UMass Dartmouth today renamed the Center for Civic Engagement after Fall River natives Robert and Jeanne Leduc as part of its focus on civic engagement and service learning this week with the fourth annual Civic Engagement Summit on Thursday.
Leduc, who graduated from Southeastern Massachusetts University with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1978, has risen through the ranks of United Technologies Corporation and is President of Hamilton Sundstrand, a market leader in the design, manufacture and service of military, commercial and business aircraft systems. In addition to sitting on the board of Hamilton Sundstrand Space Systems International, Bob is also a Trustee of the UMass Dartmouth Foundation.
Explaining the motives behind his gift to the University, Robert Leduc said, "It's a point of pride and an expression of our belief in investing in the people and places that have been a part of my life, and the lives of my wife and children."
Robert was joined by his wife, Jeanne, their families, Lt. Governor Tim Murray, Senator Michael Rodrigues, state Rep. Christopher Markey, UMass Board of Trustees Chairman James Karam, and hundreds of guests.
University Chancellor Jean F. MacCormack said, "What shines through about Bob and Jeanne is a deeply rooted belief in young people, and a belief that meaningful civic engagement is both an obligation of this young generation and an opportunity. Staying true to that commitment, from this day forward, begins right here at the Robert and Jeanne Leduc Center for Civic Engagement."
Jeanne Roy Leduc was also born and raised in Fall River, one of eleven children of the late Russell, and Mrs. Theresa Roy. From Jeanne's professional commitment as an ER nurse for 20 years, to her volunteer activities in soup kitchens and her role as a founding member of the Board of Directors and supporter of the African Teacher's Foundation of Westport, Mass., Jeanne's life of service was cited as inspiration by Bob and by Civic Engagement Center director Dr. Matthew H. Roy.
State Representative Chris Markey thanked the Leducs for their donation and service, but added a note of levity by saying, "As the Chancellor and as Bob and Jeanne Leduc know, 'civic engagement' is what we in New Bedford call 'doing the right thing.'"
UMass Dartmouth was recently named as one of the nation's top 12 colleges and universities -- and only honoree in Massachusetts -- on the President's Honor Roll for Community Service, which recognizes exceptional commitment to service learning.
Last year, UMass Dartmouth students and faculty gave 179,000 hours of service to the communities of southeastern Massachusetts -- a value of nearly $5 million given back to our region.