Monthly Archives: June 2015

Lowell’s Franco-Americans Celebrate St. Jean Baptiste Day

City of Lowell

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

By his honor Rodney M. Elliott, Mayor

A Proclamation

A group of Lowell Franco-American seniors share a laugh as they enjoy the festivities (click any photo for larger version, then click on X to return to this page).

Mrs. Denyse Couillard, Mrs. Monique Blanchette, and Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Grenier share a laugh as they enjoy the festivities (click any photo for larger version, then click on X to return to this page).

WHEREAS  In the 1870’s thousands of French-Canadians left the farms and towns of Quebec, immigrating to Lowell to find work in the mills and a better life for their families, making this city their new home and enriching its fabric with their culture, traditions and work ethic;

and WHEREAS today, throughout Quebec and other Francophone portions of Canada, Saint Jean Baptiste Day is recognized, honoring St. John the Baptist, the Jewish preacher who baptized Jesus of Nazareth in the Jordan River; and


The Franco-American Veterans bear the various flags of Lowell’s French-American community. Bob Page, Commander of the Lowell Veteran’s Council, is second from right.

WHEREAS our Franco-American Monument honors the “memory of all Franco-Americans of the past who helped to build Lowell, to those of the present who are continuing a well and cherished heritage, and to all Franco-Americans of the future who will help to keep Lowell the great city that it is.”

2015 Franco-American of the year Lorraine Primeau addresses the crowd as Lowell Mayor Rodney Elliott, Former City Councilor Lemay, and City Councilor Rita Mercier look on.

2015 Franco-American of the year Lorraine Primeau addresses the crowd as Lowell Mayor Rodney Elliott, Former City Councilor Lemay, and City Councilor Rita Mercier look on.

NOW, THEREFORE, I   Rodney M. Elliott, Mayor of Lowell, Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim today, Wednesday, June 24, 2015 as:  St. Jean Baptiste Day” and the week of June 21 – June 27 as “Franco-American Week” in the City of Lowell, and encourage all citizens to join in the celebration.

Given this 24th day of June, 2015

Rodney M. Elliott, Mayor, City of Lowell

Lowell City Councilors asked to support resolution supporting statewide divestment of fossil fuels.

WHEREAS: Climate change poses a grave threat to the City of Lowell, its residents, and …



According to Jay Mason, Councilor Mercier filed a motion to support the resolution in December. Councilor Samaras offered a substitute motion requesting a report from the city manager. This was approved at the council that evening and a report was subsequently provided by Manager Murphy’s office in January. The group 350Massachusetts of Greater Lowell has been working since then to build support for the resolution (language per above link) and a re-submittal is planned before the council sometime in August. Lowell would join at least 12 other communities around the state who have called for similar resolutions against fossil fuel investment by the state pension reserve investment trust.

Post Contributors: Derek Pelotte and Jay Mason, 350Mass of Greater Lowell.
For more info email:

Last Update: 6/16/2015 at 8:20pm.

Also … 350Mass of Greater Lowell invites all to the

Lowell Divest Fest

at Lucy Larcom Park

Saturday, June 27 from 11:30am-2pm

by George DeLuca
Lowell2020 (like us on Facebook!)

“Cameroonians of Lowell Association” introduce CAYOL Youth Program


Camola members stop for a group photo with City officials Mayor Rodney Elliott, City Councilor Rita Mercier, and a member of LPD (click any photo for larger version, then click on X to return to this page).

June 13, 2015 – The mood outside Lowell City Hall was electric on Saturday morning as the Cameroonians of Lowell Association (CAMOLA) joined City officials in an annual ritual that celebrates their African heritage, the City Hall flag raising. The highlight of the event was the introduction of a new organization called the Cameroonian American Youths of Lowell (CAYOL). Attendee and Cameroon immigrant Chris Tifah summed it up by saying, “Roots are important … the youth are important.”


CAMOLA Social Secretary Khien Nkimbeng introduces Lowell City Councilor Rita Mercier

Of course, City Councilor Rita Mercier loves all Lowellians and receives love at each event she attends. And she attends many events! The crowd came alive as she delivered another resounding speech of welcome, love, and support spiced by her usual sprinkling of self deprecating humor. Mayor Rodney Elliott too proved knowledgeable about highlights in Cameroon history, and read a city proclamation to honor the Cameroon culture, their positive impact on the city, and their youth.

Cameroonian Youth of Lowell raise the flag.

Cameroonian Youth of Lowell raise the flag.

I asked Mr. Tifah how things were going in the Cameroon homeland in Western Africa. He said that he was dismayed about the challenges impeding economic development in the country, with particular concerns about corruption and youth unemployment. Mr. Tifah noted that 80% of the people of Cameroon have a college education, but there are no jobs. Lacking a flourishing private sector economy, Cameroonian youth in West Africa have become prime targets for extremist groups. In Lowell, CAMOLA recognizes the importance of education and has initiated a youth group and a scholarship program for high school students.

CAMOLA unveils the CAYOL youth program (click on photo for larger version)

CAMOLA unveils the CAYOL youth program.

