by Christine Lee, Channel 22News State House Correspondent
The UMass Amherst Alumni Association honored Congressman Richard Neal on Beacon Hill in Boston Wednesday. Congressman Neal, who teaches in the Journalism program, was honored as a distinguished Alum, despite the fact that he never actually attended UMass. He's being honored because of his advocacy and commitment to the school.
Congressman Neal accepted the "Distinguished Honorary Alumni Award" at the UMass Amherst Alumni Association's annual awards ceremony at the State House. Neal has lectured for more then ten years in the school's journalism department. During his acceptance speech, he said UMass Amherst was the second largest employer in Western Massachusetts after Baystate Medical Center.
“It's gratifying,” said Neal. “UMass is a very important part of not only higher learning in Western Massachusetts, but just as importantly it's a key aspect of economics.”