uAspire First One Award Winners Announced

By: Chris Loney | Thursday, October 24, 2013

Every year, uAspire recognizes several people who have made a positive impact in our community. We do this by naming them a uAspire First One Award Winner. And while their accomplishments are diverse and their stories are unique, our winners share one thing in common – all are first-generation college graduates.

The uAspire First One Awards symbolize the importance of a college degree – and why it must be affordable to young people today. These awards also highlight uAspire’s work to ensure that students have an affordable path to their college degree.

uAspire is pleased to announce the latest class of uAspire First One Award winners for Massachusetts:

  • Jack Connors, Connors Family Office
  • Nick Fyntrilakis, MassMutual Financial Group
  • Dr. Paula Johnson, Brigham & Women’s Hospital
  • Waleska Lugo-DeJesus, Westfield State University
  • Mayor Thomas Menino, City of Boston

Every year, we celebrate our winners with an awards ceremony. Our event will take place on Thursday, February 27, 2014, at the historic Omni Parker House Hotel in Boston. If you would like to sponsor the uAspire First One Awards and be part of this memorable evening, contact Elizabeth Ahearn at

uAspire 2013 First One Winners, with uAspire CEO Bob Giannino-Racine. L-R: Bob Karam, Victor Lee, Bob Giannino-Racine, Magnolia Contreras, Erica Brown. Photo Credit: Christopher Huang.

We would also like to thank our uAspire First One Event Committee for helping us make this event possible:

  • Samir Ali, Sankaty Advisors
  • Sydney Atkins, Goldman Sachs
  • * Wayne Budd, Goodwin Procter
  • Bithiah Carter, New England Blacks in Philanthropy
  • Carolyn Casey, Project 351
  • Doug Ederle, Strategic Capital Solutions, LLC
  • Marcy Gefter
  • Joanne Jaxtimer, BNY Mellon
  • Dolores Johnson
  • Blake Jordan, Highland Street Foundation
  • Laura Kurzrok, Eastern Bank
  • Melissa MacDonnell, Liberty Mutual
  • Sharon McNally, Connors Family Office
  • Beth Milkovits, Eaton Vance Investment Counsel
  • * Regina Pisa, Goodwin Procter
  • Charles E. Shirley, PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP
  • Laurie Thomsen, The Travelers Companies & MFS Mutual Funds
  • Chip Tuttle, Conover Tuttle Pace
  • David Walker, Trillium Asset Management, LLC
  • Martha Walz, Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts

* previous uAspire First One Award Winner

To learn more about the uAspire First One Awards, visit our website at

More photos of last year’s uAspire First One Awards are below. Photo Credit: Christopher Huang