LOWELL, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees today voted to award Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis an honorary doctor of humane letters degree at UMass Lowell’s undergraduate commencement.
The vote came at the request of UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan during a special board of trustees meeting to consider honorary degree recipients. Commissioner Davis will accept the honorary doctorate and deliver the keynote address at UMass Lowell’s commencement on Saturday, May 18, at the Tsongas Center at UMass Lowell.
“The measure of a man’s leadership in a time of crisis is his judgment and his performance, and Commissioner Davis displayed the greatest of both during the Boston Marathon bombings and during his leadership of police departments in Boston and Lowell,’’ said UMass President Robert L. Caret. “I am delighted that we can properly honor him with an honorary degree for his decades of exemplary leadership that has benefitted the entire Commonwealth and, now, the nation. Commissioner Davis has always put public safety and the public interest first.”
In nominating Davis, Meehan said Davis’ leadership in the aftermath of the bombings personified the spirit of the nation’s rallying cry, “Boston Strong.’’
“Commissioner Davis has been a symbol of strength not just for the city of Boston but for the entire Commonwealth and the nation during this most difficult time. His leadership and compassion, along with an approach to law enforcement that includes cutting-edge technology and community policing, have put him at the top of his field, not only in recent days but for the 30 years I have known him,” said Meehan. “He is an excellent role model for our students because he demonstrates how good leaders need not only top-notch skills in their professions, but must also have strong character and the ability to employ both in times of crisis.”
Davis has led the Boston Police Department since 2006. With more than 2,000 officers and 800 civilian employees, it is the 20th-largest law enforcement agency in the U.S. and the third-largest in New England. As commissioner, Davis has stressed community and predictive policing while implementing new initiatives, resulting in an annual decrease in serious crime in Boston.
Previously, Davis served as superintendent of police in Lowell for 12 years, during which time Lowell saw a 60-percent reduction in crime and received honors including the National Civic League’s All-America City Award. Davis began his career in the Lowell Police Department in 1978 as a patrol officer, rising through the ranks to posts including detective and captain before becoming superintendent. A founding member of the Massachusetts Major City Chiefs Association, Davis received the National Leadership Award from the Police Executive Research Forum and is in the Evidence-Based Policing Hall of Fame.
In addition, Davis has brought his expertise to UMass Lowell’s Department of Criminal Justice (which will become the School of Criminology and Justice Studies on June 1), helping students integrate what they have learned in the classroom with his real-world experience, and collaborating with faculty on a number of initiatives. He has served on panels and as a guest lecturer, and recently participated in the annual Day Without Violence.
Davis holds degrees in criminal justice from Southern New Hampshire University and Anna Maria College, and furthered his education through programs including a National Institute of Justice fellowship at Harvard University and Law Enforcement Executive Development Association program at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va.
He is the married father of three.
Contact: Ann Scales, 617-287-4084; Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073