How Suffolk University is responding
to the coronavirus outbreak
Ernst Guerrier with his family—son Myles, wife Marie, and daughter Christa—at the 2019 Suffolk Law Clinical Programs Reception.
Photograph by John Gillooly
Suffolk Trustee and Dean’s Cabinet member Ernst Guerrier BS’91, JD’94 immigrated to Boston from Haiti at age 7, the son of a cab driver and a hospital worker. He learned the value of paying it forward at a pivotal time in his life. The self-described inner-city kid, who grew up in Mattapan, received a helping hand to attend Suffolk as an undergrad and later as a law student.
The opportunity came by way of Richard J. Trifiro JD’57, HLLD’87, the late Boston lawyer and philanthropist who was committed to city youth. The Trifiro family has given nearly $1.6 million to Suffolk and has made a profound impact on the lives and careers of countless Suffolk students who needed financial assistance.
“I asked him: ‘How do I pay you back? Do I have to work for you for 10 years?’ And [Trifino] said, ‘You pay it forward,’” recalls Guerrier.
Today, he runs his own law firm, Guerrier & Associates. “My clients don’t have the opportunity to hire a major Boston law firm; they just don’t have that access,” he says.
Guerrier conceptualized and has championed the Suffolk University Black Alumni Network (SUBAN). Recently, he and his wife, Marie, pledged $100,000, half of which will establish the SUBAN Scholarship Fund—designed for students with an interest in African-American studies and social justice. His efforts also led to the creation of the Suffolk University Celebration of Black Excellence event, which, this year, showcased social equity champions.
Guerrier believes in developing a tradition of hands-on involvement among alumni, and is leading by example. “Giving back means everything to me. Without Suffolk, I would not be here today,” Guerrier says. “My teachers became my friends. My administrators became my mentors. I’m hoping to preserve that opportunity for students who will follow me.”
To join Ernst Guerrier in contributing to the SUBAN Scholarship Fund, text “suban” to 71-777 or visit: app.mobilecause.com/vf/SUBAN.