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Haverhill Student Introduces Rep. Dempsey at Annual AICUM Dinner, Speaks of Importance of Need-Based College Grants

From left: AICUM president Richard Doherty, State Rep. Brian Dempsey, Merrimack College student and Haverhill resident Stephanie Bellapianta.

From left: AICUM president Richard Doherty, State Rep. Brian Dempsey, Merrimack College student and Haverhill resident Stephanie Bellapianta.

Haverhill resident Stephanie Bellapianta, a freshman at Merrimack College, presented an award to State Representative Brian Dempsey in front of 350 leaders from the state’s higher education sector, at an annual dinner for the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM).

The December 14 event held at the Seaport Hotel in Boston honored State Representative Brian Dempsey, Chair of the state’s House Committee on Ways and Means, with the AICUM Committed to Access Award, and honored Congresswoman Katherine Clark with the AICUM Committed to Action Award. AICUM represents 58 of the state’s private, non-profit colleges.

Bellapianta is a recipient of the MassGrant, which provides need-based scholarship aid for Massachusetts students attending college in state, and for which Rep. Dempsey is a tireless advocate.

According to a copy of her prepared remarks, Ballepianta stated that thanks to officials such as Rep. Dempsey, “I – and 12 others from Haverhill, and hundreds more from other cities and towns in Massachusetts – are able to attend Merrimack.”

The event was heavily attended by college leaders and other higher education advocates, and by representatives from industries with which AICUM member colleges frequently partner.

“This event was a reminder of the tremendous community we have supporting independent higher education here in Massachusetts,” said AICUM president Richard Doherty. “AICUM’s member colleges not only bring countless educational opportunities to young people across the state, but they are an economic engine driving innovation throughout the Commonwealth. The breadth and strength of our state’s higher education community was highly visible at this annual event.”

The Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Massachusetts (AICUM) was founded by independent college presidents and today comprises 58 degree-granting, accredited independent colleges and universities in the Commonwealth. It is the leading voice on public policy matters affecting independent colleges and universities in Massachusetts. AICUM plays a critical role in advocating for state and federal funding for need-based student financial aid, research and other actions which address state and Federal legislative and regulatory issues.

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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