DA Anthony Gulluni to Keynote WNEU Graduate and Professional Degree Commencement
SPRINGFIELD — In celebration of the class of 2021, Western New England University (WNEU) will confer doctoral, law, pharmacy, occupational therapy, and master’s degrees during its 2021 graduate commencement ceremony on Sunday, May 16 at 1 p.m. The themed event, titled “The Future Is Ours, Let’s Make It Golden” will be a high-spirited, virtual ceremony connecting graduates and their families as they watch from home.
District Attorney Anthony Gulluni will be this year’s keynote speaker and will be awarded the prestigious President’s Medallion for his commitment and dedication to building safer communities. The award, established in 2002, is bestowed upon those who have distinguished themselves in a particular field or in service to an important cause that has benefitted society locally, regionally, nationally, or internationally. The President’s Medallion also recognizes men and women in diverse fields who are role models worthy of emulation by all.
Gulluni was sworn into office as Hampden District Attorney in January 2015 and is currently in the middle of serving his second four-year term. He is a lifelong Springfield resident who attended local schools, including WNEU, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in 2003 and juris doctorate in 2007.
As DA, Gulluni has promoted his vision of safer communities by innovative and significant investment in community building and outreach, crime prevention and education, and smart prosecution of violent offenders. The Hampden District Attorney’s Office has engaged with many community-based organizations, including Roca, the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley, and the YWCA to broaden its reach and provide equitable services to all communities in need. His office has also initiated many of its own programs to engage youth, prevent crime, help people overcome addiction, and promote social and racial equity in criminal justice.
Last year, the Hampden District Attorney’s Office created a young adult court named EACH, the Emerging Adult Court of Hope. This groundbreaking model engages young adults from ages 18 to 24 who are ensnared in a cycle of negativity and incarceration. EACH, in partnership with various community organizations and state agencies, was designed by Gulluni to disrupt this cycle, to which he saw many young people fall prey. Instead of incarceration, the court provides intensive support and programming focused on the participants’ physical and mental health, behavior patterns, housing, and ultimately the development of a pathway for careers through education and job training. The court is the first of its kind in Massachusetts and is already receiving national attention.
Gulluni was also appointed by Gov. Charlie Baker to serve on the board that oversees the Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance and administers millions of dollars of funds to victim and survivor organizations. In addition, Baker appointed him to his statewide Task Force on Hate Crimes. Gullini is also the immediate past president of the Massachusetts District Attorney Assoc.
For more information on Western New England University’s 2021 commencement ceremonies and to view live-streaming videos, visit wne.edu/commencement.