As I mentioned, Lowell was twice blessed this week with words of wisdom from the Koumantzelis family...

08/01/2007
By Used with permission from the Lowell Sun Online. Kendall Wallace is publisher at The Sun. He has more than 40 years of newspaper experience, starting as a reporter at The Sun in 1959.

Before Arthur spoke at the Boys Club function on Monday night, his nephew, Ted Leonsis of America Online fame, gave the nearly 1,400 graduates at UMass Lowell a wonderful formula for a successful life. His remarks also included his views in giving something back. One of his goals is to give away $100 million in his lifetime.

While talking about the graduation, let me take a page from my colleague Paul Sullivan and brag a little bit about my son, who got his degree at the graduation nearly 20 years after graduating from Lowell High School. I applauded Gary for his tenacity in accomplishing the goal while holding down a difficult job. His mother had a different term for the long delay -- procrastination. Whatever it was, he did it, and studying finally became fun and a major challenge. He's already signed up for a master's program.

Sunday was a beautiful, warm summer day in Lowell when Gary proudly marched into Tsongas Arena with 1,400 other UMass Lowell students to get his long-awaited degree.

Walking to the Arena gave me new appreciation for the assets we have here today, including the highly regarded university and the beautiful arena facility. I loved eavesdropping as 7,000 people walked into the building commenting on how beautiful the grounds are as you approach the arena and how attractive the facility is inside. Somehow people still seem shocked that Lowell has learned how to do things right.

The university did a first-class job on the graduation. Leonsis had a wonderful message. The university honored two alumni for outstanding achievements and Class Valedictorian Lawrence E. Rolwes gave a great address and was a shining example to his classmates. Rolwes, who got a 4.0 grade average, is married and the father of two children. Pretty impressive.

Listening to the caliber of the students leaves one with a lot of hope that this city may still be turning out people like Arthur Koumantzelis and Ted Leonsis, who never forgot where they came from.