakley, whose career as a public servant spanned nearly 50 years and who had long championed improving educational opportunities for all people. The John Joseph Moakley Charitable Foundation is committed to continuing his work through its scholarship program. To date the Moakley Foundation has awarded more than $1.41 million in scholarships and grants since its creation in 2001