Date: May 27, 2014
Department: Civic Engagement
UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman will be joined by Fall River Mayor William Flanagan, Fall River Chief of Police Daniel Racine, and former Fall River Mayor and UMass Boston Assistant Chancellor Edward Lambert for the dedication ceremony.
In January, UMass Dartmouth announced a $1.14 million philanthropic gift from an anonymous donor to honor Reverend Lawrence. The gift will be invested in civic engagement-related programs. In addition to having a space named in his honor, the Reverend is also being honored through the endowment through a lecture series, a civic engagement summit, and service-learning fellows.
Reverend Lawrence is completing a 60-year ministry, having served churches in Little Compton, Rhode Island; Fall River, Massachusetts; and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. During his ministerial career he has conducted thousands of baptisms, marriages, and funerals, making him an integral part of the community's life. Beyond his church, Rev. Lawrence is responsible for beginning the Pastoral Care Department at the Charlton Memorial site of Southcoast Hospitals. Reverend Lawrence also served as chaplain aboard the famous grand ocean liner Queen Elizabeth II, better known as the QE2, in addition to the Queen Mary II cruise ship. He served as chaplain for the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver.
Rev. Lawrence championed efforts to remove more than 3,000 guns from the streets of Fall River, create the first Fall River police K-9 unit, and purchase public safety equipment such as defibrillators. He is a trustee on three charitable foundations and serves on the boards of 18 community organizations. He has received numerous community awards, including the Distinguished Citizen of the Year Award from Bristol Community College in 1995 and a UMass Dartmouth Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2007.