Lowell Cameroonians have armed themselves with the knowledge that their children stand a better chance at succeeding in the workforce in the United States system of democracy. Mayor Elliott and City Councilor Mercier made it clear that their efforts are sincerely supported in Lowell. As the young people took part in the raising of the Cameroon flag, all sang resounding versions of the Cameroon National Anthem followed by the Star Spangled Banner. 1920_Cameroon_National_Anthem

Cameroon National Anthem
O Cameroon, Thou Cradle of our Fathers,
Holy Shrine where in our midst they now repose,
Their tears and blood and sweat thy soil did water,
On thy hills and valleys once their tillage rose.
Dear Fatherland, thy worth no tongue can tell!
How can we ever pay thy due?
Thy welfare we will win in toil and love and peace,
Will be to thy name ever true!

Land of Promise, land of Glory!
Thou, of life and joy, our only store!
Thine be honor, thine devotion,
And deep endearment, for evermore.

NOTE: The 2015 Lowell African Festival takes place on Saturday, June 27, 2015 at the Sampas Pavilion. The event is free and all are invited to attend.

by George DeLuca (writing and photos)
Lowell2020 (like us on Facebook!)

UML M2D2 Expansion and Innovation Hub Unveiled

June 9, 2015 – The Fourth Annual Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Education was held at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center (ICC) from June 9 through June 11. UMass Lowell officials kicked off the symposium by unveiling the new Innovation Hub (iHub) and M2D2 expansion space at 110 Canal Street. The expansion is sure to become another jewel in the growing UMass Lowell legacy.

The P. T. Jackson canal boat arrives

The P. T. Jackson canal boat arrives at the Innovation Hub from the UML  ICC.

A canal boat transported passengers to the new facility from the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center (ICC) via the Pawtucket Canal. A Lowell National Historical Park representative was heard touting the significance of the canal, a waterway once used to power textile mills. A first time Lowell visitor said, “Too bad the ride along Lowell’s industrial canyon was so short. Is it possible to go further?” The answer is yes. Canal boat tours to the Merrimack River and back occur throughout the summer. Over two hundred guests were networking inside the new facility on the third floor. The symposium was attended by educators, administrators, and venture capitalists from various parts of the country. Representatives from Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, Babson, Arizona State, Rice, and even the University of New Brunswick mingled with venture capital executives and a contingent of Lowell’s higher education elite. Food servers floated through the area with trays of steak tips and coconut chicken. Former Congressman Marty Meehan knows how to throw a party. Sadly, this was one of his last as Chancellor of UMass Lowell.


UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan chats with Subra Suresh, President of Carnegie Mellon

As UML Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney began the night’s proceedings, she acknowledged the work of Desh Despande, who’s been instrumental in forging bonds between UML and India. Entrepreneurship and higher education are the keys to the success of social and economic globalization.

The star of the show was Chancellor Meehan. As he bounded up to the podium in typical upbeat fashion, all eyes immediately turned to the stage area. There was a hush as Chancellor Meehan touted UML’s brand bright and shiny new Innovation Hub. He waxed about being hired by Jack Wilson as a non-traditional candidate (a U. S. Congressman), and quipped that he always admired Mr. Wilson’s judgment. He mentioned his new position as President of the UMass system, and joked that as he recently looked out over the UMass Boston campus towards the water, he was told “Marty, that’s the Atlantic Ocean, not the Merrimack River.” Chancellor Meehan acknowledged his growing friendship with Desh Despande with a warm jest: “Desh is never shy about giving advice. Thank you for the mentoring you’ve given me.”


MA Representative Rady Mom with Middlesex Community College President James Mabry

With State Senator Eileen Donaghue, State Representative Rady Mom and Middlesex Community College President James Mabry present, Chancellor Meehan said, “There’s not a better example of public/private partnership than for us to locate our M2D2 program here in this facility. We believe the building will soon be filled with small businesses. As incubating operations mature, many will stay in Lowell … some will move elsewhere.” He said, “Lowell is an outstanding environment to learn. I look forward to bringing this program to fruition.”


UMass Lowell’s new M2D2 expansion is on the 3rd floor … iHub is on the 4th!

Mr. Meehan then formed an analogy between the new UML Innovation Hub and those who founded Lowell in the early nineteenth century as an enterprise zone based on the vision of the City’s namesake Francis Cabot Lowell. Those early pioneers of technological innovation were Nathan Appleton, Patrick Tracy Jackson, Paul Moody, and Kirk Boott. They designed and built the mills, fueling the industrial revolution with their investments and combined expertise. Today’s innovators work in technological fields involving medical devices, bio and nano-technology, plastics engineering, and robotics … fields highlighted right here at Umass Lowell.

As the kick-off wound down, new tenants of the iHub were unpacking and acclimating themselves to their new spaces in the facility. Upstairs on the fourth floor, KnipBio R&D Director Catherine Pujol-Baxley was doing just that in her new shared wet lab space. New to the program, the fledgling company spent three months at Wannalancit Mills before moving over to the new iHub at 110 Canal St. KnipBio was the first to set up and begin work here. Pujol-Baxley said, “This is the best work development space I’ve been in. I’m very happy.” When asked about her company’s plans when their aquaculture program is rollout ready and fully funded, she said, “We’ll have five or six workers here by the end of the year. Hopefully, we’ll be ready to move forward with expansion plans by next summer. And when we do, we plan to stay in Lowell.”

updated: June 17, 11:11am

by George DeLuca
Lowell2020 (like us on Facebook!)