Letter From the President

Suffolk University President Marisa Kelly

Photography by Michael Clark

Our Way Forward

As the chief health officer of Google, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, BA ’88, HDHL ’10, HDCS ’21, knows a thing or two about crisis. DeSalvo—who is featured on the cover of this issue—has spent the past 18 months leading Google’s response to the pandemic. Previously, as New Orleans’ commissioner of health, she helped that city rethink its approach to public health following Hurricane Katrina.

“I love the challenge of taking a crisis moment and turning it into a lasting movement for change,” DeSalvo said last May, when she spoke at our Sawyer Business School Commencement. At such moments, she said, “Everyone comes together to solve big problems. The pace of innovation quickens, and people, communities, and businesses work together with a shared vision and mutual resolve.

For the past year and a half, I have watched the Suffolk community—our alumni, our students, our employees, and our friends—do just this. Confronted by crisis and uncertainty, you have worked collaboratively to find the way forward and foster lasting positive change in many areas.

In this issue, we share some of those stories. Karen DeSalvo takes us inside Google Health, and shows how the tech company is using its considerable resources to address the deep health disparities the pandemic has exposed. Psychology Professor Jessica Graham-LoPresti, an authority on racial trauma, examines how racism impacts the mental health of communities of color. Tim Phillips, BS ’83, HDHL ’18, founder of Beyond Conflict, the internationally respected conflict resolution organization, points to lessons from abroad that could help ease our own political polarization. And all of the 10 Under 10 alumni honorees profiled here are making a difference across a variety of fields through innovative and important work. I see in the faces of our students this same drive to be successful and desire to make a difference. I see many who will be future 10 Under 10 honorees.

I have been struck by the joy that our students bring to campus, even in the midst of challenging times.”

As students returned to Suffolk this fall, I have been struck by the joy that they bring to campus, even in the midst of challenging times. Their energy and optimism inspire and reinvigorate our entire campus community. I also see the genuine appreciation our students have for the support they get from our alumni, who are engaging with Suffolk as mentors, as networkers, and as donors at higher and higher levels.

Over the past year, your support for Suffolk has been remarkable. Membership in our Deans’ Cabinets for all three schools continues to grow, with generous alumni making commitments of $50,000 and more to the University. Several of you have created major named scholarship funds. Not only are you supporting deserving students across the University, but you are also honoring distinguished members of our faculty, beloved family members, your graduating class or your own legacy here at Suffolk. Support for our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion strategic goals is stronger than ever, with funding from corporations and foundations as well as from individuals. Our Summa Society, for donors who give $1,000 and above, continues to build momentum: More of you contributed at this level last year than at any time in the past 25 years. Together, our alumni and friends generously donated almost $11 million to Suffolk — donations that directly impact our students, most of whom receive some form of financial assistance during their time at Suffolk.

I want to especially highlight one of these gifts, which you can read about on the following pages: a transformational donation from Richard Rosenberg, BSJ ’52, HDCS ’91, the former chairman and CEO of Bank of America, and his wife, Barbara. The Rosenbergs’ $3 million gift supports an important Suffolk 2025 priority, our STEP program—an on-campus apprenticeship program in technology and similar fields that leads to outstanding career outcomes for our students.

We are profoundly grateful to the Rosenbergs, and to the entire Suffolk community, for your support for our students and your unwavering belief in our mission. Our way forward is together.

Marisa Kelly's Signature

Marisa Kelly

Suffolk undergrads Lucia Vilches, Class of 2024, Yasmine Tebib, Class of 2022, and Logan Gozzi, Class of 2024 enjoy a water fountain on a hot summer day in downtown Boston
Suffolk undergrads Lucia Vilches, Class of 2024, Yasmine Tebib, Class of 2022, and Logan Gozzi, Class of 2024.

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