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Moakley Center

Story Series
Behind the Name

Modern classrooms across Bridgewater State’s campus give faculty and students the ability to project what is shown on a computer onto a large screen at the front of the room. This is so common that it’s largely taken for granted.

But, in the 1990s, it was one of many state-of-the-art features that a lawmaker from Massachusetts was instrumental in bringing to BSU.

Named For

U.S. Congressman John Joseph Moakley

The Backstory

Congressman Moakley and other dignitaries hold shovels and hard hats at a groundbreaking.
Congressman Moakley, center, participates in the center's groundbreaking in 1992.

Moakley, who represented the 9th Congressional District from 1973 until his death in 2001, secured a $10 million federal grant that funded construction of the center now named for him. 

The money, which at the time was the largest federal grant ever awarded to a state college, supported a center designed to develop, apply and disseminate technological applications for education.  

Moakley, in a speech on campus announcing the center, credited current BSU President Frederick W. Clark Jr., ’83, (who was then a staffer for Moakley) with persuading him to become involved with the project. 

“He persistently tried to get me to visit Bridgewater to see firsthand all the valuable and innovative projects that were being pursued,” Moakley said. 

Moakley recognized the center’s – and Bridgewater’s – role in developing a qualified workforce and stimulating the local economy. 

Bridgewater dedicated the building to him at a groundbreaking ceremony in 1992. The center opened in the fall of 1995. 

Moakley’s name also graces a park in South Boston, the federal courthouse in the Seaport district of Boston and public service and internship awards given out by BSU’s Department of Political Science

Use Today

Located on the east side of campus on Burrill Avenue, Moakley Center includes a 209-seat lecture hall, classrooms, computer laboratories and offices. While technology has evolved, learning innovative ways to bring it into the classroom remains an important component of a BSU education degree. 

Material in this article comes from the 1996 Bridgewater State yearbook, Moakley’s speech at Bridgewater, and “News from the J. Joseph Moakley Center for Technological Applications” published in the October 1992 edition of Bridgewater Review