To our new students, welcome to Suffolk, and to all the returning members of our community—students, faculty, and staff—welcome back! Classes are off to a great start across all three of our schools; our residential students are largely settled into their new homes away from home; and last week’s Student Involvement Fair was a huge success. And today is Founder’s Day.
As we move fully into the fall semester, it seems fitting to remind ourselves and to share with the newest members of our community the story of our founding. Why? Because our beginnings have, in so many ways, made us who we are today.
Suffolk was founded in 1906 by a young man named Gleason Archer, who had worked his way through college with aspirations of going to law school. Archer had a chance encounter on a train with a local businessman and philanthropist named George Frost, who took an interest in helping Archer achieve his law school dream and offered to pay his tuition. When Archer later tried to pay him back, Frost refused to take the money, asking only that Archer “pass the favor along to others” if he ever had the chance. And Gleason Archer did just that. In 1906, he founded the Suffolk School of Law in his Roxbury apartment and began teaching law to recent immigrants and working-class people who otherwise would not have had those educational opportunities.
Today, Suffolk is a much, much larger institution. We offer outstanding, transformational learning opportunities to students from so many backgrounds and income levels and in so many fields—from law to finance, biology to marketing, journalism to theatre, philosophy to entrepreneurship, and so many others. Learning takes place in state-of-the-art facilities that enhance the experience for students at every level. Learning also takes place on our athletic fields, in our support offices, in residence halls, and in and around the cities of Boston and Madrid, among many other places.
But with all that change, one element remains the same: We are committed to educational opportunity for all. We are committed to an inclusive environment, where people from all walks of life and backgrounds are a part of our community and are supported. And we are committed to all our students and to their success. Today is Founder’s Day, and our chance to remember that the more we grow and evolve, the more we also stay the same.
Marisa J. Kelly