The Home Team
Ask Boston’s longest-serving mayor if there is a particular symbol of the city that says “home” to him, and it quickly becomes apparent why the bond with his constituents is so strong. “Nothing says ‘Boston’ and ‘home’ to me like Fenway Park,” replies Thomas Menino, who has become something of a city icon himself. Spoken like a true Bostonian, but how strong does that connection remain when someone moves on?
Rich Hill was a relief pitcher for the Red Sox from 2010 to 2012, but he played for the Chicago Cubs and the Baltimore Orioles beforehand and currently is on the roster of the Cleveland Indians. So where does Hill think of as “home” these days? “Boston, definitely Boston,” he says emphatically. As a freshman at Milton High School, Hill played varsity baseball. His father, Lloyd Hill JD ’71, a former principal at Quincy High School, used to take his son skating in Milton, to local collectors’ shops in search of baseball cards, and, yes, to Fenway. So these days, after the baseball season is over, Rich Hill takes his own son to enjoy these activities. “For me, going back home, knowing the environment you’re familiar with, is always a great thing,” he says.
Known as “the Pride of Hyde Park” (Boston), relief pitcher Manny Delcarmen played for the Red Sox from 2005 to 2010. After a year with the Colorado Rockies, he played on minor league teams with the Seattle Mariners, the Texas Rangers, and the New York Yankees before signing on with his current team, the Norfolk Tides. Of his years with the Sox, Delcarmen recalls, “On the road, it also felt like home because we had some of the most dedicated fans in baseball.” Playing in his hometown “was great. I tried my best to give back to the city that gave me a lot.”
Sometimes absence really does make the heart grow fonder, but in considering all his homecomings during his two decades as mayor, the one that Tom Menino considers most memorable began right here. “Last year I dealt with some health issues that had me stuck in a hospital bed,” he recalls. “I was determined to regain my strength in time for the visit I make every year on Christmas Eve to the Bowdoin-Geneva neighborhood in Dorchester. I left the hospital on a Sunday morning, December 23. The next afternoon I went out to St. Peter’s Teen Center to see the kids there and make sure the neighborhood knew I’ll always be there for them. Even though I never left the city, that’s the one homecoming I’ll always remember best.”
With its location in the very hub of The Hub, Suffolk has always been inseparable from Boston, but Mayor Menino, now in his fifth and final term, characterizes the bond as one that has only grown deeper. “There was a time when the City and Suffolk had some issues, some disagreements, when it came to the best way to expand the University and be a part of the neighborhood,” he says with his trademark candor. “But we’ve got a success story now. We’ve been able to become partners with Suffolk and work together to come up with the best compromise—for the University, for our students, for our residents, and for the city. Suffolk has stepped up to the plate when we’ve asked them to make tough decisions and when we’ve needed their help. Suffolk University is a great neighbor, in a great neighborhood.”
The connection between the University and the city is such a strong one that it’s as if every Suffolk degree makes its recipient an honorary citizen of Boston for life. So when alumni return for homecoming this fall, they will find that wherever life’s journey has taken them, they are very much at home. And they will discover in these pages the varied and fascinating stories of fellow graduates who share a unique connection with Boston: alumni like Boston Police Superintendent William Evans BS ’82, whose leadership during the Boston Marathon bombings in April was previously chronicled in this space; Massachusetts Secretary of Education Matt Malone BA ’93, whose ambitious agenda for Bay State schools is limited only by the quickly elapsing days left in his term; and Roger Wellington MPA ’01 who, for more than two decades, has served the city’s homeless by catering to some of its corporate leaders.
Then there’s Jonny Orsini BS ’07, fresh from his Broadway debut opposite Nathan Lane and returning to Suffolk before heading back to appear in Macbeth with Ethan Hawke this fall. What a homecoming! This issue of SAM is inspired by Homecoming Weekend but also, it is about your home: Suffolk and Boston. “Home,” Delcarmen declares, “will always be Beantown. What can I say? I was born there, played for years, and I love the snow. I’m a Bostonian for life. No other place is home.”