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Dr. Frank Cullen, ’72, is an internationally respected researcher, author and educator who knows that among the keys to success in his chosen field of criminal justice is the opportunity to do research and a good mentor. This knowledge helped feed his desire to establish the first-ever scholarship to benefit criminal justice students at his alma mater.
In addition to offering the financial resources necessary to do high-level research, the Dr. Francis T. Cullen Criminal Justice Scholarship also provides awardees the opportunity to be mentored by the much admired scholar himself.
“Bridgewater formed the intellectual foundation of my thinking,” Dr. Cullen said at a ceremony held in the Heritage Room to celebrate his life and work, and to officially announce the new scholarship.
Speaking to the several students in attendance, Dr. Cullen added, “Bridgewater can be a stepping stone to your future.”
Dr. Cullen came to Bridgewater in 1968, as the Vietnam War was raging, humbly admitting that he “was hoping to earn a 2.0 and not get drafted.”
Afterward, he attended Columbia University where he received his Ph.D. in sociology and education in 1979. He said he dreamed of returning to Bridgewater to teach and coach tennis. However, his life’s work was in research, and teaching at the University of Cincinnati. The author of many books, Dr. Cullen is an often cited expert in his field, as well as past editor of Justice Quarterly and Journal of Crime and Justice, and was president of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences. He is a fellow of both the ACJS and the American Society of Criminology.
Growing up in Dorchester, he saw poverty all around him.
“I could understand what lack of opportunity meant,” he said.
And now, he said, it was time for him to give back, which he did by endowing the scholarship and recruiting others in his field to also donate.
The ceremony included presentations from two alumnus and a current students, a few presentations detailing Dr. Cullen’s time at Bridgewater (specifically why his nickname was “Gump” – hint: hockey fans of the 70s will likely guess immediately), and a presentation by BSU President Dana Mohler-Faria.
Mr. Cullen also added another $5,000 check to the scholarship fund, handing the check to Dr. Mohler-Faria.
In his remarks, Dr. Cullen remembered several faculty members at Bridgewater.
“They left indelible impressions upon me, lasting to this day,” he said. “Faculty members matter.”
Thanks to the Dr. Francis T. Cullen Criminal Justice Scholarship some talented and dedicated BSU students will get to work with a giant in the world of research and mentoring. (Story and photos by John Winters, G ’11, University Advancement)