BOIVIN CENTER FOR FRENCH LANGUAGE AND CULTURE
On April 10, 1985, the Boivin Center for French Language and Culture was created at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, thanks to a donation of $100,000 by Dr. Omer Boivin, a 95-year-old Fall River physician and prominent member of the Franco-American community.
Dr. Boivin expressed his wish that the Center would serve as a testimonial par excellence to the study of and interest in la belle et douce langue française which meant so much to him personally. The Center was named in honor of the doctor and his wife.
Long active in Franco-American affairs, Boivin didn't want people of French descent to forget their important heritage. "French is the language of diplomacy," he once told me. "It's an internationally important language. There is no other language quite like it ... I want to bring back the French language and culture to this area." Boivin continued, "I believe the University affords residents of this area the greatest opportunity to keep French alive."
Over the years, the Center has awarded yearly Boivin scholarships, has offered a certificate program in International Marketing and French, and has sponsored a plethora of important cultural programs.
Just this past year, for example, the array of prominent guests, drew crowds of enthusiastic students, faculty, members of the community and invited guests. Former U.S. Senator Paul Simon (IL) spoke on "The importance of Foreign Language Study in Today's World." Professor William Carter lectured on "Marcel Proust: The Great Adventurer." Marcel Marceau actually spoke on his life and career. Polly Platt, celebrated author, journalist and consultant spoke on "French and Americans - Working Together or Apart?" Maia Weschler presented her documentary "Sisters in Resistance" and brought with her Jacqueline Pery d'Alincourt, who had actually participated in the French Resistance Movement.
A few years ago, the Center commenced interviewing Franco-Americans of the Southeastern New England region to preserve their personal history and provide future generations with a sense of the role these individuals played in the region.
Current members of the Board of Directors are Professor Suzanne Pelletier, Professor Norman Valiquette, Janel Lafond-Paquin, and Cynthia Yoken. The honorary members are Julia Child, Ambassador Pierre de Boisdeffre, Marie-Claire Blais, Senator Paul Simon, Professor William Carter, and Marcel Marceau.
Director, Boivin Center