BOSTON – For almost 150 years, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has emphasized public service as critical to the social and economic development of the Commonwealth, nation and the world. On Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m., UMass Amherst will host the first-ever A Salute to Service Awards at the Boston Harbor Hotel.
The event will recognize three outstanding individuals for their contributions to civic engagement and public service through volunteer leadership and professional achievement: Robert Kraft, Liz Walker and Dr. Robert Littleton. Steve Buckley, Boston Herald sports columnist and host of Press Box, will emcee the event. Proceeds from the event will provide scholarship funds for two current UMass Amherst students.
“UMass Amherst has a long and distinguished history of public service, dating back nearly 150 years to our founding as the state's public land-grant university,” said Kumble Subbaswamy, UMass Amherst chancellor. “Educating students and conducting research to benefit the Commonwealth and its people, as well impacting the nation and the world in our increasingly global society, permeates what we do everyday at UMass Amherst.”
Kraft, chairman and CEO of The Kraft Group and of the New England Patriots, will be the recipient of A Salute to Service Legacy Award for his long-standing philanthropic support of charities throughout New England. From the stage, Kraft will also engage in a topical conversation with Buckley, who is a UMass Amherst alumnus.
Kraft began his business career with the Rand-Whitney Group, Inc. of Worcester, a company that converted paper into packaging for various industries. He later acquired the company. In 1972, he founded International Forest Products, a trader of paper commodities that now does business in more than 90 countries. Kraft is widely recognized as one of the most successful owners in professional sports. As chairman and CEO of the New England Patriots (National Football League) and investor/operator of the New England Revolution (Major League Soccer), Kraft has helped change the culture of professional sports in New England by delivering 10 conference titles and three league championships in the past 16 years. Over the past four decades, the Kraft family has been one of New England's most philanthropic families, donating more than $100 million in support of local charities and civic affairs.
The event will also focus on the civic contributions of Walker and Littleton, who will be presented Salute to Service Awards.
Liz Walker, founder of Walker Group, LLC., and Co-Founder of My Sister’s Keeper, will be saluted for her excellence in public service. Walker is an award-wining television journalist, a documentary film producer, and a dedicated humanitarian. Liz Walker co-founded My Sister’s Keeper, a grass-roots initiative in Sudan that advocates for women and children who are trying to rebuild their lives and country. A 2005 graduate of Harvard Divinity School and an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Walker has chosen to combine her communication skills with her passion for serving the world.
Dr. Robert Littleton, Jr., Founder of the Evergreen Center, will be honored for his continued service to improving the quality of life for the people of the Commonwealth. Founded in 1982, the Evergreen Center is a non-profit residential school, serving children and adolescents with autism and severe developmental disabilities. Littleton has dedicated more than 30 years to creating an integrated learning and living environment where students can achieve their maximum potential. In addition to the Evergreen Center, Littleton also founded the Criterion Children Enrichment, a private, non-profit agency dedicated to the provision of high-quality early childhood education and support to families with young children. The organization offers community-based development enrichment groups, childcare, early intervention and newborn home visit programs. Criterion Children Enrichment has grown to over 12 locations statewide and serves approximately 5,000 families each year.
For more information on this event, please visit www.umassalumni.com/salutetoservice.